The Best Things to Do in October Across the U.S.
From bountiful harvests to haunted happenings, the crisp days of October are when fall is in full swing. Here’s how to celebrate the season.
Unwind on the Water in Portland
Experience Portland, Maine's exceptional waterfront during Harvest on the Harbor, an annual three-day food and wine festival that invites award-winning chefs to showcase their talents with the freshest of ingredients from local farms and waters. Attendees sample Maine lobster, barbecue delights, artisanal chocolates, beer, wine and spirits while enjoying live musical performances.
More info: harvestontheharbor.com
Have a ‘Beery’ Good Time in Denver
The Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado is the king of U.S. beer festivals, presenting the largest collection of American-brewed beer with over 3,800 beers from nearly 800 breweries. Beer aficionados from around the world gather to sample single-ounce portions of thousands of beers. The event coincides with the Denver Beer Fest, where local restaurants host numerous beer-themed events.
More info: greatamericanbeerfestival.com
Get Spooked in Salem
With stunning fall foliage, haunted houses, psychic fairs, festive children's events, and Halloween balls, Salem is the place to be in October. The city’s Haunted Happenings is a month-long celebration of Halloween and autumn in picturesque New England. Explore the Witch Museum, the House of 7 Gables, or choose between a scenic foliage cruise or a frightful Haunted Happenings harbor cruise. Only the bravest will venture into the Salem Time Machine and take the narrated nighttime stroll through the haunted streets of the city.
More info: hauntedhappenings.org
Test Your Limits in Kailua
Held annually in Kailua, Kona, the Hawaii Ironman World Championship is one of the most difficult sporting events in the world with fierce crosswinds and scorching heat. Swim 2.4 miles in the warm turquoise waters of Hapuna Beach State Park, where you may encounter spinner dolphins or sea turtles, a symbol of good luck, according to Hawaiian lore. Then, bike 112 miles through black lava fields, green pastures, and past ancient Hawaiian temples and modern wind farms. Finally, run 26.2 miles along residential areas, golf courses, and spectator-filled roads to the much awaited finish line. Or if you're not a top-notch athlete, join the cheering section and indulge in the Polynesian culture and dazzling beauty and charm of our 50th state.
More info: ironmanchampionship.com
Feast on Seafood in Miami
At the South Beach Seafood Festival, guests sample specialties from the premier Miami restaurants (think Joe's Stone Crab, Smith and Wollensky, and more) while walking along South Beach’s always buzzing Ocean Drive. Cooking demonstrations, mixology lessons, a Goya Kid's Zone and live music will captivate for 10 blocks along the spectacular oceanfront. General admission starts at $25 and all-access at $100, but book early for this popular event.
More info: sobeseafoodfest.com
Wine and Dine for a Cause in New York City
The New York City Wine and Food Festival is a celebration of fine food, exceptional wine, and accomplished chefs and vinters. Spend four scrumptious days mingling with your favorite celebrity chefs, enjoying culinary demos, rooftop parties, walk-around tastings, or intimate dinners. With package deals ranging from affordable to extravagant, there's something for foodies on all budgets.
More info: nycwff.org
Take a Hot Air Baloon Ride in Albuquerque
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air balloon event in the world – and it claims to be the most photographed – for good reason. Watching over 500 balloons paint the sky above the Sandia Mountains is a truly unforgettable sight. When you’re done sky gazing, delight in hot air and gas ballooning events and competitions. Day and evening exhibits include unusual dinosaur, flower, and animal shaped balloons in addition to an elaborate kaleidoscope variety.
More info: balloonfiesta.com
Jam Out in Austin
With rock, pop, jazz, and more on multiple stages, the Austin City Limits Festival combines great music with southern hospitality and a family-friendly good time. Held on the grounds of 351-acre Zilker Park, the festival boasts an art market hosted by local artisans and Kiddie Limits, with kid-friendly bands and karaoke. An on-site brewery spotlights Texas beers, and food vendors feature local Texan fare.
More info: aclfestival.com
Try Apple Everything in Bayfield
A charming small Wisconsin town on the scenic shores of Lake Superior does it grand at the Bayfield Apple Festival, a celebration of the autumn harvest and all things apples. Seemingly endless booths offer fresh apples, apple pies and tarts, apple dumplings, caramel apples, apple ciders, and apple sundaes. Apple bratwurst, apple mustard, apple butter, and even apple wines are plentiful. Over 100 arts and craft booths featuring fine arts, pottery, woodworks, and other wares are on display for browsing and purchasing, and a carnival and pony rides add to the fun.
More info: superiortrails.com
Show Off Your Halloween Best in New York City
Prepare to be frightened, impressed, and shocked, but always entertained as New York City's annual Village Halloween Parade marches up Sixth Avenue; all costumed marchers are welcome to join. Beginning between Canal and Spring Streets at 7 p.m. on Halloween, the parade kicks off a long night of revelry. Outlandish, scary, risqué, political, funny, and downright strange costumes captivate the crowds, and live bands line the streets to add to the wild atmosphere.
More info: halloween-nyc.com