Widely thought of as prime time for visiting New York, autumn paints the city in its best light. Whether you’re looking for cute cafés to cosy up in with a turmeric latte or tucked-away boutiques in which to source a one-off shearling coat, NYC seems to truly light up between Labor Day and Christmas. Read on for the best strolls backdropped by falling leaves, and our favourite spots for picking up serums to combat dry-skin weather.

Make the most of fall with our lowdown on the best places to stay, play and eat in NYC

TO STAY

The NoMad Hotel

Steps away from the Flatiron Building, the sexy, dimly lit entryway of this hotel beckons you in. Each bedroom’s pillowy bed and claw-footed bathtub smack in the middle of the room are irresistible after a day of pounding the pavement. Settle into a bubble bath before swathing yourself in cashmere and descending the steps to the snug, moody bar and ordering a dark and stormy, or nestling into a corner of the library with a good book for the afternoon.

The Beekman

An impeccably decorated sanctuary, The Beekman might just be the Financial District’s most gorgeous hotel. With a soaring atrium rimmed by ornate terraces, and cosy velvet chaises and bookshelves in the lobby, this hotel extends a warm welcome on even the most blustery day. The sage-hued bar room is one of the best places in the city to steal away to at dusk when a spritz is in order but you’d like to avoid fighting for a seat. Upstairs, bedrooms are decked out with jewel-toned pillows, couches and carpets, as well as kitted-out cocktail tables and marble bathrooms with rainfall showers, making this an ideal escape for sleeping in and putting your feet up between shopping downtown.

TO EAT

The Spotted Pig

A bona-fide English pub, this West Village eatery is a must on a cold, drizzly evening. Grab a seat at the bar if you’re alone or corner table upstairs with friends, and warm up with cider and a burger with roquefort and shoestring chips. The place is always packed and doesn’t take reservations, so make sure to show up early for a coveted seat between the crimson walls adorned with animal paintings and flowery plates.

JG Melon

Nowhere does an old-school, comforting meal like JG’s. Consistently packed to the rafters with locals who come so often that they have name plates hanging above the bar, this place is practically a rite of passage for becoming a true New Yorker. The menu is no-fuss, so go for the grilled cheese sandwich or the cheeseburger (it’s what everybody comes here for) to get the real experience. With locations in Greenwich Village and on both the Upper West and East Sides, there’s really no excuse not to stop by.

Buvette

One of the West Village’s sweetest brunch spots, there’s nowhere quite like Buvette for cosying up with a toasty croque madame or a cup of tea. Bundle up in a chunky sweater and take a novel along for a solo meal on the terrace, where you can bask in the last of the season’s warm sunshine and watch the leaves fall from the surrounding trees. If you’re more partial to a group affair, bring friends along and share various veggie plates or order the chèvre scrambled eggs on toast to warm up.

TO DO

Neue Galerie NY

A German and Austrian art museum on the Upper East Side, the Neue Galerie is an offbeat alternative to the area’s more classic Met and Guggenheim. Located in a striking townhouse, this small but mighty gallery is a fantastic escape on chillier autumn days. Check out Klimt’s eminent Woman in Gold which crowns the spiral staircase, as well as Egon Schiele works and stunning objets d’art before settling into the café for a slice of Viennese sachertorte while admiring Central Park’s cascading leaves.

Metrograph

A cinema hidden deep in the Lower East Side, Metrograph is a hub for movie connoisseurs and New Yorkers looking to hole away for an afternoon. Presenting foreign films and special biopics, its offerings are rare jewels and worth looking over at least a couple of weeks in advance. There’s a French restaurant on the top floor for dinner or a drink before your showing, but make sure to leave some room for imported snacks from the highly photogenic concession stand. Olive-oil popcorn, chocolate-dipped Pocky sticks and Haribo gummy bears are all on offer.

Riverside Park

A slight deviation from the standard Central Park route, Riverside Park is an equally gorgeous place to watch the leaves light up in shades of gold and red – but with fewer tour groups to dodge. Rent a bike to explore this treasure on the Upper West Side or pack a picnic and spend the late afternoon soaking up the colours until the sun starts to dip below the adjacent Hudson.

  • +1 212 870 3070
  • 475 Riverside Drive to Hudson River
    West 72 Street to St Clair Place

TO SHOP

Ulla Johnson

Tucked away on a quiet, leafy section of Bleecker Street, Ulla Johnson’s elegant boutique is a must-visit for downtown fashionistas. The pieces lining the racks are refined and unique – you won’t see a lookalike gold chiffon dress at brunch. Comb through the selection of chunky autumnal cardigans and knit dresses in hues of saffron, ochre and burnt orange to piece together the perfect outfit for crisp mornings on the town. Accessories, from sequinned bags to leopard suede boots, are all standouts in their own right.

Credo

With plummeting temperatures and the wind whipping your face at 100km an hour, few things are a pressing in autumn as a renewed skincare routine. Credo has an abundance of all-natural, non-toxic skincare products including Tata Harper exfoliating masks and deeply hydrating lipid-barrier serums. This shop stocks cult brands such as Goop while also showcasing newbies, so stepping in here may very well lead you to your next ride-or-die product – try Ao Skincare’s Glacial Melting Cleanser or Susanne Kaufmann’s new Glow Mask.

TO DRINK

Bemelmans Bar

Nothing quite says autumn in New York like a night out at Bemelmans Bar in The Carlyle hotel. With golden walls hand-painted by Ludwig Bemelmans – the man behind the Madeline book series – the bar comes to life with adorable illustrations of rabbits and dogs sitting down to lunch or strolling through a rainy Central Park. As payment for creating the mural, the author was allowed to live at The Carlyle free of charge for a year and a half as he created his masterpiece. For a taste of old-world New York, settle into a leather booth and sip on G&Ts while listening to the soothing tunes of a live pianist.

Socialista

Along with la rentrée come all of the NYC socialites, back from summer holidays in The Hamptons and Mykonos. When they’re not getting back into the city grind – whether that’s with classes at NYU or working Fashion Week – they’re out to play at the city’s hotspots, and particularly like to unite at Socialista. A cool-kid playground atop Cipriani Downtown, this lounge is pre-revolution Cuba meets Serena and Blair grabbing cocktails. Throw on your new over-the-knee boots and head here for a chic autumn night on the town.

Gramercy Park Hotel

Following a romantic stroll around Gramercy Park (or through it, if you’re lucky enough to score a key from a local resident or the hotel), pop into GPH for a negroni sbagliato as the sun starts to set a little earlier. Once you’ve had your first cocktail, head to the Rose Bar at the back for jazz or an impromptu billiards match before an evening of dancing.

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