Get Outdoors this Fall! Fun Family Activities in and Around NYC

Fall is definitely my favorite season. Although I’m always a little sad to put my flip-flops away, there is something about the brisk air, beautiful leaves and trees, and new energy of the season that makes it seem ok that summer’s over. What I also love about fall is spending weekends with family—and the weather is perfect for running around outdoors and taking it all in before winter is here. If you’re looking for some great ways to spend your upcoming fall weekends, here are a few fun family activities from my own personal fall schedule.

Kids playing in an apple gardenApple picking. If you have lots of friends with kids like I do, I’m sure your Facebook newsfeed looks similar to mine—happy families posing together in apple orchards, as well as action shots of adorable toddlers dragging huge bags of apples behind them. I’m not usually the jump-on-the-bandwagon type, but my family is joining the craze next weekend, because apple picking is a pretty fun excuse to get out of the city. A few suggestions nearby: Harvest Moon, Masker Orchards, Wightman’s Farm, and Demarest Farms.

Bronx Zoo. The Bronx Zoo is one of my (and my toddler’s) favorite weekend activities. With tons of animals to visit (including a children’s petting zoo) and beautiful tree-lined paths to walk along for hours, it’s close to the city and can be reached by car, bus, or train. A great tip for city families: Check out the Family Premium Zoo pass—it’s a great deal if you plan on going a few times a year. It’s $189 for the year, which includes parking; admission for two adults, children up to age 18, and one guest; plus unlimited access to the area’s four zoos and one aquarium.

Woodbury Commons. Hands down the best outlets I’ve ever been to, Woodbury Commons has every store you can possibly imagine. You’ll find lots of great shopping for kids, as well as a great mix of high-end brands and every day staples for yourself. And since the season is changing (and little ones grow really quickly) there’s a good chance you’ll need to pick up some new things for the cooler weather. It’s also about an hour from the city, so it’s the perfect length of time for a good car nap there and another one on the way back.

Smorgasburg. If you live in Brooklyn, Smorgasburg may be as ordinary as going to your local grocery store, but I’ve never been—and I’m totally intrigued. Each weekend, “Brooklyn’s Flea Food Market” sets up shop on Saturday on the Williamsburg waterfront and on Sunday in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5, with over 75 delicious vendors of the best food, drink, and more Brooklyn has to offer. I don’t know about you, but to me it seems like the perfect place to eat, drink, and stroll around with my family on a beautiful fall afternoon. One thing to note: Sunday Smorgasburg will temporarily move to Pier 2 until October 5.

5summertimeplaygroundsnycParks and Playtime. There are great  playgrounds and parks in almost every NYC neighborhood, so you don’t necessarily have to leave the city to make the most of fall. One of my favorite parts about living in New York City is having so many outdoor places to play just a quick walk from my apartment. Head to Central Park for running, playing, and tossing around a ball; visit Washington Square Park for some time on the swings and a stroll; or try out Riverside Park for views of the Hudson while your kids climb on the playground jungle gyms. Don’t underestimate all of the fun fall activities right outside your door.

One quick tip: For just about all of the above activities, get an early start—as in, the minute these places open. You’ll avoid long lines, crowds of people, and impatient kiddies, and you’ll enjoy your time as a family much, much more. Take my word for it!

Author: Lauren Rubino

Lauren Rubino is the director of marketing and strategy at Kidz Central Station. She is also a mom to a very active toddler boy, so she’s no stranger to kids’ classes and activities! Have a question? Need help finding a class for your little one? Email her at