Post Overview: Best things to do in New York City in September
For many of us September feels like one long Friday before the holiday season.
The weather is near perfect, we can practically smell the fresh apple cider waiting around the corner and the countdown to Christmas has officially begun.
And, with so many exciting things to do in New York City in September, there’s no better place to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall than the Concrete Jungle. Rooftop bars are still open for business, parks are full of life and painted green, and outdoor activities take place every weekend.
September is also a terrific time to visit NYC because the summer crowds start to thin down as people return to school and work, and the holiday hordes haven’t yet emerged.
This guide was created to highlight all the fun events happening this September in NYC that can fit into any itinerary. There is something for all ages, including both free events and events that require tickets.
So without further ado, let’s get into the best things to do in New York City this September!
Tips for Visiting NYC in September
September Weather in New York City
Anyone who is fortunate enough to visit New York City in September is in for a treat in terms of weather. The mild temperatures are pleasant, and a jacket is still not required.
Packing is made easier by warm temperatures because your wardrobe options are not limited. September in NYC is excellent since you’re not battling for your life against strong heat waves and there’s no need to drag a heavy coat around.
All this to say, NYC in September has great weather, and being outside for lengthy periods of time is enjoyable and comfortable.
Things to Do in New York City in September
Peruse the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit
The Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit (WSOAE) only happens twice a year. So if you’re searching for unique things to do in New York City in September, you’re in luck.
The event started in 1931 when an artist was hurting for funds and desperate to pay his rent. He gathered a few of his paintings and set his sights on Washington Square Park where he was hoping he’d sell them. A friend of his in a similar situation decided to join him.
Something neither of the men were expecting was to catch the attention of some big dogs in the art world such as Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (founder of the Whitney Museum of Art) and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., (Director of the Museum of Modern Art).
Fast forward to today, it’s a public event held twice a year to showcase the work of a selected few artist (chosen by a jury of fellow artists). Perusing the intricate artwork is one of the best things to do in NYC in September. It also makes for an easygoing date night.
Get the most bang for your buck during Broadway Week
Visiting New York City and not seeing a Broadway show is downright unacceptable. The amount of effort and passion poured into these plays could turn even the harshest critic into a fan. Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan of theater, you can still appreciate the sheer talent showcased in such an epic setting.
With that said, folks who find themselves looking to save a buck while visiting NYC in September, Broadway Week was made for you.
During Broadway Week you are able to purchase 2-for-1 tickets, effectively doubling the bang for your buck. And if you’re a Broadway geek (like me) this makes visiting New York City in September twice as fun!
Tickets go live August 15th and sell like hot-cakes so act fast.
Any of the plethora of events Bryant Park hosts
The park is constantly bustling with different activities and hosting multiple events throughout the entire month. There’s simply no shortage of things to do in NYC this September at Bryant Park. Don’t believe me? Check out their calendar.
Some events you can look forward to this September in NYC:
- Fall Birding Tour
- Live Piano Show
Dress your best during New York Fashion Week
The Big Apple is no stranger to high fashion and luxury shopping. Simply leaving your apartment and stepping foot outside you’re guaranteed to find inspiration on the streets of New York.
While the day to day stylings of the people of New York are pretty epic, one of the coolest things to do in NYC in September is to take it up a notch and attend New York Fashion week.
A week dedicated to bending the rules, showcasing unique designs and a it gives you reason to change out of your sweats. 😉
Expect to see fashion icons and celebrities from all across the world congregate to show-off all the best trends for the upcoming year.
There are runway shows at venues all across the city and even offer one on one shopping opportunities with the designers. If you’re into the fashion this is one of the best reasons to visit New York City in September.
Peruse the artwork at the Armory Show
The Armory Show brings modern art to New York City in spectacular fashion. The best international art galleries join forces and for a weekend provide one of the best things to do in New York City in September.
The event takes place in the Javits Center and general admission tickets start at $55. Think of it as a temporary museum that’s on tour, with a collection of art that’s unique each year.
For a full list of participating galleries you’ll want to visit the Armory Show website. There are too many to mention, and they come from Brazil to Berlin and everywhere in between!
Or gawk at the amazing photography at Photofairs
New York City is one of the most photographed cities in the entire world. The stunning architecture paired with the interesting history makes the Concrete Jungle a photographers playground.
That’s why an event like Photofairs is a great addition to our list of fun things to do in NYC this September. Showcasing impressive photo-based works, digital art and new media — it’s a place folks go to draw inspiration.
Held at the Javits Center it’s an event you won’t want to miss out on if you have even the slightest interest in photography. Tickets should be purchased in advance. You can buy a day ticket for $35 or Run of Show ticket for $90, which gets you access to all three days of the event happening this September in NYC.
The United States holds the largest global market for photography and New York is home to more than half of the world’s high-end collectors and patrons of photography, making the city the ideal location for a contemporary fair championing photo-based works and digital art.PHotofairs
Cheer on the Labor Day Parade
Labor Day is a national holiday that takes place the first Monday of every September. It’s also a day that scores of people have off, so the city trades hands: locals leave and tourists come in.
But somehow the Labor Day Parade manages to remain one of the best things to do in New York City in September. The fun floats and charming location make it a fun way to spend a sunny September NYC day.
The Labor Day Parade starts where Fifth Avenue and 44th Street meet at 10AM, running north towards Central Park.
Welcome back the NFL season with a football game
It should go without saying, New Yorkers are passionate. Passionate about their food, passionate about their neighborhoods, passionate about their sports teams.
New York has two football teams, the NY Giants and the NY Jets. Although neither have been very competitive in recent years fans are as loyal as ever.
With the football season starting back up again, one of the best things to do in NYC in September is to catch a game at a local bar, or better yet attending a game in person.
The atmosphere is contagious. Whether it’s the celebratory high fives with strangers or the colorful language used after a bad play, the experience is worth the effort when visiting New York City in the September.
The Tributes in Light
Although it’s a somber feeling, I encourage anybody who visits NYC in September to pay their respects at the 9/11 Memorial. There is no better time to do it than on the tragedy’s anniversary when twin spotlights light up the sky in tribute, all throughout the night.
The lights can be seen at a great distance so even if you can’t make your way to the actual memorial site, you can still experience the Tributes in Light.
Eat your weight in cannoli’s at the Feast of San Gennaro
The Feast of San Gennaro has been a Little Italy masterpiece for more nearly 100 years (first held in 1926), bringing together New Yorkers of all backgrounds to celebrate all things Italian.
Saint Januarius is Patron Saint of Naples, and also of Little Italy. Bless him, because in his honor Mulberry Street fills with vendors selling cannolis, Italian sausage, gelato and everything else appetizing you can think of.
Although Little Italy is no longer the Italian enclave it once was, the roots still run deep and there’s plenty of opportunities to eat and drink your fill (it wouldn’t be a real Italian party if you left hungry).
Just prepare for crowds unlike anything you can imagine. Mulberry Street is narrow as is, and during the Feast of San Gennaro more than one million folks squeeze into the neighborhood.
Stargazing on the High Line
Would you believe me if I told you that New York City offers free stargazing opportunities? That’s all thanks to the helpful members of the Amateur Astronomers Association. As one of the best free things to do in NYC in September, trust me when I tell you — you don’t want to miss out on this.
Telescopes are provided and spaced throughout the High Line, a former elevated cargo line turned beloved New York City park. You don’t have to be Neil deGrasse Tyson to enjoy the beauty of our universe thanks this incredible New York City summer activity.
This is an excellent activity for both inexperienced and expert stargazers alike because the helpful members of the association are there to assist and answer any questions.
Bonus: If you need another reason as to why visiting the High Line is one of the best things to do in New York City in September let me help you. During the warmer months the park brings in vendors that sell artwork, drinks and even ice cream. It’s a fun spot to bring the family to burn off some energy and to leave with a treat!
Enjoy the last month of Grand Banks while you can
Folk visiting New York City in September are lucky since the waterfront restaurants closes up shop October 1st and won’t return until spring of next year.
Located on Pier 25 in Tribeca, Grand Banks has caused massive waves and has gained the attention of all the bigwigs in New York City. Indeed, the waterfront restaurant has rave reviews from CNN Travel, The Observer and New York Magazine. Which only help draw in bigger crowds.
With so many eyes focused on Grand Banks, I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t let you know dining here is one of the best things to do in New York City in September. Consider this an inside scoop and make reservations now!
Fun Fact: The ship (technically it’s a schooner) is named the Sherman Zwicker and was hand-built in 1942. In fact, it’s the largest wooden vessel in New York City!
Spend the evening eating your weight in food at Smorgasburg
If you consider yourself to be a foodie, even in the slightest, one of the best things to do in New York City in September is to partake in Smorgasburg, also referred to as “The Woodstock of Eating.”
Smorgasburg is the largest weekly outdoor food market in the U.S. Vendors from all across the Big Apple pitch canopies and come together enabling you to try a variety of the city’s best cuisines all in one place.
The event is hosted in three NYC neighborhoods. On Fridays they set up shop outside the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Saturdays is the original (and most popular) location in Williamsburg Brooklyn and Sundays they’re in Prospect Park (also in Brooklyn).
With more than 60 vendors you’ll find a broad variety of eats. If you do it right you’ll have to be rolled home. Plus, the portions at Smorgasburg are usually on the smaller side, enabling you to try a plethora of options.
One of the best things to do in New York City in September is meeting up with friends and jumping from vendor to vendor trying all the delicious food.
This is one of the most popular events in New York City in September, drawing 20,000 – 30,000 visitors every weekend!
Address: Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg, World Trade Center in the Financial District and Prospect Park in Brooklyn
Immerse yourself in Hispanic Heritage Month
New York City is home to people from all over the world, and a large portion of them are Hispanic.
So if you want to learn a little about your neighbors, one of the best things to do in New York City in September is partake in Hispanic Heritage Month.
There isn’t necessarily an end all be all event or fair to commemorate the month, rather you can dip your toes into a plethora of events that celebrate the community.
You can swing by El Museo del Barrio, a museum in Spanish Harlem that focuses on Puerto Rican and Latin art and culture. Or you can catch a film at the New York Latino Film Festival (Dates TBA, usually mid-September).
But it doesn’t have to be anything that disrupts your day to day, either. Something as simple as swinging by that Hispanic mom & pop restaurant in your neighborhood is worthy, since you immerse yourself in the culture.
Cool down by kayaking on the Hudson
Kayaking on the Hudson River is a fantastic way to spend a day in New York City in September, regardless of your skill level. With a variety of locations offering both free and professional instruction, anyone can partake in this outdoor activity.
The best part? This NYC September activity is completely free! It’s good, clean fun that the whole family can be involved in. There is the ability for kids to kayak with a guardian, as well as Kayak Polo for the more competitive crowd. I can think of few better things to do during the New York City summer.
With so many available dates and times, it’s easy to add this summer activity to any NYC September itinerary. Check out the calendar here. Kayaking on the Hudson is simply a treat to experience!
Spend the evening bopping around a Night Market
Exploring a night market is one of the best things to do in New York City in September largely due to the never ending options of entertainment.
The amount of food, drinks, art and live performances right at your fingertips under the gorgeous summer skies? Insane! The weather is comfortable and with the sun setting later in the evening, don’t expect to be home before bedtime.
Everyone has heard of bar hopping, but have you ever heard of vendor hopping? That’s exactly where you can find me whenever the Uptown Night Market is up and running on the Upper West Side. This is one of the best things to do in NYC in September if you’re into trying a little bit of everything.
Enjoy authentic savory food or chilled sweet treats, catch whatever live performance is happening and soak in the the beauty that is night time in New York City.
Visit The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for free
Home to a remarkable collection of military vessels of the sea and sky, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City is a must-see for any military enthusiast or history buff.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is considered one of the 10 best aviation museums in the world, reason alone to visit. Fortunately visiting is one of the best free things to in New York City in September thanks to Free Fridays.
During the event the Intrepid Museum extends its hours and is open, free of charge from 5 to 9PM on the last Friday of each month, April through September.
More than 1 million visitors per year choose to visit this important New York City museum to explore the exciting collection and you get to do it for free! Expect to find authentic WWII fighter planes, aircraft carriers, a submarine used during the Cold War, a supersonic jet and the NASA space shuttle Enterprise.
The event is especially one of the best things to do in New York City in September with kids. I was able to take my nephew to the museum last year who was wide-eyed during our entire visit!
Attend the U.S. Open
Even casual sports fans have heard of the US Open. It’s the final tennis Grand Slam tournament of the year and has been hosted at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York since the 1970’s.
In 2022 the sum of all the prize money awarded was over $57 million, making it the largest pot in the Open’s history. If you have plans to visit NYC in September, don’t forget to grab tickets in advance for the US Open.
Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster and go live on June 5th. From the 34th St-Penn Station terminal you can take the LIRR for 25 minutes to the Tennis Center and enjoy the competition from August 28th to September 10th.
Few sporting events are as epic as the US Open, making it a great thing to do in New York City during September.
Address: Flushing Meadow – Corona Park, Flushing, NY 11368
Celebrate the annual German-American Steuben Parade
Fun fact: Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was a German (technically Prussian) born founding father of America. Here’s another: Attending the Steuben Parade is one of the best things to do in New York City in September.
The parade was first organized in 1957 by New Yorkers of German ancestry who wanted to keep their heritage alive.
Since then it’s been held on the third Saturday of September, with locals of both German and non-German heritage cheering it on.
Numerous organizations of note march annually in the German-American Steuben Parade, including the German Society of the City of New York (which was founded by von Steuben himself).
And the parade is one of the best family-friendly events in September in New York City. The fun floats and traditional garb provide more than enough entertainment for curious littles.
The German-American Steuben Parade starts on Fifth Avenue (parallel to Central Park) on 68th Street, running until 86th Street. It begins at 12 noon and is expected to run about three hours.
Embrace the first day of autumn with fall activities
Date: Sept. 23rd, 2023
This list of fun things to do in NYC in September would be incomplete without including the first day of fall. The season that many of us look forward to, and let’s be honest, some of us start a countdown after the Fourth of July.
Anyone in town on September 23rd can officially claim to have seen NYC in the fall. While the trees haven’t yet turned and the weather is still warm, the Fall Equinox is here!
As a result, one of the best things to do in NYC in September is to celebrate the start of a new season by participating in any fall activity you can think of. You can walk through Central Park and try to spot changing trees.
Or kick off the season with a light sweater and hot chocolate in hand. Maybe check out the locals farmer market for some fresh apple cider and donuts? Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, just know the best season for visiting NYC is right around the corner.
Further Reading: Need some suggestions on how to kick off the fall season? Here are 35+ festive autumn activities to do in NYC.
Celebrate National Pancake Day
There are few better ways to start your morning than with a warm, fresh stack of fluffy pancakes. The ultimate breakfast dish can be made savory or sweet allowing the options of toppings to be endless.
One of the best things to do in NYC this September is to go around the city eating your weight in pancakes. And let me tell you something, New York City is no stranger to creating some downright delicious flapjacks.
While there are so many great restaurants to choose from, I’ll save you some time and give you a rundown of the best places to visit in NYC this September.
- Bubby’s (the sourdough pancakes are amazing!)
- Clinton St. Baking Company
- Rule of Thirds
If you have more time, check out our guide on 10 Perfected Pancakes in New York City (You Need to Try!).
Enjoy rooftop bars while you can
That’s why rooftop bars make for a great evening activity when looking for fun things to do in NYC in September. Cocktails seem to go down easier, vibes seem to be higher and the sun setting over the city seems a little more magical.
In the land of skyscrapers and dreams, finding a decent rooftop bar in New York City won’t be too difficult. But if you need some guidance, here is a quick round up of some of the best rooftop bars to enjoy this September in NYC.
- Mr. Purple | 180 Orchard St 15th floor, New York, NY 10002
- Time Out Market | 55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
- Westlight | 111 N 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
- Dear Irving | 55 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003
- The Ready Rooftop | 112 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003
Need more suggestions on which rooftop bars are worth visiting in New York City in September? We are currently working on a roundup of the best. Until then check out 10 Tasty Lower East Side Rooftop Bars (You Won’t Want to Miss).
Plan a sunset picnic in the city
It’s the last month of consistently warm weather that’s both comfortable and enjoyable. And there’s no better way to wrap up the summer season than by sprawling out on a blanket enjoying a bite.
This is also one of the most affordable things to do in NYC in September since you can keep things simple. Now the question stands which park is the best?
If at all helpful, I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorite parks to sit and people-watch for hours.
- Central Park
- Bryant Park
- Domino Park
- Little Island
- Riverside Park
Need more suggestions? Check out 15 ICONIC New York City Parks You Can’t Afford to Miss.
Catch a performance on the Rooftop at Pier 17
As if Pier 17 wasn’t already enticing enough with its magnificent views of Brooklyn, during the summer months the Rooftop at Pier 17 hosts outdoor concerts too.
Folks visiting NYC in September can purchase tickets to see notable performers put on a show with the epic city skyline as their backdrop. The atmosphere is electric and the September weather makes the event that much more enjoyable.
Since this is a popular event that takes place in NYC in September, tickets sell quickly. Check out the full lineup here and purchase tickets as soon as you can.
Some performances to see this September in NYC:
- Tove Lo | September 10th, 2023
- Tate McRae | September 19-20th, 2023
- Mackelmore | September 22nd, 2023
Explore Coney Island
As we’re slowly gearing up for fall, September is the last chance to take advantage of the high of summer. And what better way to spend a day in NYC this September than by going to Coney Island!
Coney Island’s famed amusement parks and beaches are hot commodities during the warmer months. You can spend an entire day eating delicious food and riding some fun rides and still be itching to come back for more.
That’s why one of the most entertaining things to do in NYC this September is to gather all your friends and make way to Coney Island in Brooklyn one last time before the holiday season.
This vibrant neighborhood holds a lot of history and has fun things to do for all ages. Peruse the boardwalk and see if you can win a prize playing a carnival game or ride the nearly 100 year old wooden roller coaster named the Cyclone.
Catch a Yankees Game
Located in the Bronx, Yankee Stadium is accessible by subway and tickets can be found for as little as $10 depending on the game. With a whopping 162 games played every season, there’s a plethora of both weekday and weekend games to choose from if you’re looking for things to do in NYC this September.
Whether you love them or hate them, the New York Yankees are icons of both American sports as well as NYC.
This year the Yankees are one of the best teams in Major League Baseball, meaning every team they play against is hoping to bring them down. The intensity of every game will have the crowd fully engaged making this one of the best things you can do this September in New York City.
Address: 1 E 161 St, Bronx, NY 10451
September Festivals in New York City
Electric Zoo Music Festival
Any EDM (electronic dance music) fans out there? If so, Electric Zoo Music Festival is one of the best events happening in NYC in September. It’s the premier rave in New York City, bringing more than 100,000 people annually to Randall’s Island for a star-studded lineup of DJs. Tickets and lineups, and schedules are available online.
Rock out at SummerStage Festival
SummerStage’s music varies in genre, so make sure to check the calendar to see who is performing before heading to the park. The event gets lively with people of all different generations and backgrounds. It’s a great way to spend your time if you’re looking for things to do in New York City in September.
Anyone visiting NYC in September with kids needs to make time to check out the Superhero Festival put on by the New York State of Mind (NYSoM) organization.
Hosting their 6th annual Superhero Festival, both adults and kids can partake in the fun. Expect to find your favorite superhero walking around for a photo op, activities and games setup and most importantly the create-your-own-superhero station.
The festival takes place this September in NYC at Evergreen Park out in Queens. It’s an event the whole family can enjoy and it’s completely free.
Partake in Summer on the Hudson
Summer on the Hudson is an annual festival put on by NYC Parks in collaboration with the Riverside Park Conservancy. There are endless activities all summer long to partake in for both kids and adults alike so adding this to your NYC itinerary during September is a no-brainer.
The activities include things like movie showings, musical performances and Tai-Chi lessons. There’s a full PDF schedule available for you to survey the options and choose which you’d like to participate in. Luckily all the fun events that take place on the Hudson are free and easy to join.
If scheduling isn’t your style and you’re more go with the flow consider following Summer on the Hudson’s social media pages. This way you’ll get consistent reminders as to that day’s activities. September in NYC has never been more eventful!
Some events to look forward to this September in New York City:
- Yoga: Thursdays in September
- Bingo: Fridays in September
- Dance Aerobics: Saturdays in September
- Sun Gaze: September 24th
- Birding Tour: September 8th
- Game Night: September 8th
- West Side County Fair: September 10th
Curtains Up Broadway Festival
Curtains Up Broadway Festival is a three day event that takes place in NYC in September. Multiple performances from an array of Broadway shows are showcased live, right in the heart of Times Square.
Theater fans come together and enjoy a plethora of free events and activities as well as the stunning performances in the middle of the fast-paced neighborhood. It’s one of the best free events happening ing NYC in September.
New York Film Festival
Date: Sept. 29th – Oct. 15th, 2023
Although the New York Film Festival (NYFF) doesn’t start until the tail-end of the month, if you’re visiting NYC in September you should still try to get tickets for a really cool experience.
The NYFF takes place at the Lincoln Center and annually showcases the best films to hit the big screen. Both low and high budget films are screened, and it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
Individual tickets or passes can be purchase (the earlier you buy them, the cheaper they’ll be). Tickets and the 2023 lineup can be found here.