The Best Fall Walks and Tours in NYC

By Alison Durkee

Fall is officially upon us, and while there’s starting to be a chill in the air, it’s still the perfect time to get out and enjoy the city before winter sets in. Discover the city’s history, cultural scene, and off-the-radar spots on these upcoming walks and tours.

Historical Hikes: Step back in time this fall with walking tours that delve into New York City’s rich history, from a walking tour of Greenwich Village’s important legacy of social justice (November 16) to a tour that same afternoon focused on Five Points, the notorious 1800s-era slum in lower Manhattan. Other walking tours will go all the way back to the city’s—and country’s— inception. The Fraunces Tavern Museum will lead an Evacuation Day walking tour on November 23 and 24, just ahead of the anniversary of the day in 1783 that the British officially ended their occupation of New York City and the Revolutionary War came to a final end. An Untapped Cities tour on November 10 and 24 will go even further back in time, examining New York’s history as Nieuw Amsterdam and the remaining remnants of the city’s Dutch origins.

Building Basics: Other tours this fall will give you the chance to discover—and explore—the city’s buildings in a new way. On October 19, get insights into the mansions of Riverside Drive and their former occupants on a walking tour with the New-York Historical Society. Those who’d rather venture inside the city’s interesting spots, meanwhile, should take advantage of Open House New York (October 18-20), a weekend in which buildings around the city throw open their doors to the public, and in many cases offer special tours of their architecture and offerings. Among the numerous spots participating in the event are major landmarks like City Hall and points of interest like the Brooklyn Navy Yard, along with architectural gems like the Art Deco lobby of the AT&T Long Distance building in Tribeca. Architecture lovers can also check out Archtober, a month-long series of architectural events continuing through the end of the month. AIANY is offering daily building tours in conjunction with the event, including upcoming looks at the Statue of Liberty Museum (above, October 23) and the Bronx Music Hall (October 24).

Haunted Happenings: With Halloween rapidly approaching, this fall marks the perfect time to discover NYC’s spooky side. The Merchant’s House Museum is offering candlelight ghost tours throughout the month of its haunted property, while the Fraunces Tavern Museum will put on a haunted history tour of its own on Halloween afternoon. On October 27, the National Lighthouse Museum will be offering a haunted lighthouse boat tour up the East River, complete with a Halloween party on the water. Those who want to discover an eerie spot even beyond Halloweentime can attend one of Untapped Cities’ hard-hat tours of the abandoned hospital at Ellis Island, offered on Saturdays and select Sundays.

Artistic Adventures: Artists and art lovers can get a unique perspective on the city’s visual arts scene this fall. Delve into art history with a walking tour of the artists of Washington Square on November 2, or see current artists at work on a tour of artist studios in Midtown West on October 19. Attendees of Open House New York (October 18-20) will also be able to gain artistic insights, as the event includes a number of open studios that will be fully accessible to the public.


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