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Autumn in New York really is as magical as the song makes it out to be. When the sweat of summer washes away, the air is crisp, the leaves are spectacular and there’s a sort of leisurely feel to the shortening days. All this makes fall the most coveted (and expensive) time to visit, right?
Wrong. While January through March is the cheapest season for hotel rates and flights, things are still downright affordable in the fall—with the added bonus that the weather is far preferable. Here are 6 reasons to visit New York in the fall.
As the temperature drops in New York, so do the airfares. A recent search for Thursday to Sunday airfares from San Francisco to New York yielded tickets hovering around $550 at the end of August and then dropping below $400 in September. Other cities showed similar trends, with airfare dropping anywhere from $20 to $150 between the end of August and the middle of November. Note, though,that your window is small: Fares will spike again at Thanksgiving and remain high through the holidays.
Because so many of New York’s major attractions are best seen while strolling through the city, pleasant weather can make a huge difference in a trip. Fall is that sweet spot sandwiched between summer’s mugginess and winter’s bitter chill, and its moderate weather make it a joy to explore, whether you’re leaf-peeping in Central Park or strolling through the West Village.
Like airfares, hotel rates also take a dip after the summer rush. A recent search found that a double room at the stylish Ameritania Hotel near Time Square costs $404 a night at the end of August, and throughout the fall runs between $300 and $350, dropping as low as $221 in mid-November. Keep in mind, though, that there will be a shocking spike during Fashion Week (in early September) and again over Thanksgiving weekend, although there are some deals for Turkey Day.
After the summer throngs had returned to school and work and real life, New York suddenly feels a whole lot calmer. True, the streets are still crowded, but somehow it feels like you have a lot more space. Plus, crowds at the most famous attractions will be smaller too.
The number of free sights in New York does not necessarily expand in the fall, but the viability of hitting them all is proportional to the weather: The more comfortable the temps are, the easier it is to be outside. Thus, while in summer and winter you may be more inclined to seek air conditioning or heat indoors (quests that often involve paying for a drink or museum ticket), during the fall you can save on food, entertainment and transportation since it’s easier to wander between attractions and taking in the city’s myriad beautiful parks.
Between pumpkins, technicolor leaves and all things apple, fall has a cozy yet vibrant feeling that can’t be beat. And everything from Central Park to the Union Square farmer’s market catches the fever.