October in New York City: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Union Square, Manhattan in Autumn
James and Karla Murray/Getty Images

When it comes to visiting New York City, there's always something to do in "The City That Never Sleeps," but thanks to the cooler autumn weather, variety of fall events, and fewer crowds, October might be the best time of the year to plan your trip to the Big Apple.

With temperatures staying mostly between the 50s and high 70s all month long, fall foliage changing colors in the city parks, and cheaper accommodations and attractions, October is a great time to visit New York City and the northeastern United States. Plus, from a city-wide "Open House" to start the month to the biggest Halloween parade in the United States, there's plenty of things to do and see in New York City this month.

New York City in October
 © TripSavvy 2018

New York City Weather in October

Although it can get a little chilly toward the end of the month—especially around Halloween—October is an ideal month to visit New York City because the average high is around 65 F (18 C) and the average low is only 50 F (10 C), making it the perfect time for hitting the busy streets of the city. With warm days and cool nights and fewer than seven days of the month usually experience rainfall, October is a great time to enjoy a rooftop bar, outdoor concert venue, or day in Central Park.

What to Pack

If you’ll be visiting New York City in October, you may still be able to get away with short-sleeved shirts during the day. However, bring along a sweater or medium-weight jacket to keep you warm in the evenings. Footwear can make a break a trip, so make sure yours is comfortable for walking large city blocks or Central Park. Closed-toe and water-resistant shoes are recommended.

October Events in New York City

With Columbus Day festivals and events starting off the month and Halloween parties and parades closing it out, October is packed full of great events in New York City. However, you don't have to come to the city during the crowded October holiday weekends to enjoy some unique celebrations—there is plenty to do all month long. From the Open House New York, which invites tourists into historic homes usually closed to visitors, to the New York Wine and Food Festival, you're sure to find something to entertain you on your visit to the city this October.

  • Columbus Day Parade: This event has all of the elements that make a great parade—marching bands, minor celebrities, floats—without the crowds and chaos of many other parades in the city.
  • New Yorker Festival: Celebrate all things NYC at this annual event, which takes place from October 5 to 7, 2018. Each year, The New Yorker magazine hosts dozens of events across the city that bring together leaders in politics, arts, and culture for workshops, roundtable discussions, readings, and performances.
  • Open House New York: This is your chance to join the throngs of New Yorkers and tourists in the know as they get to visit each borough’s spots of architectural significance that aren't usually open to the public. Events in 2018 take place on the weekend of October 12 through 14.
  • New York Wine & Food Festival: This indulgent weekend (October 11 to 14, 2018) features endless events where you can sample wines, enjoy dinners hosted by celebrity chefs, and mingle with other foodies and wine aficionados at over 80 events throughout New York City.
  • Halloween: Watch (or join!) the parade or participate in any of the city's other wonderful events, such as the Halloween Extravaganza & the Procession of the Ghouls that is held at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. From electronic warehouse parties to wine and cheese events, there are plenty of things to do in New York City on Halloween, making it one of the most popular holidays to visit.
  • Fall foliage in New York City: Whether you take a sightseeing cruise to enjoy the changing leaves or just go for a walk in one of New York City's great parks, the sights and scents of autumn are a true pleasure. NYC is within a few hours drive of some of the best locations in New England to see fall foliage including Long Island, the Poconos, and the Berkshires in Massachusetts.

October Travel Tips

  • After a hot summer, the daytime weather in New York City is now perfect for enjoying walking tours and other outdoor activities.
  • One outdoor thing you can do is to take a stroll through ​Central Park. With the park in the heart of the city, you don’t have to go on a Sunday drive to find beautiful red, orange, yellow, and purple fall foliage.
  • Another perk is that the Columbus Day holiday, which always falls on the second Monday of the month, allows some to have a three-day weekend, but this also means flights and hotels will be more expensive.
  • Despite the perks of visiting New York City in October, there’s one drawback in particular: travel prices. As New York enters its peak travel time, expect to pay higher prices for hotels and airfare.