The Best Fall Walks and Tours in NYC

By Alison Durkee

October has arrived, and as summer sun gives way to cooler autumn temperatures, it’s the perfect time to get out and explore the city. Enjoy the fall foliage and learn about the city’s hidden histories on these upcoming walks and tours.

Outer Borough Outings: Get out of Manhattan this fall with tours of the city’s outer boroughs. Brooklynites can enjoy the beauty and history of Green-Wood Cemetery with weekly trolley tours on Wednesdays and Sundays through December, while those looking to learn more about the city’s more contemporary cultural offerings can take a walking tour of Brooklyn’s Cultural District November 3. Over in Queens, discover the past, present, and future of Astoria Village (above) on a walking tour October 7, or bring your appetite for a special food walk through Jackson Heights with the 92nd Street Y on October 6. The Municipal Art Society of New York will also get into the Bronx this fall, offering a tour October 20 of the “Bronx Hub” where 149th Street intersects with Third, Willis, and Melrose Avenues – an area that was once known as the “Times Square of the Bronx.”

Museum Meandering: New Yorkers can get a taste of the city’s vast art and museum world this fall. Art lovers can enjoy a tour of galleries in Soho and Tribeca October 6, or get a deeper look into the world of art collecting and acquisition on a tour of the Upper East Side October 20. The American Museum of Natural History will offer tours of its own museum halls October 19 and 20, which will examine the historical context of cultural exhibits and questions of inclusion and diversity. Those wanting to discover new museums throughout the city can also take advantage of Open House New York October 12-14, which will offer tours and access to such museums as the Center for Architecture, Noguchi Museum, Rubin Museum of Art, Greater Astoria Historical Society, and more.

Giovanni Cadamosto’s illustrated herbal. Italy or Germany, 15th century. ©British Library Board

Health and Science Happenings: New Yorkers can get out to discover the city’s unique ecosystems this fall, as the New-York Historical Society hosts a special plant walk through Central Park October 21 in conjunction with their upcoming Harry Potter exhibition. (On October 14, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden hosts The Botanical World of Harry Potter Tour Series: Magical Plants and their Muggle Cousins.) The 92nd Street Y will offer a look at a different New York habitat on an AIANY boat tour of Freshkills Park, which is currently under development, October 6. For a look back at one of the city’s former major health hubs, join Untapped Cities for a tour of Ellis Island’s abandoned hospital complex, which will take place Saturdays and select Sundays throughout the fall. Those wanting to make a difference in the health world moving forward can use their walking for good at a walk to support CaringKind, which supports New Yorkers affected by Alzheimer’s, in Riverside Park October 14.

Political Promenades: New Yorkers can get a new look at the city’s political history this fall ahead of the November midterm elections. Go back in time to see the Founding Fathers’ impact on the city with Big Onion’s Revolutionary New York tour (October 8, November 6 and 12), or get a look at two presidents’ New York haunts with a tour centered on Chester Alan Arthur and Theodore Roosevelt October 7. The current political moment has fired up political enthusiasm with women in particular; pay tribute to the suffrage movement that paved the way for women’s political advocacy with a walking tour of Brooklyn Heights November 3. Those wanting to learn more about New York City politics today, meanwhile, can enjoy public tours of City Hall, which take place most Wednesdays and Thursdays through the NYC Design Commission.

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