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The Best Places to Spot Fall Foliage in NYC

Being nicknamed the "Concrete Jungle," you wouldn't expect to find beautiful scenes of autumn foliage in New York City... but you'd be surprised! A few hidden gems remain in the actual city, and even more red, orange, and yellow-adorned views can be accessed all around its borders. The summer may be too hot, and the winter too cold, but the fall in NYC is just right. Toss in some magical foliage with all its colorful leaf shows, and you've got yourself a paradise right in the heart of New York City.

Best of NYC Foliage: Fort Tryon Park (Washington Heights) 

Figured you could never catch 20 miles of foliage in your sight while hanging out on the island? Think again, because Fort Tryon Park offers one of the highest points in Manhattan, and come the fall, you can see mile upon mile of red, orange, and copper foliage along the Hudson River Palisades across the water. The park itself also has its fair share of vivid colors, with large selections of perennials growing in the Heather Garden. 1 Margaret Corbin Dr., 212-795-1388, forttryonparktrust.org

Best of NYC Foliage: New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)

New York Botanical Garden

Image: Kristine Paulus/Flickr

It probably doesn't surprise you that the New York Botanical Garden makes this list, but considering that it's composed of 250 acres, you might not know where to start. While you're bound to get an eyeful no matter what part of the park you're exploring, the Thain Family Forest should be your go-to. Containing the city's largest area of old-growth forest and a wide array of species (oaks, maples, sweet gums, and tulip trees), color abounds in these parts during the late autumn. 2900 Southern Blvd., 718-817-8700, nybg.org

Best of NYC Foliage: New York Water Taxi Fall Foliage Cruises (Hudson River)

Head out from Pier 16 on a New York Water Taxi Fall Foliage Cruise, and make sure you bring your camera. Every autumn NY Water Taxi sets off on remarkable day-trips up north through the Hudson River Valley, providing riders with spectacular views of coastal foliage. The cruises also include lunch, a wine tasting, raffle prizes, and complimentary cider, coffee, and tea options. South Street Seaport, Pier 16, 212-742-1969, nywatertaxi.com 

Best of NYC Foliage: Central Park (Upper Manhattan)

Central Park

Image: Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Central Park is a jaw-dropper no matter what season it is, but during the weeks of late October and early November, it's an unforgettable sight. Nothing can beat the intensely colored acreage with the skyscraper background that surrounds it. Some of our favorite foliage spots in the park include the Conservatory Water, the Ramble, and the North woods, featuring oaks, red maples, black cherry trees, and elms. Central Park, 212-310-6600, centralparknyc.org

Best of NYC Foliage: Circle Line Bear Mountain Cruise (Hudson River & Bear Mountain)

Bear Mountain

Circle Line's Bear Mountain Cruise is a full-day affair, with approximately 2.5 hours spent cruising up and down the Hudson River and 3 hours devoted to exploring Bear Mountain Park. Along with taking in all of New York's breathtaking foliage both by land and sea, you can enjoy an Oktoberfest menu while aboard the cruise. Live German Oom-pah and Polka bands also perform on every cruise. Pier 83, W. 42nd St., 212-563-3200, circleline42.com 

Best of NYC Foliage: Van Cortlandt Park (Bronx)

Van Cortlandt Park

Image: Steven Pisano/Flickr

Coming in at over 1000 acres, Van Cortlandt Park is an ideal hangout for those trying to experience the beauty of a New England autumn. There are an estimated 80,000 trees, ranging from hickory to sweet gum and maple to oak, and they're rich in colors during peak foliage season. Meander down a walking trail or take a stroll through one of many fields that this park has to offer, and be ready to be amazed. 80 Van Cortlandt Park S., 718-601-1553, vancortlandt.org

Best of NYC Foliage: Prospect Park (Brooklyn)

Prospect Park is Brooklyn's pride and joy, and with good reason, especially during the fall. Sassafras, sour gum, and elms can be found around the entire 526 acres, and any picture you take from inside the park will look like a postcard. Red maples and sugars can also be spotted surrounding the park's lake, and their orange and red leaves will leave you wishing this season would never end. 95 Prospect Park W., 718-965-8951, prospectpark.org

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