Explore New York City

New York City's Best Socially Distant Activities

Five fun socially distant activities to do this fall in New York City.

Autumn is arguably the best time to visit New York. The dryer, cooler weather is perfect for outdoor activities. Central Park is bursting with colors from the emerging fall foliage. The city is buzzing with excitement in anticipation of all of the upcoming seasonal activities.

While many businesses are open in New York City, COVID-19 remains a reality for all of us. The good news is that there are countless enjoyable activities the Big Apple has that offer safe distancing and adhere to strict guidelines.

Embrace the Outdoors

As we leave the summer temperatures behind, spending more time outside is a great option and good for your health as well. Stray off the beaten path; discover new activities New York City has to offer during these unprecedented times. 

Take a Bike Tour

A bike tour in the fall is fantastic. The red, orange and yellow fall colors provide the perfect backdrop on the already scenic bike trails in New York. On a guided tour, one can truly experience the city’s many diverse neighborhoods at a leisurely pace and soak up historical facts about each location. 

Biking Through Parks (©Annabel Ruddle/NYC & Company) New York | WhereTraveler
Biking Through Parks (©Annabel Ruddle/NYC & Company) 

There are various tours to choose from depending on what you fancy for the day while maintaining safe distances from fellow bike riders. You can travel across the Brooklyn Bridge or take a more in-depth tour of Central Park. New York City is the city that never sleeps, so you may want to take a tour at night to take in the city’s dazzling lights. Ride past Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, iconic Times Square, and the Empire State Building on the New York at Night Bike Tour

Biking Over the Brooklyn Bridge New York | WhereTraveler
Biking Over the Brooklyn Bridge (©Lerone Pieters)

Take a Walking Tour

If getting your steps in is a priority, you are in luck. One of the best ways to explore New York is on foot. There is no better way to fully immerse yourself in its colorful sights and sounds and admire the city’s iconic sights. There is a lot to take in, and planning all of it yourself can be a bit overwhelming. A guided tour is exactly what you need. Aside from the tourist spots like Central Park, there are other unique walking tours available. 

Central Park in the Fall New York | WhereTraveler
Central Park in the Fall (©Andrea Belussi)

Take an in-depth look into the superhero and comic world on the Superhero Walking Tour of New York. You’ll be able to see where the writers and artists created your favorite characters while visiting some of the most recognizable sites in New York City. If you are a foodie or just a food lover, there are many walking food tours to try, like the Greenwich Village Food Tour done by Nice Guy Tours. You will visit top-rated restaurants and famous eateries and walk away full from the experience on the guided tour. The best part of the experience is you can maintain safe distancing on the outdoor walks.  

Shoot for the Stars

Aim high when you want to social distance this fall. Views of Manhattan from above are breathtaking and should be a staple part of sightseeing in New York. The highest observation deck is the One World Observatory located at the One World Trade Center. It was built on the ashes of the Twin Towers, and it is a powerful memorial. The 360-degree views of the city skyline are from the 102nd floor. You should also visit the oldest observation deck in New York City in the Empire State Building. There are stellar views of the Chrysler Building and skyline. 

Empire State Building New York | WhereTraveler
Empire State Building (©Neil Cooper)

Pick Some Apples

Yes, you read that right. If you live in the Big Apple or are visiting, you may as well take a bite out of it. Apple picking is a great way to kick off the fall festivities, all while maintaining a safe distance from others. Apple Dave’s Orchards is located in Warwick, only one hour and thirty minutes from New York City. There are beautiful orchards for apple-picking, walking trails and fresh apple cider donuts. Pets are welcome. Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard is one hour away from New York City. Aside from apple-picking, Harvest Moon also has a pumpkin patch. Food options include a BBQ lunch, and they serve hard cider, a drink that is a guest favorite. 

Apple Picking | WhereTraveler
Apple Picking (©Skylar Jay)

Spend Time in the Garden

Leave the crowds and the bright lights of the big city for a moment and wander into the peaceful 250-acre New York Botanical Garden located in the Bronx. It houses 50 specialty gardens and more than one million plants. It is the most extensive botanical garden in the United States and a National Historic landmark. The special exhibitions are ones not to miss. Fall exhibitions include KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, a presentation by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and New York Botanical Garden’s annual displays of pumpkin varieties. Bring your friends or family for a serene experience. 

New York Botanical Garden (©Tagger Yancey IV / NYC & Company) | WhereTraveler
New York Botanical Garden (©Tagger Yancey IV / NYC & Company)