By Jessica Allen

This weekend marks the start of the New York Film Festival, always a highlight of the season. But you can do more than just watch great movies on Saturday and Sunday. You can also make like a knight, test your taste buds, and learn to savor a cup of Joe. We’ve cherry-picked the city’s best eating, drinking and merrymaking opportunities; all you have to do is go!

New York Film Festival
Lincoln Center
165 West 65th St.
New York, NY 10023
(212) 875-5631

Now in its 55th year, the annual New York Film Festival is probably the best, most prestigious film festival in the United States. Anything you can get tickets for is likely worth seeing, but here are some of the festival’s most anticipated movies: Todd Hayne’s Wonderstruck, Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel, Griffin Dunne’s documentary about his aunt Joan Didion, and Claire Denis’ Let the Sun Shine In. Thursday, September 28, through Friday, October 15, see schedule for details, tickets required.

Boo at the Zoo
Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10460
(718) 367-1010

Halloween is almost here! The countdown begins this weekend, when Boo at the Zoo opens for the season. On Saturdays and Sundays through October 29, the city’s ginormous zoo transforms into Halloween headquarters, replete with performances of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (plus the chance to meet and greet some of the characters), parades, magic shows, hayrides, creepy craft workshops, treat stations, and tons of pumpkins. Weekends through Sunday, October 29, tickets required.

NYC Craft Coffee
307 Kent Ave.
Brooklyn, New York 11249
(718) 782-2222

New York has become a coffee town. Nowadays the city that never sleeps really never sleeps, thanks to the delicious caffeinated brews to be had at places like Joe’s, Blue Bottle, Birch, and Cafe Grumpy’s. The NYC Craft Coffee Festival lets you sip samples from 20 carefully vetted coffee shops and roasters. Live music too. It’s totally immersive, with capped entry and timed tickets, so you’ll have ample opportunity to savor, smell, swirl, and discover. Saturday, September 30, see schedule for details and ticket info.

Chile Pepper Festival
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
150 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11225
(718) 623-7200

The 25th annual Chile Pepper Festival rolls into town on Sunday, giving you the opportunity to challenge (punish?) your tongue. Think you like it hot? What about very, very, very hot? You’ll find out by browsing the exhibitors, more than 35 restaurateurs and chefs whose sauces, jams, horseradish, and ice cream are designed to showcase the chile pepper in all its fiery glory. Concerts will be held throughout the day as well, so you can dance off some of the pain. Sunday, October 1, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., $25, tickets required.

Medieval Festival
Fort Tryon Park
Riverside Drive to Broadway
New York, NY 10040
(212) 795-1600

Calling all ye lords and ladies, lads and lasses! Go back in time this weekend at the Medieval Festival, and experience jousting (yes, really), juggling, storytelling, puppeteering, and the flapping of so very many processional flags. Will there be turkey legs? Probably so. This kid-friendly event takes place next door to the Cloisters, the Met’s museum dedicated to all things medieval (and totally worth a visit in its own right, recreating as it does an actual cloisters in Manhattan). Sunday, October 1, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., free.


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