Festival Goers in Their Halloween Costumes.

9 weird, wild and unique fall events in Atlanta

If you’re all about finding a new favorite this fall, look no further.

The fall season in Atlanta is magical as the trees turn golden and the air feels crisp after a few months of scorching heat. Many head to the mountains, from Blue Ridge to Ellijay, for apple picking and other quintessential fall fun, but the Greater Atlanta area will be bustling with festivals and events. Popular classics abound, but if you’re looking to experience something new, check out some of Atlanta’s unique fall activities.

The Ghastly Dreadfuls at the Center for Puppetry Arts
(Oct. 11 – 28)

This long-running Atlanta tradition features different spooky stories each year, presented in different styles of puppetry, from marionette to shadow puppets. Ask any of the attendees who come back year after year — it’s a Halloween event that everyone should experience at least once. Equal parts ominous and silly, the group describes the show as “an old-school cocktail of death and humor.” If you’ve been looking to shake up your fall calendar, this is the ticket. (Admission starts at $22; includes entry into the Worlds of Puppetry Museum)

The Highland Games & Scottish Festival
(Oct. 21 – 22)

Find your tartan and head out to the Highland Games & Scottish Festival in Stone Mountain Park. The festival includes lively pipe bands, Scottish athletics, competitions for piping and drumming, Highland dancing contests, Scottish harping and more. You can also enjoy delicious Scottish food and drinks, clan tents and vendors selling unique British Isles goods. (Tickets start at $22.50)

Atlanta Couple Enjoying the Fall Festivities.

Atlanta Streets Alive
(Oct. 22 & Nov. 12)

Exciting news: Atlanta Streets Alive is returning as a monthly event for the fall of 2023! Three miles of Peachtree St (from Mitchell St SW in downtown Atlanta to 15th St NE in Midtown) will be closed to traffic for four hours on these Sundays. It provides the perfect opportunity for you and your friends to walk, run, stroll, bike, scoot or rollerblade on the open street. Join ATLDOT in creating a more sustainable and pedestrian-friendly experience by eliminating cars from the equation for an afternoon. (No ticket required)

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Little 5 Points Halloween Festival & Parade
(Oct. 22)

Join the spooky, quirky and bizarre celebrations in Little Five Points this Halloween, with live music, food, drinks, a Halloween market place, 3D haunted house and a fantastical parade on Sunday. Ready to be spooked even more? Sign up for the clairvoyant tour guide on a mile-long, 90-minute walk through Little Five Points’ historic and eerie landmarks. (No ticket required; clairvoyant ghost tour tickets start at $25)

Cosplayers at the Anime Weekend in Atlanta.

Anime Weekend Atlanta
(Oct. 26 – 29)

The largest anime convention in the Southeast returns, and first-timers may find themselves immersed in what feels like another universe. The four-day weekend is packed with events, including a cosplay contest, exhibits, swap meets, screenings and special musical guests and famed voice actors. Attend the Starlight Idol Festival, visit the expansive Manga library or purchase a meal at the Kuma Kuma Maid Café. (Tickets start at $95)

ONE Musicfest
(Oct. 28 – 29)

This year’s ONE Musicfest at Piedmont Park features big names like Kendrick Lamar, Janet Jackson and Megan Thee Stallion. The festival will take place over two days and include a special Hip Hop 50 stage in honor of Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary. (One-day tickets start at $169)

Book Festival of the MJCCA
(Oct. 28 – Nov. 19)

For 32 years, the MJCCA’s book festival has brought Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, big-name celebs and more, creating one of the most extensive, impressive literary lineups in the Southeast. This year, hear from celebs like Uncle Jesse John Stamos and Henry Winkler or take part in meet-and-greets, book signings and community readings from bestselling authors and emerging talent. Peruse the whole list — there are more than 40 authors to choose from! (Paid events start at $13)

Pots of Chili at Chomp and Stomp, Atlanta's Chili Cook-Off.

Chomp and Stomp
(Nov. 4)

The Chomp and Stomp festival is the fall season event in Atlanta. Cabbagetown, Atlanta’s first National Landmark Historic District, has a rich history and adds to the charm of this festival. This one-day event allows visitors to sample dozens of different types of chili. The festival starts early in the morning with the Romp & Stomp 5k Run, followed by a highly competitive chili cook-off between teams and local restaurants, and ends with live bluegrass music. (No ticket required; chili “sampling” spoons start at $10)

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Atlanta Comedy Film Festival
(Nov. 12)

Enjoy hilarious screenplays, short films and other works of art by local and comedy filmmakers. The festival is one of the featured events from Cinema Life, a film collective that operates festivals focused on independent filmmakers and their projects. Held at the Wild Heaven West End Brewery and Gardens, you can even enjoy a beer and a laugh. Just make sure to leave the kids at home: Due to the adult nature of the content, the event is 18+ only. (Tickets start at $15)

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