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This post covers the best things to do in New York City in October.

We include nighttime activities, free as well as family-friendly things to do, all updated for 2022.


This section will feature our top 10 activities to enjoy in New York City throughout October. 

Be sure to check out our master post, Things to Do in NYC, for more ideas any time of year.

Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist attraction discount pass.

For tips on the most popular activities in NYC, check out the following posts:

Keep in mind that Columbus Day, a public holiday falls on the 2nd Monday of October and some activities may be affected that day.

1. See a Sports Event 

October offers several thrilling sports to choose from.

We’ve got ice hockey in full swing, football heating up and the basketball season starting. 

Sports events are a great way to spend an evening and also a family-friendly activity.


Ice Hockey 


2. Take a Sightseeing Tour

Central Park is a perfect place to enjoy the beauty of the fall. Join us for one of our pay-what-you-like tours of Central Park.

Our guided walks are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour was worth or what you could afford (even free) when the tour is over.

New York Walking Tours

If you can't join us, explore the park on your own using our GPS audio tour or our Guide of Things to Do in Central Park

We offer approximately 40 different tours, including free, self-guided, guided, and GPS-enabled audio tours of every neighborhood that you will likely visit as a tourist in NYC. 

Check out our homepage or look at our schedule to see what we have available when you are here. 

3. Attend a Concert

There are so many amazing performers in town this month.

Whether you're a fan of hard rock, pop music, or even classic 80's tunes, there's plenty of great concerts in NYC this October.

TIP: Madison Square Garden offers All-Access Tours so you can see how this iconic arena has become a world landmark.

4. See a Broadway Show

October has some wonderful shows playing on Broadway.

The creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is bringing an old show back to Broadway for a limited engagement.

It's called Freestyle Love Supreme. (See below for details).

If you still haven't seen Hamilton, find out about discount tickets here.

Here are a few other notable productions happening in NYC this month:

  • Moulin Rouge - based on the early 2000s movie by Baz Luhrmann
  • Beattlejuice: The Musical - based on the popular 1980s film starring Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder
  • Funny Girl - based on the life and career of Broadway and film stay Fanny Brice, played by Barbra Streisand in its first Broadway run
  • The Kite Runner - the stage adaptation of the 2003 book by the same name
  • Six the Musical - a pop concert retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII

See what else is playing when you are in town.

TIP: If you are on a budget, there are several ways to get discount tickets, sometimes as low as $10! See our post on how to get cheap Broadway tickets.

5. New York Comic-Con  

For connoisseurs of comic books, games, sci-fi, anime, manga, and all things pop culture, October 6th - 9th, 2022 brings you heaven on earth.

Visit their website for more information and to purchase tickets.

If you can't see your favorite superheroes at Comic-Con, you can still see their haunts and HQs on a Super Hero Tour.

Our self-guided Super Hero tour includes locations from tv shows and movies of Spiderman, Superman, The Avengers, X-Men, Captain America, Batman, and more. 

TIP: Some NYC tourist discount passes include a free superhero tour. See our post comparing tourist passes

6. Go to the Opera or Ballet

The Metropolitan Opera is in full swing this October. In addition to Medea, Tosca will be playing throughout the month.

The New York City Ballet will also be performing multiple shows this month.

Fans of professional dance won't want to miss this opportunity to see one of the premiere ballet groups in the world live on stage.

7. See a Famous Comedian Perform Stand-Up

There will be several well-known and famous comedians performing in New York City this October.

Here are a few popular comedians you can see in and around NYC this month:

For even more great stand-up, check this list of comedy shows taking place in New York City in October.

8. Dates As Yet Unconfirmed: Celebrate Diwali in Times Square

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is the most important holiday in India.

Every fall in Times Square, the largest Diwali celebration outside of India will take place across two days.

Times Square will be filled with the sounds, sights, and delicious foods of South Asia and India. Find out more here.

There are many other things to do in Times Square. Take a look at our post on 22 Things to Do in Times Square.

9. Village Halloween Parade  

For decades, the Village Halloween Parade has attracted thousands of New Yorkers to watch the floats and art troupes who flood 6th Avenue with the most creative Halloween costumes you will ever see.

The parade starts at 7 pm on October 31, 2022. The route runs along 6th Avenue from Spring Street in SoHo to 16th Street in Chelsea. (map).

Find out about all the great things to do in Greenwich Village, including where to eat, drink, shop and more.

10. Utilize a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

If you’re looking to see and do as much as possible, using a New York City tourist attraction discount pass can help you save money and time. 

Attractions Available on Passes Include:

  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Empire State Building
  • Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
  • Madame Tussauds
  • 9/11 Memorial and Guided Tour
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Madison Square Garden All Access Tour

These passes save you money by bundling dozens of popular attractions and tours into one discounted ticket (up to 55% off).

They can also save you time by allowing you to skip the ticket lines and numerous locations. Read our post comparing your options.

For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on things to do in NYC.

best time to visit new york


Over the month of October, more than 80 partners in all five boroughs of New York join together to celebrate New York City's Architecture and Design Month.

Professionals in all areas of architecture and design put together activities, programs, and exhibitions that celebrate and inform.

There will be panel discussions, lectures, movies, tours, and more throughout the month.

For a list of events and exhibitions, visit their website.

To tour additional areas of New York city, please take a look at our a list of our walking tours.

New Yorker Festival

This annual festival taking place in 2022 from October 7th - 9th, shares information through entertainment.

Notable voices from the creative arts (writers, artists, editors) and other areas take part in panel discussions, conversations, performances, screenings, and more throughout New York City venues.

This year parts of the festival will be live screened as well.

For more information, visit the New Yorker Festival webstie.


You can find some amazing things to do any night of the week.

As listed above, you have a bunch of great concerts, Broadway shows, sports events. 

There are also evening activities in other sections of this post, so take a look through.

Below are a few highlights for a night out in October. Find even more ideas from our post on what to do at night in NYC.

Take a Night Walking Tour

October temperatures are still comfortable enough to take a night tour.

The night air is brisk but invigorating and the city at night is electric and dazzling. 

We offer a number of night tours in October including Ghost toursMidtown Manhattan tours911 Memorial, and Brooklyn Bridge, and a dark side of the High Line.

You can also use our GPS-led audio self-guided tours and our self-guided tours to explore on your own after the sun sets.

Attend the New York Film Festival

In 2022, the prestigious New York Film Festival takes place September 28th - October 14th.

To find out which films are playing and to purchase tickets click here. They are shown in beautiful Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center.

While tickets are $25 and up, the higher price is worth the experience of being in this special venue!

TIP: Lincoln Center offers a tour of several of its most famous performance spaces. Find out more here

See a Free TV Show Taping 

If you love Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert on TV, why not see them live and for free?

Some of the best late-night talk shows tape in the evening. These are three fun shows to attend a TV taping:

To see what other show tapings you can attend, see our post, New York TV show tapings.

Enjoy a Skyline View of New York City 

What could be more magical than seeing the glittering lights of New York City at night?

You could go to one of the 4 observatory decks, but there are plenty of other ways to get a great photo-worthy view of the iconic New York Skyline.

See our post to find the Best New York Skyline Views and also our post on 10 Rooftop Bars with Great Views

Listen Live to an Old-Timey Radio Show Taping

In October 2022, the award-winning, critically-acclaimed Radio Theatre, in Greenwich Village, celebrates it's 20th year of live performances.

Last year ticket-holders were able to watch a live on-stage taping of of H.P. Lovecraft's spine-tingling The Whisperer in Darkness. Previous tapings have included stories by Poe and Hitchcock.

For more information, visit their website here.

TIP: While you are in the village, explore this fun and also beautiful neighborhood with our GPS audio tour of Greenwich Village or look at our post on great things to do in Greenwich Village.

Get more ideas for what to do in the evenings by looking at our post about things to do at night in NYC.

 Explore a Food Festival and Thanksgiving Restaurant Specials

There are a few food festivals and tasting events in New York City this month!

Head to Brooklyn on October 22nd from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm for the Brooklyn Crush Wine & Artisanal Fall Food Festival.

Sample wines from all over the world and light bites from local and regional food vendors.

If you're in town over Thanksgiving and want to get into the holiday mood, why not get a special dinner? See these websites for restaurants that offer special menus for Thanksgiving Day:

If you want to experience more New York food, then why not join us for one of our pay-what-you-wish food tours?


Below are just a few of the hundreds of free things you can do in New York City in October.

Some of the events above are free, like the Halloween Parade, the Clio Art Fair, and taking a tour of Central Park. So be sure to look at the other sections in this post for more ideas. 

For even more free activities, see our guide to free things to do in NYC.

Visit Governors Island 

This recreational, car-free oasis just 7 minutes from Manhattan is open through October. 

Although you will have to pay $3 for the ferry, you don't need to pay for anything else once you are there. Endless activities await you and your family at this playground for people of all ages!

Read our post on Governors Island to find out about biking, kayaking, picnicking, historic tours and more. 

Atlantic Antic

Known by locals as the Antic, this is one of the biggest street fairs in NYC. This year the festival takes place on October 2nd.

It's free to attend, and it is a very family-friendly activity as well.

Get more information here

The Antic is on a Sunday and is located in Brooklyn Heights, so why not join us for our 2 pm pay-what-you-like Brooklyn Heights Tour before or after the Antic?

Brooklyn Book Festival 

This annual week-long free literary event takes place between September 25th - October 3rd in and around Brooklyn Heights

There are dozens of free readings and panel discussions with both world-famous and up-and-coming authors.

There is a Children's Day as well, on October 1st.

Find all the details of the Festival here.

TIP: Why not join us on our pay-what-you-like Brooklyn Heights tour since you are already in the neighborhood. For even more free activities, see our guide to free things to do in NYC.

Columbus Day Parade 

This is the world's largest celebration of Italian-American culture and it is on October 10th, 2022, starting at 11L30 am. The parade route is along 5th Avenue from 47th Street and 72nd Street (map).

There will be over 130 marching groups including bands, floats, and Italian heritage and cultural groups marching proudly along the route.

Click here to get more information on the parade.

For suggestions of other things to do in the area once the parade is over, see our post 50+ Things to Do in Midtown Manhattan.

Lower East Side Pickle Day  

Every October, it's all about pickles in the Lower East Side. Come out and try all sorts of pickled foods from 20+ picklers.  

There will also be non-pickled treats, pop-up shops by local boutiques and restaurants, live music, games, and a home pickling/dancing contest. Find out the details here.

Pickle Day is on a Sunday and would be an excellent activity to attend after taking our Sunday Lower East Side Food Tour at 1 pm. 

Open House New York (OHNY)   

OHNY is an annual event that gives the public has free access to over 275 of the city’s architecturally and culturally significant buildings that are not generally open to the public.

This event is scheduled for October 21st - 23rd, 2022.

Among them are the Woolworth Building, Alice Austen HouseGrand Central Terminal, and many more locations which are included in our Lower Manhattan tours and our Greenwich Village tours


Here are just a few fun activities that will keep the kids and adults amused. Many focus on pumpkins, harvests, and Halloween.

Some of the events listed above are family-friendly, such as the Halloween Parade and going to Governors Island, so definitely look at the other sections for ideas.

You can find even more information about visiting New York with kids at Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in New York City as well as our 3-day itinerary for families

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla

At the Harlem Meer in Central Park, you and your family can make your own jack-o’-lanterns, light them up with a candle inside and send it sailing on the pond.

This is an especially fun event for younger children.

Events are scheduled to take place on October 31st, 2922. See the official website for details.

If you are curious about Harlem, think about joining us on a pay-what-you-like Harlem walking tour or enjoy our self-guided Harlem tour or our GPS-led audio tour of Harlem

Pumpkin Picking at Decker Farm 

On weekends in October, visit Decker Farm in Staten Island to get a true Halloween seasonal experience.

There will be hayrides, face painting, farm animals, arts and crafts, a corn maze, and even a pumpkin patch at a historic working farm.

For more details, see their website

TIP: To get to Staten Island you will want to take the free Staten Island Ferry. Our post explains how to do this and provides tips on making your ride the best possible. Click here.

Ghouls & Gourds at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

This festival is perfect for the younger kids and the Garden is offering free admission for kids age 12 and younger.

The date has yet to be announced, so check their website.

The BBG is a wonderful place to visit at any time. Though they do charge admission, they have special free hours on Friday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. Find out which other museums are free in NYC.


Not just for grown-ups, ComicCon welcomes children of all ages but ticket availability is somewhat limited depending on age. 

It's held on October 6th - 9thth, 2021 at the Jacob Javitz Center. 

Kids 5 and under can attend for free. Kids 13 and older will need to purchase an adult ticket.

Take a Free Super Hero Tour

If you cant see your favorite superheroes at Comic-Con, you can still their headquarters and haunts located all over NYC.

This self-guided Super Hero tour includes locations from tv shows and movies of Spiderman, Superman, The Avengers, X-Men, Captain America, Batman, and more. 

TIP: Some NYC tourist discount passes include a free superhero tour. See our post comparing tourist passes

Lighthouse Festival

During this event, you can take a tour of Manhattan’s only remaining lighthouse. At the Little Red Lighthouse Festival, there will also be art, food fishing clinics, live music, and children's book readings.

It takes place in Upper Manhattan in Fort Washington Park on October 8th, 2022, from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Get even more ideas from our post on the best things to do with kids in New York City.


About The Author


Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: April 10th, 2023
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