Embrace the arrival of autumn with open arms. As the equinox ushers in the season, bid farewell to the scorching summer and discomfort it brought. It is time to revel in the delightful outdoor activities and savor rooftop dining in the pleasant weather you have been eagerly waiting for. For those who relish spending time in the great outdoors, the autumn foliage is a stunning visual feast that allows you to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature.
Whether you call New York City home or are planning a visit in late October, get ready to be mesmerized by the native topiaries that adorn the landscape in a symphony of yellows, oranges, coppers, reds, purples, and chocolates. Exploring new and vibrant locations embellished with colorful foliage is a cherished pastime for all New Yorkers.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of city life and towering skyscrapers, you will discover a natural oasis adorned with lush, vibrant flora. While it is common to spot the stunning array of trees as you journey along the Adirondack foothills or meander through busy streets, the parks themselves put on a spectacular show of vibrant foliage by the last week of October. Do not miss out on this dazzling display of nature’s beauty.
When to see Color-changing Leaves in New York City?
We welcome the enchanting embrace of autumn as the last week of September ushers in this vibrant season in the city. As nature works its magic, chlorophyll levels gradually drop, setting the stage for a mesmerizing transformation. The Autumn phenomenon.
During this captivating time of year, the once-green leaves undergo a breathtaking metamorphosis. It dons fiery hues of yellow, orange, red, and copper. This eclectic seasonal spectrum paints the city with a rich tapestry of colors that is truly a sight to behold. As you stroll through the urban landscape, you will witness this dazzling transition.
By the second week of November, the leaves reach their peak of chromatic lushness before gracefully succumbing to the frosty embrace of winter. During this window, the city’s flora offers a treasure trove of multi-hued leaves. It creates an inviting and picturesque atmosphere that beckons you to explore its natural beauty.
It is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the kaleidoscope of colors that autumn brings to the city. A wonderful time when transformation and natural splendor will leave you awestruck.
22 Incredible Autumn Foliage Hotspots in New York City
Become captivated as the roadside trees and bushes adorn themselves in mesmerizing fall colors. It casts a spell of enchantment by the last week of October. Yet, amidst the urban jungle of concrete and steel, New York City hides some of the most exquisite natural woodlands. And parks that boast unique and awe-inspiring vistas of lush foliage.
Join me on an exhilarating journey through the charismatic autumn splendors that grace all five boroughs of this incredible metropolis. It is a colorful adventure waiting to unfold. I promise to leave you in awe of the vibrant beauty that nature bestows upon the city.
Best Autumn Foliage Treasures to See in Brooklyn
Owl’s Head Park
A journey through Owl’s Head Park is where you will be greeted by breathtaking vistas of the New York Harbor and the iconic Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in the heart of late autumn. This hidden gem is nestled upon a rich and fertile glacial moraine with rolling hills. It is a sanctuary adorned with a harmonious tapestry of beeches, oaks, pines, locusts, maples, corks, and tulip poplars.
As early November unfolds, the central loop of the park transforms into a mesmerizing spectacle as the towering trees ignite with the fiery brilliance of fall colors. This scene will leave you utterly enchanted and grateful for the beauty that nature bestows upon this remarkable landscape.
6701 Colonial Road—Bay Ridge|212-639-9675
Prospect Park stands as a haven for a diverse community of 150 tree species. It boast the presence of rare gems like the cutleaf beech, single-leaf ash, and weeping mulberry. This well-preserved natural forest is a treasure trove of botanical wonders. Not only does it feature an array of black cherry, Norway and Sycamore maple, sassafras, red oak, Camperdown elms and sweet gum, but many more.
However, the crown jewel of this verdant oasis is the 150-acre Ravine, a true rarity in the borough. As October and November grace us with their presence, the Ravine bursts into a stunning display of golden and| orange hues. It transforms into a breathtaking spectacle that promises to leave you in awe of nature’s artistry.
95 Prospect Park West—Prospect Park|718-965-8951
Fort Greene Park
Whether you are leisurely strolling along the leafy pathways or ascending the steps to the revered Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. The peak fall colors at this park are a constant source of delight. In early November Fort Greene park comes alive with the vibrant hues of London Planes, oaks, sugar maples, elms, honey locusts, and Osage orange trees, casting a spell of yellows, reds, and browns that is nothing short of enchanting.
This park is not just a place to enjoy the beauty of nature. It is also a perfect destination for quality time with family, friends, and even your four-legged companions. To make the most of your visit and easily explore the park’s natural wonders, be sure to follow their handy tree-trailing map. It is your guide to an unforgettable journey through the captivating autumn splendor that awaits you.
Dekalb Avenue + S Portland Avenue—Fort Green|212-639-9675
Top Autumn Foliage Hotspots in Manhattan
Named after the iconic and historic oldest standing bridge in the city. The Highbridge Park is a sprawling 130-acre park is a treasure trove of nature’s finest. Within its boundaries, you will discover a rich tapestry of northern red oaks, white ashes, hickory, black cherries, Norway maples, tulip trees, black birches, sassafras, hackberry trees, and a diverse array of other magnificent species.
For an unforgettable autumn adventure, embark on a hike along the park’s winding trail. As you journey through this natural wonderland, you will pass by the iconic bridge that spans the Harlem River Drive and the majestic water tower. You will become enveloped by the breathtaking beauty of the season’s vibrant foliage. It is an experience that will leave you with lasting memories of this remarkable park.
W 190th St + Amsterdam Avenue—Harlem|212-639-9675
Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Hill Park, the last bastion of natural salt marsh and pristine forestland in the borough, invites you to immerse yourself in its untouched beauty. Whether you are savoring the sweeping vistas of the Hudson River and the majestic New Jersey Palisades from the serene Overlook Meadow. Or meandering along the enchanting blue trail amidst towering oaks, hickory trees, and graceful Tulip poplars. There is more to discover here than just the mesmerizing autumnal color palette.
This park is a treasure trove of geological wonders. It boasts captivating rock formations, rolling hills, and mysterious caves that beckon exploration. It is a sanctuary where nature and history converge to create an experience that goes beyond the ordinary. Offering visitors a chance to connect with the raw, unspoiled essence of the land.
Payson Avenue + Seaman Avenue—Inwood| 212-639-9675
Central Park’s densely wooded enclave offers the ultimate leaf-spotting experience right in the heart of New York City. From late October to early November, this urban oasis becomes a haven for those seeking the marvels of autumn foliage. As the color palette of its 18,000 trees undergoes a breathtaking transformation. American elms, oaks, Norway maples, sycamore maples, red maples, black cherries, and an array of other tree varieties come alive in brilliant shades of golden yellow, dazzling red, copper, and vibrant orange by mid-October.
One of my personal favorites is the tranquil Conservatory Garden nestled in the park’s north end. This designated Quiet Zone is a sanctuary adorned with magnificent magnolias, vibrant chrysanthemums, enchanting orange crabapple allées, and varicolored Stewartias. For a truly magical experience, consider taking a boat ride or embarking on a Venetian Gondola adventure at the boathouse. As you glide along the glassy water surface, you will witness a polychrome mirror image of the surrounding vegetation, creating an enchanting and immersive experience that is sure to leave you captivated.
Central Park Conservancy [717 Fifth Avenue—Central Park]|212-310-6600
Fort Tryon Park
Discover the enchanting Fort Tryon Park, a sanctuary that houses both the Cloisters and the illustrious Heather Garden. The illustrious Heather Garden is the largest garden with unrestricted public access in all of New York City. This New York City Scenic Landmark spans 67 acres of horticultural magnificence. It showcase a stunning collection of approximately 500 species of shrubs, herbs, and perennials.
As late November graces us with its presence, the park comes alive with the graceful beauty of drooping elms, bedecked in heather and alpine gardens, casting a warm and inviting glow of yellows and oranges.
The Heather Garden, a true gem within the park, boasts an impressive collection of 48 heath species. By late October, their pointed leaves transform into a mesmerizing display of copper and chocolate hues. It creates a visual spectacle that is sure to leave you in awe.
Riverside, Drive To Broadway—Washington Heights|212-795-1388
Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise & Brunch
Embark on an unforgettable journey as you sail along the Hudson River toward the magnificent Palisades. All from the comfort of a luxurious yacht. Prepare to be dazzled by the breathtaking panoramic views that surround you.
Choose from the cozy warmth of indoor seating areas with expansive glass windows. Or relish the invigorating open-air spaces where you can bask in the cool breeze and the sun’s warm embrace. No matter where you choose to unwind, you will never miss a moment of the enchanting scenery that unfolds throughout the tour.
Indulge in the ultimate treat for your senses with a delectable brunch served alongside complimentary beverages, all while being serenaded by delightful jazz melodies. This 3.5-hour river voyage promises not only spectacular views but also a truly immersive and luxurious experience that will leave you with cherished memories to treasure.
Classic Harbor Line Chelsea Piers, Suite 103—Chelsea|212-627-1825
Must-See Autumn Foliage Attractions in Queens
Nestled in the southern expanse of Cunningham Park, at the intersection of Francis Lewis Boulevard and Union Turnpike, you will discover enchanting trails that guide you through a vibrant tapestry of autumn colors. As you wander along these pathways, majestic oak trees, hickories, and honey locusts take center stage, painting the landscape in bold and brilliant shades of red and yellow.
However, it is the deciduous tulip trees that truly steal the show. Standing tall and resplendent in their glowing gold attire. These magnificent specimens capture the attention of all leaf-peepers and serve as a captivating cynosure amidst the breathtaking autumnal foliage. Cunningham Park offers a picturesque canvas of nature’s beauty, inviting you to immerse yourself in the splendor of the season.
In the heart of Kissena Park in Flushing, a historic plantation of hundreds of trees has been thriving since 1839. Within this cherished landscape, the namesake grove boasts an impressive variety of tree species Species includes Japanese maple, Manchurian linden, weeping beech, oak, bald cypress, and willow.
Yet, the true stars of this park are the katsura trees, which steal the spotlight with their lush apricot and buttery yellow foliage during the autumn season. Adding to the visual spectacle, the bald cypresses adorned with needle-like leaves take center stage. It creates a stunning display of cinnamon, tan, and fiery orange hues that elevate the park’s beauty to new heights. Kissena Park invites you to immerse yourself in this captivating natural wonder, a testament to the enduring beauty of nature through the ages.
Kissena Blvd + Booth Memorial Avenue—Flushing|718-359-1297
At the heart of Queens, Forest Park proudly stands as the largest continuous oak forest in the borough. Within its lush boundaries, you will find a treasure trove of towering trees. And those include Northern red oak, scarlet oak, tulip poplar, shagbark hickory, white oak, and wild black cherry.
As autumn arrives, the scarlet oak leaves undergo a stunning transformation. It paints the forest in brilliant shades of orange and red, thanks to the high concentration of carotenoid and anthocyanin pigments. But that is not all. Venture into the Pine Grove and follow the Orange Trail, and you will discover century-old evergreen trees that come alive with a radiant display of yellowish tints in late October.
Forest Park beckons you to explore its vast natural wonders, offering a mesmerizing showcase of the changing seasons and the vibrant hues of autumn.
1 Forest Parkway—Woodhaven|718-235-4100
Alley Pond Park
Alley Pond Park sprawls across a massive 635-acre canvas. This diverse landscape offers hiking trails, forested areas, open meadows, tranquil ponds, and thriving marshes. However, it is in the heart of mid-October that the park truly comes alive with a stunning display of fall colors. During this time, the landscape transforms as white pines, black cherries, flowering dogwoods, black locusts, American beeches, sweetgums, and red maples paint the surroundings in a vibrant array of hues.
For an extraordinary autumnal adventure, be sure to explore the half-mile Tulip Tree Trail, a highlight of the park. Along this trail, you will encounter the Alley Pond Giant, a colossal tulip poplar that reaches a towering height of 133.8 feet. This magnificent tree stands as the oldest and tallest in the entire city, making it a truly remarkable sight.
Another enchanting autumn attraction awaits at the 15,000-year-old glacial spring-fed Oakland Lake. The pond’s serene surroundings are adorned with majestic pin oaks, black oaks, and red oaks. All gradually transition into russet, yellow, and scarlet red, offering a picturesque and promising sightseeing experience. Alley Pond Park beckons you to immerse yourself in the wonders of the season and discover its hidden natural gems.
Union Turnpike—Oakland Gardens|212-639-9675
Scenic Autumn Foliage Locations in the Bronx
New York Botanical Garden
Begin your leaf-peeping adventure in the Bronx at the iconic New York Botanical Garden. A sanctuary dedicated to the preservation of over a million plants. Within this botanical wonderland, do not miss the chance to explore the historic Hemlock Grove. Also known as the Thain Family Forest, spanning an impressive 50 acres of pristine, untouched wilderness along the Bronx River. Here, you will immerse yourself in a dazzling display of versatile aesthetics.
For the most enchanting experience, time your visit during peak autumn foliage, when the oak, red maple, and tulip trees burst forth. It creates a dazzling riot of yellow, orange, and red. From star-shaped sweetgum leaves in shades of red and purple to the vibrant orange and red foliage of scarlet red oaks. It is a chance for you to discover a treasure trove of captivating color palettes wherever you turn.
2900 Southern Blvd—Bronx|718-817-8700
Bronx River Greenway
Embrace the beauty of fall by embarking on an exploration of the Bronx River reserve. A landscape adorned with a rich tapestry of vibrant oaks, aromatic sassafras, striking red maples, graceful tulip poplars, majestic sycamores, elegant beeches, and stately London plane trees. As you traverse this natural haven, you will encounter a thriving ecosystem teeming with diverse species, including beavers, various fish, and a multitude of bird species that grace the ecological landscape.
For a truly unforgettable experience, mark your calendar for early November. It is a prime time for a tranquil canoe ride along the 25-mile Bronx River. This adventure is an endeavor made possible by the Bronx River Alliance. The scenic journey connects several parks throughout the borough, allowing you to immerse yourself in the serenity of nature and the picturesque beauty of the season. It is a chance to connect with the natural world and explore the Bronx’s hidden gems from a unique perspective.
1490 Sheridan Blvd—Bronx
Van Cortlandt Park
Van Cortlandt Park proudly stands as the third largest park in New York City. With its expansive natural forest reserves, spans an impressive 1,146 acres, stretching from Westchester County into the Northwest Bronx.
This vibrant park is home to a diverse array of tree species. Some of the tree species include red oaks, sweetgums, sugar maples, and hickory trees. In Autumn, they all come alive with a brilliant display of yellow and red tones by the time November arrives, although they fade away after a few weeks.
For an unforgettable experience, take a stroll along the scenic two-mile-long John Muir trail. The trail winds through enchanting landscapes like the Croton Woods, the Northeast Forest, the Northwest Forest, and the Putnam trail along the southern edge of Van Cortlandt Lake. Along this journey, you will be treated to the sight of zestful and polychromatic canopies that epitomize the essence of autumn. A mesmerizing journey through vibrant and picturesque landscapes.
Broadway and Van Cortlandt Park S—Bronx|718-430-1890
Pelham Bay Park
Pelham Bay Park, a sprawling expanse that covers 2,770 acres, proudly holds the title of the largest park in New York City. It stands as a revered and ecologically diverse habitat, celebrated for its rich biodiversity. One of the highlights of this remarkable park is the Kazimiroff Trail, which meanders through Hunter Island. The home to the largest continuous oak forest in the area. Here, you will be captivated by the prolific autumn vibrance. A pace that is brought to life by a stunning array of oak trees, sweet gums, Norway spruces, white pines, and hickory trees.
Within the park’s embrace, you will also find the Twin Islands. It is nestled within the embrace of salt marshes, creating a serene and picturesque setting. But perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring treasures hidden within Pelham Bay Park is the 400-year-old white oaks that grace the Split Rock Golf Course.
These ancient giants are a testament to nature’s enduring beauty and resilience. Marking them as the oldest surviving white oak trees in the United States. Pelham Bay Park is where you can immerse yourself in its vast and vibrant natural wonders.
Middletown Road + Stadium Avenue—Pelham Bay|718-430-1891
Ace Autumn Foliage Wonders of Staten Island
Greenbelt Nature Center
Explore the natural splendor of the Greenbelt. Journey through a captivating 35-mile trail that connects visitors to over 2,800 acres of natural and meticulously designed wooded landscapes and parks. This expansive hiking route encompasses the enchanting eight-mile Yellow Trail, which guides you past the majestic 260-foot Moses’ Mountain and leads to the summit of the Serpentine Ridge.
Ascend the hills to reach the breathtaking 200-foot-high Paulo’s Peak, where panoramic views unfold. Gaze upon the shimmering canopies of oak, hickory, beech, maple, sweetgum, and tulip trees. Immerse yourself in their immersive beauty. As you meander through the native trees, rare fern species, and tranquil glacial ponds, you will discover a world of natural wonder.
By the end of November, the red maple trees cast brilliant reflections on the glassy surface of the 16-acre lake. It creates a truly mesmerizing spectacle. The Greenbelt invites you to embark on a journey through its picturesque landscapes.
700 Rockland Avenue—Staten Island|718-351-3450
Wolfe’s Pond Park
Nestled on the tranquil South Shore of Staten Island, Wolfe’s Pond Park beckons with its stunning blend of natural beauty. Here, you will discover a picturesque beach along the shores of Raritan Bay, serene woodlands, and enchanting ponds. While the park is well-known for its recreational areas and sports complexes, it also harbors a secret treasure. The dazzling fall display of native plant species.
Wander through this natural haven. And you will encounter stretches of red maple, sugar maple, sweetgum, sassafras, black walnut, river birch, beech, and dogwood. By late October, these majestic trees burst into a breathtaking symphony of red, yellow, orange, and golden brown. It creates a vibrant and captivating spectacle that will leave you awestruck.
420 Cornelia Avenue—Staten Island|212-639-9675
Silver Lake Park
When it comes to witnessing the breathtaking autumn colors on Staten Island, this park stands out as one of the very best. Once home to a casino and saloon, the park’s lake has a rich history. It even served as the National Skating Amateur Championship venue in 1897. Over time, the shimmering Silver Lake evolved to become the endpoint of the city’s Catskill water supply system.
While the Reservoir Bridge offers magnificent views of the glistening lake waters, it is the surrounding flora of the park that truly steals the show during the fall season. As you leisurely stroll along the paved walkway, you will find yourself immersed in a canopied thicket of red maple, sugar maple, sweetgum, sassafras, tulip, river birch, tupelo, and beech trees. The only exception to this colorful display is the black walnut trees, which change color and gracefully shed their leaves in early autumn.
Silver Lake Park, Victory Blvd. + Silver Lake Park Rd—Staten Island|212-639-9675
Clove Lakes Park
Nestled within 193 acres of pristine natural forestland lies a captivating landscape adorned with rolling hills, serene ponds, and picturesque lakes. One of the park’s most renowned treasures is the 300-year-old living tulip tree. This tree proudly holds the title of the largest of its kind in the entire borough.
November emerges as the perfect time to pay a visit to this remarkable park. It offers an opportunity for leaf spotting like no other. During this enchanting season, the park comes alive with the vibrant colors of tulip trees, red oaks, sassafras, sweetgum trees, black birches, and black cherries, all swaying in an autumnal symphony of hues.
1150 Clove Road—Staten Island|718-390-8000
Blue Heron Park
At the southernmost tip of Staten Island, you will discover the enchanting 236-acre Blue Heron Park preserve. It is an integral part of the city’s Freshwater Wetlands. This sanctuary is best known for its role as a haven for migratory birds. Birds like the majestic Great Blue Herons and elegant Egrets encompass a diverse landscape of woodlands, meadows, tranquil streams, and serene ponds.
As autumn graces the park, its dense reserves of red maple, sweetgum, sassafras, black walnut, tulip, beech, and sumac [known for its bright red fern-like leaves]. Which come alive with a flamboyant display of colors. The landscape is transformed into a vibrant canvas adorned with shades of red, yellow, golden, orange, and purple.
It creates a breathtaking spectacle that is sure to leave you enchanted.
Poillon Avenue—Staten Island|718-967-3542
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, occupying an expansive 83-acre haven, combines a vibrant cultural art center with lush and captivating gardens. For those seeking to embrace the beauty of autumn, the institution graciously schedules an annual autumn foliage tour, typically commencing during the first week of November.
Your horticultural journey begins at the Visitor Info Booth, where you will embark on a captivating stroll through this enchanting landscape. Highlights include the Carl Grillo Glasshouse, the tranquil Pond Garden and the poignant 9/11 memorial Healing Garden [adorned with cherry, Norway maple, honey locust, willow, horse chestnut, sassafras, silver maple, and red oak trees].
In addition to the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden. Snug Harbor beckons you to immerse yourself in a blend of culture and nature. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the vibrant colors of autumn in this serene and captivating oasis.
1000 Richmond Terrace—Livingston, Staten Island|718-425-3504
Autumn in New York City is a breathtaking spectacle, with its parks and natural reserves transforming into vibrant canvases of reds, yellows, and oranges. From Central Park’s leafy pathways to the tranquil ponds of Blue Heron Park, the city’s green spaces offer an immersive experience in fall foliage. Whether you’re canoeing along the Bronx River or strolling through Snug Harbor’s gardens, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the season’s splendor in the city that never sleeps.