September 23 was the official first day of autumn, which means pumpkin spice everything is everywhere, far-flung apple orchards are becoming poppin’ weekend destinations, and we’re all preparing to embrace our inner farmers at “harvest” festivals all over town. Here’s our guide to some of the best places to capture that fall feeling, even if the weather won’t cooperate
October 12 & 13
If you don’t feel like driving out to the country, no worries because the Farmers Market’s Fall Festival is bringing country vibes to the heart of L.A. Enjoy a pumpkin patch, petting zoo, arts and crafts, pie-eating contests, and lots of live music at this event. Admission is free. 6333 W. 3rd St., Fairfax.
Breathe in some not-quite-crisp fall air at Griffith Park’s annual fall extravaganza, which has a beer garden for adults, a kids zone for children, and lots of food trucks and live music, including legit Bavarian polka purveyors, Hammerstein Band. The day of fun culminates in an outdoor, after-dark screening of Disney-Pixar’s heartstring tugger, Coco. 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Griffith Park.
October 19 & 20
A fall festival for a good cause. Since 1994, the Kidspace Pumpkin Festival has operated to benefit the Kidspace Children’s Museum, thanks to Circle of Friends, which is a small group of community volunteers that helps children gain access to the arts, humanities, and sciences. Attendees will enjoy a pumpkin patch, pony rides, a petting zoo and more. Admission is free, but tickets are required for various activities; all proceeds benefit the museum’s Kidspace For All programs. 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena.
October 19 & 20
According to the folks behind the Calabasas Pumpkin Festival, sometime in the late 1700s, Juan Bautista de Anza accidentally spilled his pumpkins (aka calabazas) all over the road when his wagon overturned, thus creating the area’s first pumpkin patch. Celebrating the city’s name, the autumn obsessed can enjoy a plethora of pumpkin-related activities and food, plus live music, pie-eating contests, and a car show. Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 in person. 3701 Lost Hills Rd., Calabasas.
There’s even a fall festival for wine connoisseurs. The third annual San Antonio Winery Harvest Festival is creating an autumn wonderland to celebrate their grape harvest and the season. Tickets buy you access to a vast selection of wines and beers, samples of favorite L.A. foods, live music, a charity grape stomp, and more. 737 Lamar St., Lincoln Heights.
October 25-November 3 (Wednesdays-Sundays)
If you have a go big or go home mindset, then the Los Angeles Fall Fair is up your alley. This South El Monte-set fest is the biggest in the L.A. area, boasting 12 acres of fun, from carnival rides to an international food court. 1600 Rosemead Blvd., South El Monte.
Horse lovers, head over to the historic Glendale Riverside Rancho for some fall-time fun. The All Hallows Ghostly Gallop: Horse Parade and Fall Festival will feature equestrians dressed in costumes, while parading through the grounds on horseback. Attendees will be able to participate in a costume contest and other activities will include adopt-a-pet, pumpkin decorating, short pony-trail rides, and more. Bette Davis Picnic Area, 1850 Riverside Dr., Glendale.
Yes, Mr. Bones is a pumpkin patch, not a fall festival—but, really, there’s enough going on at the Culver City staple that it feels like a fall fest unto itself. In addition to the many lovely pumpkins for purchase or to photograph your children next to, the patch features pony rides, face painting, a petting zoo, a super slide, and more. Ticket prices vary. 10100 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City.