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In New York, the fall season is packed with incredible street fairs and festivals for cuisine and culture. From top to bottom, the city is filled with food and fun for all ages, including those over the age of 21 *wink.* Here are some favorite fall festivals in NYC!
2020 UPDATE: Out of the 11 listed New York fall festivals, 2 have already been canceled, 2 have not made any official announcement, 1 has gone virtual, and the other 8 are still listed as upcoming events on their websites.
|San Gennaro Festival||Canceled||n/a|
|New York Food and Wine Festival||Confirmed||October 8 - 11, 2020|
|New York Coffee Festival||Canceled||n/a|
|Taste of the Seaport||TBA||TBA|
|Open House New York||Confirmed||October 17 - 18, 2020|
|Oktoberfest NYC||Confirmed||September 19 – October 17, 2020|
|New York Irish Whiskey Festival||TBA||TBA|
|New York Comedy Festival||Confirmed||November 9 - 15, 2020|
|Cider Week New York City||Confirmed||November 5 - 16, 2020|
|Salon Du Chocolat NY||Confirmed||November 14 - 15, 2020|
|New York Film Festival||Confirmed||September 17 - October 11, 2020|
|Brooklyn Book Festival||Virtual||September 28 - October 5, 2020|
|The New Yorker Festival||Virtual||October 5 - October 11, 2020|
September New York Fall Festivals
San Gennaro Festival, Cancelled for 2020
As another of the fall festivals in NYC, every year the population of Little Italy in Manhattan grows by thousands. For almost two weeks each September, the community comes together to celebrate the Feast of San Gennaro.
With an influx of Italian immigration to New York City in the early 20th century, the Neapolitan immigrants brought their patronage of Saint Januarius, the patron saint of Naples, with them.
Although it started as a one-day ceremony in 1926, it quickly grew into the 11-day festival we know and love today. You’ll find Italian favorites like cannoli, torrone, zeppole, among other, more American treats. And, of course, there’s a cannoli eating contest. How could there not be?
The San Gennaro Festival happens on Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy. The best part? The entrance is free!
New York Film Festival, September 17 – October 11 2020
Now in its 58th year, the New York Film Festival held at Lincoln Center is a mainstay of fall festivals in New York. New projects from some of the industry’s leading creators are shown throughout the month-long event, and many of the talkbacks with the casts and creatives from these projects are free to the public.
For 2020, the festival is offering many virtual events to accommodate for social distancing. You can find a schedule of events on their website, for films that you can rent and watch at home, as well as drive-in movie theaters they’re partnering with across the United States to show some of the films.
Brooklyn book festival, virtual – September 28 – October 5, 2020
Are you an avid reader? Then you’ll love the Brooklyn Book Festival. The week-long event celebrates authors, publishers, and booksellers from all around the world. Their many free and low-cost events, panels, and meet-ups are specifically planned to explore diversity and introduce new and established works to fresh audiences.
Look out for their Festival Day, with more than 300 authors, and their Literary Marketplace, where you can find books from more than 250 independent and major publishers to discover your new favorite reads.
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October Fall Festivals in New York
The New Yorker Festival, October 5 – October 11, 2020
Hosted by the famous magazine, The New Yorker Festival is a week of panels, performances, and experiences, with some of the biggest names in comedy and politics right now. The best part? The entire festival is all online this year, which means you can catch any of the incredible panels from the comfort of your home.
Bonus: if you subscribe to The New Yorker magazine, you’re eligible to purchase tickets at their special pricing. Check out their Events Agenda for all of the details on what’s coming up.
New York Food and Wine Festival, October 8 – 11, 2020
Food and wine. What more do you want? The New York Food and Wine Festival is an incredible opportunity to get up close and personal with your favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel stars. Watch and learn as they cook and bake their creations into existence with 80 different tasting opportunities, classes, and events from 500 celebrity chefs.
New York Coffee Festival, Cancelled for 2020
You’re about to get super caffeinated. The New York Coffee Festival brings together tons of local roasters from around New York City. You’ll also find stalls for favorite local bakeries and interesting coffee concoctions.
Are you interested in some coffee competition? At Latte Art Live, top baristas will throw incredible designs, all competing for huge prizes. Or, show up to Roast Masters, a totally new competition for excellence in coffee roasting and blends. Do you want to more about the art of coffee? Attend a session of The Lab, a series of talks ranging from informational to innovative. You’re sure to walk out having indulged in far more coffee than you expected. Find the Festival at the Metropolitan Pavillion in Chelsea.
After that, since you’re already in Chelsea, stop by the Starbucks Reserve Roastery for even more coffee!
Taste of the Seaport, TBA for 2020
If you love local, you’re going to love Taste of the Seaport. This family-friendly festival has everything. Tons of restaurants local to the Historic South Street Seaport open stalls to share their food. They even have arts and crafts and pasta-making classes to keep the kids occupied while you partake. Enjoy a day out on the harbor with live music, artisan, and great food!
All proceeds from the day go towards funding for arts and enrichment programs at two local New York City public elementary schools.
Open House New York, October 17 – 18, 2020
So, have you ever seen a really cool building in the city and thought, “I wonder what it looks like inside?”
Now, you have the opportunity. For two days, some of the most off-limits buildings in the city open their doors. There are over 200 different sites open – free – for public viewing and tours to Open House guests. You can find different residential buildings, museums, private businesses, and universities on the list of viewable sites. Now’s your chance to catch a glimpse inside these structures you might not otherwise be able to see.
Make sure you plan ahead. Since the event is free, you might lose time waiting in line to enter. If you want to avoid the wait time, you can purchase a tax-deductible Passport, which gives you skip the line access to events that don’t require you to register ahead.
Oktoberfest NYC, September 19 – october 17, 2020
Unfortunately, we can’t all be in Germany during their Oktoberfest celebration. But, that’s why you have fall festivals in NYC! The first Oktoberfest kicked off in Munich, Germany, in 1810 when future King Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. People so enjoyed the festival held in honor of the marriage that they decided to repeat it the next year, and so on. By the 1890s, beer became the centerpiece of the event.
However, if you’re visiting New York City in September and October, we’ve got the next best thing! For almost two full months, you can head to Watermark Bar at Pier 15 on the weekends for entertainment and beer. The bar holds true to traditional German beers you would find at Munich’s official Oktoberfest, like Hofbrau, Weihenstephan, and Radeberger.
You can also find other Oktoberfest events all around New York City throughout October. The German-American Steuben Parade New York even hosts its own Oktoberfest in Central Park.
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November Fall Festivals in New York
New York Irish Whiskey Festival, TBA for 2020
The inaugural festival of the New York Irish Whiskey Festival kicks off on November 2nd. With festivities led by Irish Whiskey connoisseurs Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry from The Dead Rabbit bar, you’re sure to be in good hands. There will be more than 25 different times of whiskey to taste, as well as live, music, food, and seminars.
On the other hand, if you’re a total whiskey newbie like me, they’re kindly offering Irish Whiskey 101 sessions for laymen to learn about the liquor!
New York Comedy Festival, November 9 – 15, 2020
Since 2004, over 200 comedians come together in New York City each year for the New York Comedy Festival. If you love to laugh, you don’t want to miss this! Catch favorites like Nicole Byer, Iliza Shlesinger, Stephan Colbert, Jenny Slate, Trevor Noah, and more at the 60 different shows throughout the city.
In addition to the many sketches and stand-up sets, the festival offers panels and workshops with the comedic geniuses, as well as film screenings, podcast recordings, and pop-ups. From Madison Square Garden to small bars around the city, you’re sure to find a laugh!
Cider Week New York City, November 5 – 16, 2020
Apparently, New Yorkers like their alcohol in the fall! Cider Week New York City is dedicated to cider – we’re not just talking about spicy, delicious, hot apple cider. Good food, and cider brews!
Cider Week New York City began in 2011 as an exchange between American and French cider makers. What started as business exchange and education developed into an entire week of tastings and food and cider pairings at bars all over New York City. Check their events page for more information on dates, locations, and purchasing tickets.
Salon Du Chocolat NY, November 14 – 15, 2020
Finally, to round out our fall festivals in NYC, we have the champion of chocolate. Salon Du Chocolat, the world’s largest chocolate festival based in Paris, is coming to New York City for the first time. With tickets at only $25, you have the opportunity to taste chocolates and pastries created by some of the most prominent chocolatiers, including local New York shops.
In addition to the tastings, panels, workshops, and demonstrations, the festival will include its signature Chocolate Fashion Show. The clothing is really sweet enough to eat – they are made, in part, with chocolate.
In short – you have liquor. You have food. And, you have history. No matter your interests, you’re sure to find fun at a fall festival here in the city!
Which of these fall festivals in NYC interests you the most? Any festivals you love not mentioned here? Let me know!