September 23rd marks the *official* first day of Autumn! And as the temps start to cool and the leaves begin to change here in the Queen City, we decided to compile some of our favorite fall activities into one bucket list. Start crossing items off your list now! And we want to see how you spend your fall weekends. Take a picture and share it with us on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #QueenCityWknd. Is Facebook your thing? We've got that, too.
Got something to add to our list? Give us a heads up!
Pick Your Perfect Pumpkin
Is it really fall if we don’t talk about pumpkins? We don’t think so! If you’re looking for a spot to grab a quick pumpkin, Simpson’s Produce off Kings Drive is an easy option. Hodges Family Farm also has a great patch to pick from (and a great spot to get some seasonal photos).
Need a last minute template for carving? Check out our suggestions!
Get Lost in a Corn Maze
Corn mazes are a fall staple. It’s the only real place you actively try to get lost. And the Queen City is not in short supply! These corn mazes have it all – easy, scary and even some in random shapes! For those looking to stick close to home, Hall Family Farm won’t disappoint. And for those on a budget, Wise Acres Farm in Indian Trail has a free corn maze!
Get a 'Royal' Scare!
With Fall comes some pretty great things – pumpkin-flavored everything, cooler weather, trees changing and the challenge of finding the scariest haunted attraction around. Whether you prefer your scare in the form of a haunted house, hay ride or spooky trail, the Queen City won’t disappoint. The Haunted Mill over in Belmont is particularly scary but okay for younger kids. If you’re more of a risk-taker, Scarrigan Farms advises no one under 12 go through the maze.
Drink Some Fresh Cider
Apple cider is a traditional fall drink that Charlotte is in no short supply of! Whether you’re looking for something family friendly or strictly for adults, it’s the best season to enjoy! A couple of orchards in our area offer fresh pressed cider, apple products and events throughout the season. Windy Hill Orchard in York, SC is one of the flagship spots to check out during the fall. Apple Hill Orchard in Morganton also offers tours and apple picking.
Take a Drive Through the Mountains
The changing of the leaves is a time honored tradition in the south. Around the second or third week in October, the mountains slowly go from green to red and orange, working their way down to Charlotte. Whether you’re looking for a quick drive or an extended weekend, we suggest Banner Elk as your stop! Enjoy the colors and some world-class fine dining once you’ve finished!
Tailgate and Cheer On the Panthers
Football is an Autumn staple – and luckily the Queen City has one of the most passionate fan bases around with the Carolina Panthers. While you don’t necessarily have to attend a game to enjoy the tailgating aspect, we highly suggest it for optimal experience!
We can’t forget high school football, either. Keep up with the WBTV Sports team for all the info on all things football!
Taste Test Beers at Oktoberfest/Mecktoberfest/Any Beer Festival
With cooler weather comes plenty of beer-themed events! (And we can’t complain.) Some of the more popular events that we suggest include Charlotte Oktoberfest on Sept. 29 and Ole Mecklenburg Brewery’s Mecktoberfest Sept. 21-23. You can also catch other various beer-themed happenings through the entire themed season!
Go On a Quiet Fall Hike
If you thought hiking Crowder’s Mountain during the hot and humid summer months was too challenging, the autumn weather may be the perfect time. We suggest getting to the park right when it opens on weekend days for maximum cool weather and less chance of being turned away due to no parking. And if you don’t want to hike, just enjoy some fishing on the lake!
Watch Some Halloween Classic Movies
We say there is no shame in spending an entire fall weekend binging some of the best themed movies that streaming services can offer. We compiled a list of 31 family-friendly Halloween movies for you to enjoy. Our favorites? It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, The Goonies, The Haunted Mansion, Halloweentown and (of course) Hocus Pocus.
Check Out the Renaissance Festival
Wait, did you not know the Queen City is home to one of the country’s largest Renaissance festivals? Carolina Renaissance Festival is entering its 25th year and not holding back on the celebration. Expect fire-eaters, acrobats, mermaids, must-try foods including the infamous turkey legs, craft beer celebrations and more! Check out the festival Saturday and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. between September 29th and November 18th.
Attend the Time-Honored Tradition of the Thanksgiving Parade
The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade is really the unofficial Queen City kickoff for the holidays, and it does not disappoint. The parade runs the length of Tryon Street from Stonewall Street to 9th Street. This year, it’s happening on November 22nd at 9:30 a.m. Expect amazing, larger than life floats and the big man himself – Santa Claus.