When my son was 10 months old, we took him to the Barton Hill Farms Fall Festival in Bastrop for the obligatory pumpkin patch photo. We had lived in Texas for over 2 years at that point, but for some reason I still had visions of a crisp, fall day spent picking pumpkins in flannel shirts.

In reality, it was 95 degrees and we were dripping sweat in our summer clothes.

We wondered why we hadn’t just picked up a pumpkin at the grocery store and taken the photo on our front porch. Rookie mistake.

Now I have realistic expectations of “fall” temperatures in Austin, but I still get excited this time of year because there are so many fun events and activities that put me in a festive, autumn mood.

To help you make the most of the fall season, we’ve got your ultimate Austin fall bucket list for 2019:

Get free admission to museums like the Thinkery, Pioneer Farms, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the Science Mill at Austin Museum Day. (Sept. 22)

Pop your tent in Old Settlers Park in Round Rock for the annual Family Campout. S’mores, games, campfire, movies, and more. (Sept. 20-21)

Check out the family-friendly Outside the City Limits Festival at Vista Brewing in Driftwood. Live music from 1-9 p.m., craft beer, farm-fresh food, Texas wine and cider, and a pop-up market. A great alternative to ACL craziness! (Sept. 21)

Take a day or weekend trip to Dallas to experience all the deep-fried goodness and exciting entertainment the State Fair of Texas has to offer. (Sept. 27-Oct. 20)

Jam out to kid-friendly acts at Rock the Park, a concert series at Mueller Lake Park. Free face painting, food trucks, and more. (Sept. 20, Oct. 25, and Nov. 15)

Explore vehicles like fire trucks, ambulances, and bulldozers up close at Touch-a-Truck. In addition to vehicle zones, there will be a petting zoo, barrel train rides, and face painting. (Sept. 28)


Make your kid’s year (or possibly life) by taking them to Day Out With Thomas in Burnet. Ride the famous blue engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy photo ops, train tables, magician, rock climbing wall, and more. (Sept. 28-29)

Explore ten new forts at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Fortlandia exhibit. (Begins Oct. 5)

Fortlandia at the Wildflower Center

Visit a pumpkin patch! Some popular options:

  • Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop. Corn maze, jumping pillow, slides, live music, train rides, and more. (Sept. 28-Nov. 3)
  • Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Mazes, animals, hayride, playscape, train rides, face painting. (Oct. 5-31; pumpkin festival is 2nd and 3rd weekends in October)
  • Evergreen Farms in Elgin. Take a wagon ride into the Christmas tree fields to hunt for mini pumpkins in the trees. There will be rides and demonstrations on an authentic pumper fire truck, a bounce house, train rides, ponies, and more. (Every Saturday and Sunday in October)
  • Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls. Hayrides, corn maze, scarecrow stuffing, face painting, pick your own flowers, barrel train, horse rides. (Sept. 21-Nov. 10)
  • Sweet Eats Fruit Farm in Georgetown. Pony rides, petting zoo, hay maze, jump pads, treasure mountain, pumpkin sling shots, pig races. (Fall festival on Sept. 21)
  • Jersey Barnyard in La Grange. You can also take a tour to feed and pet the animals and take a hayride to the dairy, where you can bottle feed a calf or try your hand at milking a cow. (Last week of September through October)
  • Texas Big Worm Pumpkin Patch in Bertram (Sept. 27-Oct. 27)
  • Nomad Ranch Pumpkin Patch in Bertram (Begins Oct. 12)
  • Robison Family Farm in Temple. Corn maze, bounce pad, barrel train, hay ride. (Sept. 21-Nov. 3)
  • Proof & Cooper Pumpkin Patch in Dripping Springs. Live music, carnival games, photo area, and more. (Oct. 5-26)
Our sweaty day at the Barton Hill Farms pumpkin patch

For a twist on the typical pumpkin patch, visit the Pfloating Pumpkin Patch in Pflugerville, where you can stay cool in the pool and pick your favorite pumpkin at the same time. (Oct. 12)

Walk the Haunted Trails at Pioneer Farms, a living history museum. This year’s theme is “Dark Harvest.” There will be plenty of family-friendly fun along with some scares and spooks. (Runs the last three weeks in October)

Pioneer Farms

Visit Oakwood Cemetery for the 13th annual Murder, Mayhem and Misadventure Walking Tour. The free, 45-minute tours highlight historical events from the 1870s-1910s, with actors portraying cemetery “residents.” (Oct. 26)

If you really want to get your scream on, head to the haunted houses at Scream Hollow or the House of Torment (recommended for ages 12 and up).

For even more spooky fun, check out one of Austin’s best ghost tours:

Dress up in costume and see the zoo in a spooky new light at Boo at the Zoo. (Weekends Oct. 4-26)

Travel back in time at the Texas Renaissance Festival. (Oct. 5-Dec. 1)

Raise a stein (or two) at Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest (Oct. 4-6) or the German-Texas Heritage society’s celebration (Oct. 12).

If you prefer furry friends with your frankfurters, check out Pet-toberfest at the Domain (Oct. 19) or Barktoberfest in Round Rock (Oct. 26).


Celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Mexic-Arte Museum’s Viva la Vida Festival and Parade (Oct. 26), or take in a fireworks show on Halloween in honor of the Day of the Dead.

Want more festival fun? Mark your calendar for these events:

UMLAUF Straw Fest

See Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at Duncan Neighborhood Park downtown, presented by Movies in the Park. (Oct. 17)

Listen to spooky ghost stories and chilling folktales at Symphony Scare, a new Halloween tradition held at Symphony Square along Waller Creek. (Oct. 18)

Meet the many farm animals, including goats, llamas, sheep, and ostriches, and see other attractions like raptor shows and pig races, during Crowe’s Nest Farm’s Fall Family Fun Festivals. (Every Saturday in October)

Trick or treat your ears to music from the Austin Symphony Orchestra at their annual Halloween Children’s Concert at the Long Center. Wear your costumes! (Oct. 27)

Toast to the cooler weather at a family-friendly brewery/distillery like Vista Brewing, Family Business Beer Company, Treaty Oak Distillery and Brewery, or Jester King. Jester King has a fun sandpit, while the others all have playscapes.

Jester King Brewery

Embrace your inner cowboy and ride horseback through the beautiful countryside with Texas Trail Rides, just 20 minutes from downtown Austin.

Tour the Bullock Museum after hours for some spacey Halloween fun at Spooktacular. (Oct. 25)

Learn all about some of the freakiest, most frightening creatures around, and make a scary Halloween mask, at the Spooky Species Workshop at Pedernales Falls State Park. (Oct. 26)

Groove to tunes from White Ghost Shivers at the 8th annual Kids’ Ball presented by Creative Action and held at Central Market on N. Lamar. There will also be costume-making, art stations, music and movement exercises, and a photo booth. (Oct. 26)

See a family-friendly show:

Let loose and spend a well-deserved girls’ night at Austin Moms’ fall Mom’s Night Out. (Nov. 6)

Moms’ Night Out, hosted by Austin Moms

Volunteer with Operation Turkey to help ensure everyone gets a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day. Kids welcome!

Sign up to help with H-E-B’s annual Feast of Sharing.

Run a 5K or a 1K:

What’s on your fall bucket list?


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