The fall foliage starts to show its beautiful colors in New York City around late September and early October. Typically New Yorkers like to venture to some of the more popular spots, such as Central Park, which offers a nice variation of maple and oak, as well as beautiful lake views and glimpses of the New York City skyline. Another great option is Riverside Park, which spans from 72nd to 158th Street, and mostly along the Hudson River.

But if you’d like to find a few spots that may be a bit off-the-beaten-path, then you have to travel north.

Head into the neighborhood of Washington Heights, and venture into Fort Tryon Park. The park is on 67 acres of land overlooking the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge. It is also where the Cloisters Museum is located if you want to get away from the chill. The colors against the unique landscape and the river are stunning. Its distance from the hustle and bustle of the city makes this a perfect retreat on a beautiful autumn day.

Another uptown favorite is in the neighborhood of Inwood. Inwood Hill Park sits on a little over 196 acres and represents NYC’s oldest living forest. The parks department often hosts hiking tours of the park and because of the density of the trees there, the intensity of the colors during the fall months is stunning.

In the opposite direction and all the way into Brooklyn is the equally gorgeous Prospect Park. Not only can one spend an entire day in the area, due to its wonderful zoo and proximity to the Botanical Gardens, but also because of Prospect Park itself. Its sugar maple and wonderful pond views make for a lovely visit.

Viewfinder Tip: One never really knows when the leaves will start to change. A good resource is the Fall Foliage Report for New York State, which keeps you updated and informed.

If you are feeling a bit more adventurous and don’t mind exploring outside of the city, neighboring New Jersey offers tons of trails and lots of views, not to mention none of the city rush. The easiest to get to, and closest to the city, are the trails along Henry Hudson Drive, easily accessible by bike as well.

And last but not least, consider taking in the views from the water. During this time of year many cruise lines, such as Horn Blower, offer fall foliage tours. The seasonal tours go beyond just a boat ride too. Circle Line’s Bear Mountain cruise includes a picnic at Bear Mountain, where you can spend three hours enjoying the view and lunch.

There is no doubt that the city has a lot of special spots to take in the changing season, just make sure to always take an extra sweater and a camera so that you don’t have to miss a thing.

Where is you favorite spot to take in the fall foliage?