This post has the lo-down on the top 10 things to do in New York City in September. In fact, we have more than just 10 things to do because September is a great time to visit New York City. Summer is winding down, but it’s still warm enough for lots of outdoor fairs and festivals. Fewer tourists means more room for you to join the locals in some annual favorite events. There is dancing and eating in the streets and tennis balls and baseballs in the stadiums! The weather in NYC in September is just right for walking and exploring the city, whether on your own or with us on one of our pay-what-you-wish tours. Be sure to check out our master post, “Things to Do in NYC“, for more ideas.
TIP: If you are looking to save money on attractions, think about getting a tourist pass. For some help deciding, read our post “Which is the best tourist pass?”
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER
It’s hard to pick only 10 things to do in the busy month of September. So we’ve got 10 goodies for you and then some more! Lots of free festivals, fairs, family-friendly events and a LOT of eating! Loosen up your belt buckle for our top pick: the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy.
1. San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy September 14 – 24 FREE
After 90 years, this Festival is still going strong, attracting a million people over the course of 11 days every September. Mulberry Street, the heart of Little Italy, will be the host of parades and religious processions celebrating Italian heritage. There’ll be carnival rides, live music, and more Italian street food than you have ever seen on one place.
2. September 11th Memorial Site viewing of Tribute in Light September 11 FREE
While this is a solemn day in New York City, the Tribute in Light is an inspired tribute to the victims of the tragedy. From dusk through dawn, two majestic (and massive) blue beams of light are projected into the sky and can be seen from as far as 60 miles away. The Memorial Plaza is closed on 9/11 to the public until 3 pm when you can pay your respects and also see the Tribute in Light from a different perspective.
Get two tickets for the price of one, or get upgraded seats for select shows. Not all shows participate and tickets are subject to availability. There are also some blackout dates. TIP: If you don’t have any luck getting two-for-one deals see our detailed post on How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets. Also there is a lot to do in the Broadway district. We have at Broadway Theater District Tour and we also created a self-guided tour you can use.
The Smithsonian offers the chance for you and one guest to get free admission to designated museums around New York State. You have to get your ticket +1 online; tickets will be available beginning at midnight on Friday, August 25, 2017. For a list of participating museums and to get tickets click here. One of the best deals is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum which normally costs $25 and up. If you cannot get tickets for the Intrepid, see our post on how to get discount tickets.
TIP: For a list of museums that are free or almost free year-round, click here.
See the top-seeded tennis players in the world at one of the most exciting annual tennis matches. Favorites like Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be there. Click here to get tickets. The Open is held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens.
Fun Fact: Flushing is the 2nd largest Chinatown in New York City! So where is the largest Chinatown in NYC? Well, no, it ISN’T in Manhattan; it is actually in Brooklyn in Sunset Park. But the original Chinatown in Manhattan is still our favorite. Join us for one of our pay-what-you-like Chinatown tours.
Known by locals as the Antic, this is one of the biggest and oldest street fairs in New York City. Going on its 43rd year, the Antic is not your average street festival. The blend of the communities in the surrounding neighborhoods offer you the chance to try foods of different cultures – Middle Eastern food dominates, followed by Jamaican and African food and then lots of deserts by local shops. Look for the Key Lime Pie truck – they are the best in the city. A heads up, it is quite crowded, but one of the best behaved crowds in NYC!
The Antic is on a Sunday and is located in Brooklyn Heights along Atlantic Avenue. We just happen to offer our pay what you like Brooklyn Heights Tour on Sundays at 2 pm. The Antic and a walking tour make for a pretty good day in Brooklyn!
In 1984, in a small enclave in Midtown Manhattan known as “Little Brazil”, the first Brazilian Day was held. It celebrated Brazil’s Independence Day from Portugal. There will be free entertainment including popular Brazilian musicians and vendors serving up traditional Brazilian Food. TIP: Combine a visit to this unique celebration with one of our Midtown Manhattan or Central Park tours! You can also spend some time in Hell’s Kitchen to the west of Little Brazil. Use our self-guided map to find your way around.
It’s hot, hot, hotwith the colorful, flavorful and lively parade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. There will be floats with fantastic dancers shaking their stuff to the sounds of Caribbean culture. You will hear a lot of Calypso, Reggae and steel drums. Grab a Tamarind juice and a Beef Patty.
TIP: If you do not like crowds, you should skip this event. It is known to get a bit rowdy. If you want to savor the flavors of the Caribbean in a more subdued manner, try our Flatbush Brooklyn Food Tour.
For decades, the streets surrounding Washington Square Park have been the home to this art show with more than 100 artists displaying their works. You’ll see lots of NYC-themed and affordable original paintings and sketches. Combine your visit to the exhibit with one of our Greenwich Village Tours.
Located in East River State Park in Brooklyn, this is an annual food festival showcasing North Brooklyn’s local purveyors of great food. This outdoor event fills up an entire street block. You can try samples from over 40 of the neighborhood’s best restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries. There will be live entertainment as well!
TIP: Though the festival is accessible by subway, a nicer way to get out to this part of town is by taking the amazing East River Ferry which costs the same as the subway but is a much prettier view. If you aren’t able to make this event, check out our Williamsburg Food Tour! Since we love New York City food so much, we have a whole range of pay-what-you-like food tours (cost of food not included). Join us on one!
Here are some of our food related posts to guide you to the best of yummy NYC!
New York City is also known as the City that Never Sleeps, and for good reason. There are no shortages of things to do in the Big Apple after the sun goes down. We have summarized a few of the things to do in September below, but do check out more ideas on our main things to do in NYC at night post.
At the city’s landmark Botanical Garden an exciting exhibit of works by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly is being held. Twenty installations —from his serpentine White Tower with Fiori to the otherworldly celestial Sapphire Star— are illuminated and spaced throughout the garden which is quite amazing on its own! Architectural Digest loves this exhibit, and you probably will too!
Children (2–12): $18
Children under 2: Free
Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge can be walked over 24 hours a day. We definitely do not recommend you taking a 4 am stroll. But a sunset stroll or a walk at 9 pm when the sun is down and the city is sparkling is a one of a kind experience.
For those who want some guidance to enjoy the Bridge when the sun goes down, join us for our combined 911 Memorial and Brooklyn Bridge Night Tour. It runs Tuesday, Fridays and Sundays at 7:30 pm from March through October.
Take a walking tour (pay-what-you-like)
New York is really two cities – one by day and a very different one by night. September is a great time to take a night walking tour. You’ll need a sweater or light jacket, but it will be comfortable weather and you’ll catch the city as it turns from day into night. We offer night tours and you can see what is available in September by looking at our full calendar.
Our September’s free event recommendations are all outdoors. That’s because September temperature is comfortable and many outdoor activities are still open to the public. Governors Island has expanded its season until the end of September, local boathouses offer kayaking until the end of the month and the Staten Island Ferry has fewer tourists. For even more free activities, see our Guide to Free Things to Do in NYC.
Free Kayaking at Pier 26 FREE
Yes. You really can go kayaking in New York City. Better still, it’s free. The Downtown Boathouse offers kayaks for public use that you can take out onto to the water in an enclosed area of the Hudson River. First, you will receive brief instructions and then be given all necessary safety equipment. They have changing rooms, lockers and locks, bike locks, sun block, and first aid equipment. How can you possibly beat that!
This video pretty much says it all. A ride on the ferry gives you outstanding view of NY Harbor, Lower Manhattan, Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn. Many people don’t think about taking that free ferry ride at night! Since the ferry runs 24 hours a day, you can take a lovely evening ride and see a very different skyline as it is lit up and glistening. Our guide to the Staten Island Ferry will tell you everything you need to know to have great ferry ride and you can always stay in Staten Island and take a self-guided tour.
Visit Governors Island
With the season expanded until September 30th this is a must-do in September. This small island just 4 minutes away from Lower Manhattan is reached by a $2 ferry. Read our post on Governor’s Island that explains how to get to there and what there is to do on the island. You can kayak, ride bikes, see art, and even play MINI-GOLF! What could possibly be more fun than playing a round of mini-golf with Lady Liberty watching nearby! This video from The Today Show gives you a preview of what you can expect. (If you want to see a live taping of The Today Show, see our guide to Seeing a Live TV Show Taping.)
TIP: Why not combine your visit to Governors Island or your ride on the Staten Island Ferry with one of these great Lower Manhattan activities:
We have many different tours of Lower Manhattan to cater to different interests and schedules. For our complete list, visit our page Lower Manhattan Tours.
Many of the events listed above are family-friendly, such as the Atlantic Antic, visiting Governors Island, going to the San Gennaro Festival and taking advantage of Museum Day, here are two more just for the kids (or the kid inside you!)
Every year, the New York Transit Museum brings out vintage buses dating back as long as the 1930s. Several models of buses from different eras will line Boerum Place in Brooklyn. You can board the buses and take a ‘ride’ back in time. Sit down, relax and check out the old advertisements from the 1960s. Think Mad Men. Better still, the Transit Museum is only $1! Located Boerum Place between State Street & Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights. The Atlantic Antic mentioned above will be taking place the same day. – two for one fun. Round it out by joining us on one of our pay what you like Brooklyn Heights Tour on Sundays at 2 pm.
This free parade along the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk is a celebration of the community with people participating in making floats, wearing costumes and displaying art. The beach is right there and it should be warm enough for the kids to dip their toes in the ocean. If taking the subway, use this link for exact directions from your point of departure. TIP: There is now ferry service from Wall Street to Rockaway and it’s the same price as the subway. This parade is a great excuse to take a great and very cheap ferry ride. See our post about the East River Ferry.