Fall Things to Do

Although it is obvious that I love summer... I must admit, fall is my favorite season of all.  And autumn in Austin really can't be beat.  The chilly mornings, warm afternoons, clear skies and crisp air!!  

There are also lots of festivals and events in Austin during this time.  I haven't made it to all of them, but if you're looking for something special to do, here is a good list of what is going on!

● Austin Museum Day
September 20

Since 1998, the Austin Museum Partnership has hosted Austin Museum Day – a free, city-wide rediscovery of Austin museums.   

The day provides families with a unique opportunity to access the dynamic museum community including local exhibits and activities at over 40 participating institutions at no charge!

Admission:  Free!

● Old Pecan Street Festival
September 26 and 27

The Pecan Street Festival is a FREE, bi-annual arts and crafts festival held on historic 6th Street every first weekend in May and every last weekend in September.

The show proudly features over 275 artisan vendors from all over the world who display and sell homemade art and craft work."

Admission:  Free!

● Fall Fun Harvest at Sweet Berry Farms
September 26 - November 8 - Closed Wednesdays

No pets allowed only cash or checks accepted
This is one of our all time favorite fall activities.  We have been doing it since the boys were very small.  There is something for everyone at this event.  Paint your pumpkins, stuff a scarecrow, go on a tractor ride, feed the goats or pick flowers

Our favorite is the Texas Corn Maze.  This is a huge maze, and you must find all the cities within the maze.  It can take up to 45 minutes to finish. Split into groups and see who is fastest!

Don't miss the freshly made pumpkin ice cream!!

Admission is free, however activities cost between $2.50 and $7 plus the cost of a pumpkin.  To participate in all events would be $40 per child... but we've never done that!  Pick and choose and you'll spend around $20 per kid..

● Barton Hills Farm Fall Festival and Corn Maze in Bastrop
Weekends September 26 - November 8th

"Barton Hill Farms is set among 100-year-old cottonwood trees, rolling grassy hills and the picturesque Colorado River. Our Fall Festival & Corn Maze is the perfect setting to let your kids enjoy true outdoor entertainment, including rides, games, a corn maze, pumpkin patch, local vendors and farm animals."

Admission: $10 (11 and up), children (3 to 10):  $7 plus $5 for an all access pass

● Bug Night out at the Wildflower Center
October 2nd 
Enjoy a rare opportunity to see the Wildflower Center at night and explore the many insects in our gardens! Come early and enjoy a bug-themed dinner in our Café and then stay for one of our guided flashlight tours. You can also explore the gardens on your own, but don’t forget to bring your own flashlight (the Store will be closed). We’ll also have several mercury light stations, which attract some of the coolest critters of the night! Family-friendly. 6 – 9 p.m

● Austin City Limits
October 2nd - 4th and 9 - 11th

ACL Festival takes place on 46-acres in Zilker Park, the crown jewel of Austin’s public green spaces.

It plays host not only to 130+ artists from across the globe, but amazing local eats and wares, free fun for the kiddos, green goings-on, and other cool activities to entertain you between sets! Scroll down to see the Austin Eats Food Court, ACL Art Market, ACL Cares and Austin Kiddie Limits partners appearing at Zilker Park during both weekends of ACL Festival 2013!

● Science Under the Stars
Thursday, October 8th at 8pm at  Brackenridge Field Laboratory

Plant Defenses: Attack From All Sides
Plants are vital to our existence on earth. They are the backbone of any habitat It’s easy to forget that they are living organisms that struggle against many of the same pressures as us, such battling viruses and avoiding predators.  In this talk, we will explore the diverse ways that plants cope with pathogens and predators–and how some of them are important to humans for agriculture and medicine.

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series. Arrive early for refreshments and fun activities for kids of all ages! Guided tours of the field lab are available (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!

● Boo at the Zoo
Fridays and Saturdays: October 9-10, 16-17, and 23-24 and 30
6:30pm - 9pm

This fun event allows kids to view animals after regular Zoo hours. Pack a picnic and put your little ones in their costumes for a fun-filled train ride full of animals and ghosts( who pass out candy)!  

Younger children can take the earlier train rides, when it is still light outside. Bring a flashlight to better see the animals.

Boo at the Zoo is the Austin Zoo's annual fall fundraiser benefiting rescued animals. 

Admission:  $15

● Haunted Halloween: Grimm's Ghostly Fairy Tales
Fridays and Saturdays: October 9-10, 16-17, and 23-24   7-10pm
We did this last year and my boys had a really good time!  

This year's theme will be "Grimm's Ghostly Tales," featuring three separate spooky trails each night — one for young children (amusing, rated G), another for those who want spooky surprises (rated PG) and a scary, scary trail for the adventurous (frights galore, rated PG-13).

  Spook lights, ghoulish stories, pumpkins, food, drinks and souvenirs promise to add to the fun. Palm readers and fortunetellers will be on site all nights to give visitors a peek into their past or future.

Admission: $12

● Texas Renaissance Festival
Weekends - October 10 - November 29
Another long drive from Austin (about 2 and a half hours).  But this is a fun event that every family should try at least once!

This year, I am hoping we get a chance to try spending the night at the "Fields of New Market" campground with its communal bonfire!

"The enchanted 55-acre village comes to life as all of Europe comes to pay homage to the King and Queen with Eight Themed Weekends.  Hundreds of costumed performers are showcased in over 200 daily performances.  Visitors meander along shaded cobblestone walkways visiting almost 400 shoppes overflowing with unique arts and crafts of offering delicious foods and beverages.  "

Admission: $26 for adults and $13 for children

● Fall Family Fun Festival at Crowe's Nest Farm
October 10, 17, 24, 31  1am - 6pm
Bring the entire family for a fabulous day of wholesome fun:
Hayrides, cow milking, animal shows, FaerieWood, pumpkin patch, homemade foods and crafts, and so much more!

● Austin Mediterranean Festival
October 16
With lines of Greek dancers yelling “Opa,” and with yummy tastes of Mediterranean specialties like baklava, gyros and shish kabob, Austin’s Mediterranean Festival makes its 81st annual appearance. The outdoor festival of Mediterranean culture will take place on the grounds of St. Elias Orthodox Church on 11th Street between Red River and Trinity, just east of the Texas State Capitol. 

● Texas Book Festival
October 17 - 18
The Texas Book Festival celebrates authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. 

The signature event has evolved into one of the premier literary events in the country and takes place in and around the State Capitol in Austin, hosting more than 250 authors each year. More than 40,000 book lovers of all ages attend the Festival annually, enjoying author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, cooking demonstrations, live music, local food, vendors from across the state, children's activities, YA authors, and purchasing books in the Festival's tents. 

Admission:  Free

● Dia de Los Muertos at Fiesta Gardens
Saturday, Oct 17
This unique festival features a full day Dia los Muertos cultural experience with live music, performances, art, costume contest, food and drink. The festival brings together a dynamic blend of the Austin musical landscape with vibrant Dia de los Muertos traditions. 

Proceeds will benefit Easter Seals Central Texas’ mission of providing exceptional services to people with disabilities."

● Art Outside
October 22 - 25
Art Outside is a unique three day festival combining visual and interactive art, performance, film, as well as a wide range of music bridging genres, from bluegrass to experimental, hip-hop to dance music. Art Outside started with the idea to bring art out of the gallery and into a unique setting where different forms of art can connect and be enjoyed by all.

Art Outside - Folk it Up StageThe festival takes place at Apache Pass.  This site features hundreds of acres of grassy camping areas and lush pecan trees scattered throughout.

Admission:  Single Day passes range from $30 - $50, a full pass is $90

● Texas Clay Festival in New Braunfels
October 24 & 25
Featuring the work of over 60 Texas potters and clay artists, the festival offers the opportunity to view and purchase a wide variety of pottery, from traditional to sculptural by the top clay artist in the state. 

Take this unique opportunity to watch and learn as demonstrations are held in four tents throughout both days. From forming on the potters wheel to hand-building to raku firing, there is something for everyone.

Admission:  Free

● Pumpkin Sculpting Competition at Umlauf Garden
October 25
"Bring your own pumpkin and carving tools to the gardens today for a workshop on pumpkin sculpting followed by an intense round of judging for their annual competition!

Last year categories included: Best Effort by an Adult, Most Likely to Disintegrate Today, Most Likely to Make it to 2013, Classiest Display, and of course Spookiest Sculpture!

Admission: Free when you bring your own pumpkin!

● Austin Symphony's Halloween Children's Concert
Sunday, October 25 at 4pm
It’s creepy, crawly and so much fun it’s spooky! Your little ghost or goblin will help haunt Long Center’s Dell Hall for the Austin Symphony’s annual Halloween Children’s Concert. This exciting concert features frightfully fun symphonic music that is stimulating for young eyes and ears (ages 2–10). The entire family is invited to dress up in their favorite costume and enjoy “boo-tiful” music with their Austin Symphony Orchestra!

Admission: $12 adults, $8 children

● Movies in the Park: Beetlejuice
Thursday, October 29 at 7pm
What better way to get in the mood for Halloween than watching Beetlejuice with your family! (This is one of my *favorite* movies!!!)

Movies in the Park is a series of free films brought to you by the Austin Parks Foundation, and presented by the #1 movie theater in America, the Alamo Drafthouse.

Dogs, picnics, and lawn chairs are welcome. Alcoholic beverages, glass and styrofoam are not permitted in the park. 

Admission:  Free

● Thinkery21 - Murder in the Museum
Thursday, October 29 at 7-10pm
Who killed one of the Thinkery’s staff members? Try to solve the case using crime scene investigation techniques.

Tickets are $20

● Bob Bullock Spooktacular
Friday, October 30
Explore the Bullock after hours at this family-friendly Halloween extravaganza, featuring performances, games, interactive activities, art, and more.

This year's program will introduce children and their families to Texas "creepy crawlies" through activities and special screenings of Flight of the Butterflies in the IMAX Theatre. Get hands-on with spooky science from Girlstart and show off your Halloween costume for a special prize.

● Wizard World Comic Con Austin
November 30 - 31
Join tens of thousands of fans as they converge at Wizard World Comic Con Austin to celebrate the best in pop culture. Wizard World Comic Con Austin brings it all - Movies, Comics, Toys, Video Gaming, Games, TV, Anime, Manga, Horror, Wrestling, MMA, Original Art, Collectibles & More! Wizard World Comic Con Austin is brought to you by the group who produces the most widely attended Comic Con tour! 

Tickets starting at $45

● Lost Maples Campground in Vanderpool Texas
Late October - Early November

This is a bit for from Austin - a little under a 3 hour drive.  But I've heard that some of the prettiest fall foliage around can be found in Lost Maples Campground. 

The park can receive over 1,800 visitors in a weekend.  So pack your hiking shoes for a day, or put your tent in the car and enjoy an overnight visit!

● House of Torment
Weekends in September and most days in October, check website for full details

"House of Torment is a premiere haunted attraction at a multi-level, 20,000 square-foot facility at Highland Mall featuring elaborate Hollywood-quality sets, iconic characters portrayed by talented actors, towering animatronic monsters and terrifying scenarios."

Admission: $25

● Texas Monthly BBQ Festival
November 1 at 1pm
Every year, we invite the restaurants on our Top 50 BBQ Joints list to the TMBBQ Fest, an event like none other. Sample from the best purveyors of smoked meats the state has to offer , and enjoy a day of great music, cold beer, and fascinating barbecue shop talk. This year will mark the sixth TMBBQ Fest. 

Tickers at $80 for adult and $10 for child and sell out quickly.

● Take a day trip to Llano to see the Eagles's Nest
A family of Bald Eagles nests each year about 50 yards to the south of TX Highway 29 approximately half-way between Buchanan Dam and the City of Llano.  We happened to see them randomly one year when we were driving out to get some barbecue, and saw a bunch of people on the side of the road with binoculars.

It is a pretty impressive sight, and well worth the drive!

The eagles usually show up around November and their eggs usually hatch in early January.

● Christmas at the Caswell House
November 5 - 12
Christmas at the Caswell House has been an Austin community tradition since 1983. The Austin Junior Forum transforms this historic home into a winter wonderland. Now in its 32nd year, Christmas at Caswell raises funds that are distributed to local charities and non-profits through our grants program.

● East Austin Studio Tour
November 14 - 15 and 21-22
EAST is a free, annual, self-guided art event occurring over two weekends in November, providing the public with an opportunity to meet the makers: the local artists and artisans who leave a lasting imprint on Austin’s vibrant, dynamic culture. Tour-goers are invited to discover new artistic talent, see working studios, learn about artists' tools, techniques, and inspirations, and explore unique exhibition spaces and local businesses.

● Wurstfest in New Braunfels
November 6 -15
A "unique annual celebration rich in German culture and full of Texas fun! Located near the headwaters of the beautiful Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas!

Here you’ll enjoy good food, music, dancing, exciting carnival rides and games, German, Texan and domestic beer, special events and the finest in Alpine and Bavarian Style Entertainment.

It all happens at Wurstfest! The best ten days in sausage history."

Admission: $10

● Fun Fun Fun Fest
November 6 - 8
In 2006, Fun Fun Fun Fest booked its first set of acts in downtown Austin and it didn't take long for it to become the darling of independent festivals for music lovers and music makers in the United States. Throughout the years, Fun Fun Fun Fest has become renowned for its musical lineup, as well as its collection of comedy, food, action sports, and poster art experiences.

Now in it's nineth year and recognized as one of the most relaxed, creative, and pioneering festivals in music today, Fun Fun Fun Fest is custom booked for the most passionate, underground, and progressive musicians, comedians and fans around the world.

● Austin Celtic Festival
November 7 - 8
12pm - 7:30pm

Join the Austin Celtic Festival as they present world class music, dance and fun for the whole family. 

Admission: $15

● Fossil Fest in Round Rock
November 14-15, 9am - 5pm
Learn all about fossils with the opportunity to interact one on one with a UT scientist, science educators and knowledgeable PSoA members - hands-on learning & demos, questions & answers and fossil identification.  There will be mini-workshops on how plants & animals fossilize and the chance to create a make & take craft.  Hands-on Fossil Touch Table and Microscope and educational exhibits: See what amateur fossil collectors in Texas find.  

Start your own fossil collection at the Wheel of Fossils and Fossil Dig Pit

The Show Spotlight will be Monster Marine Reptiles! 
Guest Speaker: "Fossils Talk - Hear their Stories"

Admission is $3

● Turkey Trot - 25th Anniversary!
Thanksgiving Day - November 26

An awesome Austin tradition!  Join with a gaggle of other Austinites in this 5 mile run.  Nothing quite makes Thanksgiving dinner taste better than a nice run in the morning.

Whether you are a marathoner, or a mom with young children, this race is perfect for everyone.  Walk or run, it is always fun!  And that late start time (as compared a traditional start of 7am) makes this race perfect for first timers! 

Know of a fun event to add to this (or any upcoming) month?  Please feel free to email Annemarie at bloggeradmin@austintop50.com! 

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