Many purists, locals, and frequent visitors like to say that autumn in New York is the best time of the year, and really it’s hard to argue. By the beginning of October the muggy days are behind us, the air is crisp and comfortable, and any chance of snow is still a long way off. There are always plenty of events in New York City no matter when you come, and October has it share of big ones, so here are a few highlights.
October weather in New York
As mentioned, the weather in New York this time of year is generally cool and pleasant, although it can rain a fair amount. The rain here tends to be in heavy bursts instead of an incessant drizzle, so often you can just duck under cover for a short time and then get back out again.
Albany avg high 62.2F (16.8C) / avg low 43.4F (6.3C)
Buffalo avg high 60F (15C) / avg low 43F (6C)
New York avg high 65F (18C) / avg low 50F (10C)
Niagara Falls avg high 60F (16C)/ avg low 42F (6C)
Avg. precipitation 3.6 inches/ 9 cm
You’ll want to bring layers, of course, because some days still do get warm, and the same evening can get quite cold. Whenever it starts raining it will be easy to find a cheap umbrella ($2 to $5 or so) in a shop or magically from an instant vendor, so unless you’ve got a compact one you might want to leave yours at home and just buy one if it happens to be in the forecast that day, or even after it starts.
Flights to New York in October are generally cheaper than during summer, but it’s best not to buy your ticket too early. Fare sales tend for this period tend to start in August, and sometimes get even cheaper in September. If you see a good fare buy it, but if prices seem higher than you expect you might wait a bit longer.
The summer crowds are gone and prices of most New York hotels have eased a bit from their peak, but you probably already know that prices here tend to be insane all year round. Most hotels have variable rates depending on how many rooms are already booked for that day, so in almost every case it’s best to book a room as early as you are sure of your dates. You can always cancel (as long as you don’t prepay for some reason), and prices generally just get higher and higher. The hostels in New York tend to have fixed prices that might vary a bit by season, but you really won’t ever see any specials so just book when you are ready.
October events in New York
NYC Oktoberfest – October 5, 2008
All summer the city is filled with street fairs of one form or another, and most of them are pretty much identical to one another. This large one that runs from 42nd Street to 57th Street on Lexington Avenue has a German theme, not surprisingly, so it stands out a bit from the rest, and probably serves more beer as well.
New York Film Festival – September 26 – October 12, 2008
It’s not as famous as some others, but New York has had its own major film festival since the early 1960s. Running 17 days featuring around 30 full-length features and a dozen shorts, the NYFF has plenty of big name talent and star power, as well as major premieres and releases on the schedule. You can buy tickets for most of the screenings, although many do sell out well in advance. The main venue for most films is the Ziegfeld Theater, which is in Midtown, at 141 W 54th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.
Official New York Film Festival site
Columbus Day Parade – October 13, 2008
In spite of the recent controversy of how important Christopher Columbus really was, the parade in his honor is one of New York’s oldest and biggest traditions. Parading down 5th Avenue from 79th Street to 44th Street, you’ll see bands, Broadway performers, floats, drill teams, and some surprises. The purpose is officially to celebrate those who helped build America, and Italian-Americans do get involved, but it’s really an open and celebratory event for all.
Greenwich Village Halloween Parade – October 31
This parade is another annual favorite in the city, and it has a unique flavor compared to what you might expect before you see it for the first time. The route stretches from along 6th Avenue from Spring Street down in SoHo to 21st Street in Chelsea, and it has a decidedly flamboyant tone. Thousands of costumed marchers and float riders seem to compete for who is the most fabulous, and the gay community considers this one of the major highlights on the gay New York calendar. But the crowd in this liberal city tends to be mixed and mostly straight-leaning, so everyone is welcome.
Other Things to do
October is the perfect month to enjoy walking tours . The fall foliage, in Central Park and in the entire state, is absolutely superb. You can rent a car and plan a road trip. Pack a picnic basket and stop somewhere for a relaxing meal in nature.