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 2023.
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.
Click here for even more sporting events in October.
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 is worth or what you can afford (even free) when the tour is over.
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.
3. Take in 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 80s tunes, there are plenty of great concerts in NYC this October.
- Stevie Nicks | October 1st
- John Mayer | October 3rd, 4th, 21st
- Nick Cave | October 6th, 7th, 8th
- Chris Stapleton | October 7th (Elmont)
- Zac Brown Band | October 7th (Holmdel)
- Luis Miguel | October 8th, 21st
- Chicago | October 16th-19th, 22nd-24th, 26th, 29th, 30th
- Depeche Mode | Ocotber 21st, 28th
- Enrique Iglesias/Ricky Martin/Pitbull | October 26th, 27th, 28th
- Steve Martin/Martin Short | October 26th (Red Bank)
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
When in New York City, you should try to get to a Broadway show. Some great ones playing this month.
See what is playing here or take a look at our select shows below.
These are some of the popular musicals playing in October 2023:
- The Lion King
- The Book of Mormon
- MJ the Musical
- Six the Musical
- Moulin Rouge
- Sweeney Todd
- Some Like It Hot
Click here to find other October shows.
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. Attend New York Comic-Con
For connoisseurs of comic books, games, sci-fi, anime, manga, and all things pop culture, October 12th - 15th brings you heaven on earth.
Visit the New York Comic-Con 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
New York has some of the premier opera and ballet companies in the world. If you're interested in seeing a show, there are a few options in October.
The Metropolitan Opera
- Nabucco | October 1st, 4th, 7th
- Dead Man Walking | October 3rd, 6th, 8th, 12th, 15th, 18th, 21st
- La Boheme | October 10th, 13th, 17th, 21st, 25th, 28th
- Un Ballo in Maschera | October 20th, 24th, 27th
The New York City Ballet
- All Balanchine I - IV and the Fall Gala | October 1st-15th
7. See a Famous Comedian Perform Stand-Up
There will be several well-known and famous comedians performing in New York City this October.
Stand Up Comedy
- Nurse Blake | October 1st
- Penn & Teller | October 10th
- Russell Howard | October 12th
- Whose Line is it Anyway | October 13th-15th
- Dane Cook | October 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd
- Steve Martin/Martin Short | October 26th
- Tracy Morgan | October 27th
For even more great stand-up, check this list of comedy shows taking place in New York City in October.
8. 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.
Times Square will be filled with the sounds, sights, and delicious foods of South Asia and India.
The fun takes place on October 28th and is free to attend. Read more about Diwali Times Square 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. Have a Blast at the Village Halloween Parade
For decades, the Village Halloween Parade has attracted thousands of New Yorkers.
They come to watch the floats and art troupes that flood 6th Avenue with the most creative Halloween costumes you will ever see.
The parade starts at 7 p.m. on October 31st. 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.
Attend the New Yorker Festival
This annual festival 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.
Activities take place October 6th-8th
For more information, visit the New Yorker Festival website.
Brooklyn Book Festival
This annual week-long free literary event takes place September 24th - October 2nd in and around Brooklyn Heights.
There are dozens of free readings and panel discussions with both world-famous and up-and-coming authors.
Find all the details of the Brooklyn Book Festival here.
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, and sports events.
There are also evening activities in other sections of this post, so take a look through them.
Below are a few highlights for a night out in October. Find 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.
Attend the New York Film Festival
The prestigious New York Film Festival takes place from September 29th - October 15th. This is its 61st year!
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.
Visit the New York Film Festival website for more information.
See a Free TV Show Taping
If you love Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert on TV, why not see them live for free?
Some of the best late-night talk shows tape in the evening.
These are three fun shows to attend a TV taping:
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert | tapes between 5:30 pm to 7 pm
- The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon | begins taping at 5 pm
- Saturday Night Live | tapes at 8:30 pm and 11:30 pm
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.
Attend an Old-Time Radio Show Taping
In October 2023, the award-winning, critically-acclaimed Radio Theatre, in Greenwich Village, celebrates its 21st 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 the Radio Theatre of New York website.
TIP: While you are in the village, explore this fun and 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.
Below are just a few of the hundreds of free things you can do in New York City in October.
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.
Known by locals as the Antic, this is one of the biggest street fairs in NYC. This year the festival takes place on October 1st.
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 pp.m.pay-what-you-like Brooklyn Heights Tour before or after the Antic?
Columbus Day Parade
This is the world's largest celebration of Italian-American culture with a route running 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.
The parade takes place October 9th from 11:30-3:30.
Click on the Columbus Day Parade website 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.
Open House New York (OHNY)
OHNY is an annual event that gives the public 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 20th-22nd.
Here are just a few fun activities that will keep the kids and adults amused. Many focus on pumpkins, harvests, and Halloween.
Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla
At Harlem Meer in Central Park, you and your family can enjoy a few different Halloween-related activities.
Halloween On October 26th, put on your costumes and enjoy arts, crafts, stories, and magic.
Pumpkin Floritlla On October 27th, drop off your carved pumpkin and watch the jack-o-lanterns float by.
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 the Decker Farm 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.
ComicCon welcomes children of all ages but ticket availability is somewhat limited depending on age.
It's held on October October 12th - 15th at the Jacob Javitz Convention 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 can't 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.