Woman at pumpkin patch in Phoenix, AZ

These 13 events prove Phoenix does fall better than anywhere else

Though we don’t get a traditional autumn season, we make up for it with incredible ways to celebrate the end of summer

Autumn in other parts of the country is a specific shift from summer. As the leaves change color and jackets come out, people mark the season by moving mostly inside, with some exceptions for visiting cider mills and bundling up for hay rides.

Not here in the Valley, however. As temperatures finally simmer down to double digits again, we enjoy a burst of outdoor activities from fairs and festivals to seasonal celebrations.

Although numerous events both large and small happen every weekend, we’ve compiled a “lucky 13” list that’s a greatest hits of things to do in all corners of the metro area based on their fun factor. Get out and enjoy Fall the Phoenix way! 

Schnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party
(Oct. 29)

One of the Valley’s most beloved annual events, the Schnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party, now in its 26th year, includes dozens of carnival rides, bonfires, live entertainment, giant board games, a 4-acre corn maze, 10-acre “celebrity” corn maze, Stuntmaster’s Dog Show, a rock wall, mini golf and much more. (4810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek; admission $25.95; free parking)

Midway full of people at the Arizona State Fair

Arizona State Fair
(Though Oct. 29)

Everyone will find something to love at the state fair, from livestock to live music. Just a few events on our to-do list include Native Spirit cultural entertainment, cover bands, a hockey circus show, art and photography exhibits, monster trucks, a petting zoo and a concert by the Violent Femmes. That’s not even counting the rides and fried food. (1826 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix; $15 for ages 8 and up; from $20 with concert admission)

Creepy clowns, gory ghouls and decaying zombies at the Scarizona Scaregrounds

Scarizona Scaregrounds
(Through Oct. 31)

Creepy clowns, gory ghouls and decaying zombies come out of the blood-spattered woodwork at Scarizona Scaregrounds, which draws screams from the most stouthearted. It includes two horrifying haunted attractions for ages 12 and up and a mile-long drive-through light show for all ages. (Thompson Event Center; 1901 N. Alma School Road, Mesa; tickets from $24.95)

The FNKtion: Freak Show
(Oct. 20 – Oct. 21)

Of course, you can get your freak on here—but that’s just the start. This indoor/outdoor micro-festival at Endgame Bar will feature three full production stages with more than 20 DJs, fire and flow performers, burlesque, immersive art installations, live painting, three bars and a costume contest. It’s for 21 and over and runs until 4 a.m. including the wild after-parties. (1233 S. Alma School Road, Mesa, tickets start at $45)

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2nd Annual Chase Field Hispanic Family Fiesta
(Oct. 21)

Experience an evening of Hispanic culture at the ballpark with art, entertainment and food, including authentic Mexican dishes. And wear your dancing shoes: Live music starts at 7 p.m. and headliners this year are Grupo Supremo 602, Freddy Vega Jr. and Enigma Norteño, the latter of which is one of the most popular bands in the Latin music scene with fans worldwide. (401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix; $20)

9th Annual AZ Margarita, Mojito, Craft Beer, & Food Truck Festival
(Oct. 21)

Food and drink festivals are ubiquitous when the weather’s nice here, and this ninth-annual family- and pet-friendly event is one of the best thanks to its idyllic location at Lake Pleasant, its lineup of local favorite food trucks, a stellar selection of vendors and live music. Did we mention unlimited margaritas and mojitos? (8708 W. Harbor Blvd, Peoria; tickets are $5 for under 18; $10 for no tastings; $45 for unlimited drinks)

12th Annual MIKIZTLI Día de los Muertos Festival
(Oct. 29)

Día de los Muertos festivals are prevalent in Arizona, but this one organized by the Cultural Coalition is our pick for its connection to the community. Come to Steele Indian School Park for mariachi music, ballet folklòrico performances, skeleton puppets, arts and crafts activities, food, face painting, art vendors, a community ofrenda (altar) and more. (300 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix; free admission)

Table of food and flowers at MIKIZTLI Día de los Muertos Festival

Arizona Fall Festival
(Nov. 4)

There’s no better way to support local businesses than this annual showcase put on by Local First Arizona. Over 200 vendors will be on hand at Margaret T. Hance Park touting everything from comics to pet food to yoga studios and more. Bring the whole family (even dogs) and stay a while to enjoy live music, games, a silent auction, a “kid zone,” and Arizona-made food and adult beverages. (67 W. Culver St., Phoenix; free admission)

Grand Avenue Festival
(Nov. 4)

Eclectic, creative and vibrant, Historic Grand Avenue takes its always-entertaining First Fridays art scene to a new level with this annual event. Stroll the galleries and boutiques, check out the artisan market, join interactive art experiences, enjoy live music and root for your favorite artist at the “gas tank paint-off.” Don’t miss the after-party at The Egyptian, a mecca of mid century modern motel hipdom with an outdoor bar/entertainment venue. (1301 Grand Ave. No. 2c, Phoenix; free admission)

Fountain Hills Festival of Arts and Crafts
(Nov. 10-12)

Arts shows in the Valley are as common as sunflowers at a Van Gogh exhibit, but the twice-yearly Fountain Hills festival is one to pin because of its stunning setting near the city’s famous fountain (the highest in the world at 560 feet) and the quality of the work in all price ranges—it’s almost impossible to leave without at least a print or a pair of earrings. It’s also one of the biggest shows, with more than 500 artists and over 200,000 attendees. (16837 E. Palisades Blvd., Fountain Hills; free admission)

Goodguys 26th Speedway Motors Southwest Nationals
(Nov. 17-19)

When the mercury falls, Mercurys roll out of hibernation. Car shows pop up in parking lots Valley-wide when the heat subsides, but this is the best one to kick off our season because of the quantity and caliber of vehicles competing for awards. About 100,000 people convene at WestWorld of Scottsdale over three days rubbernecking at roughly 3,000 of the finest hot rods, muscle cars, trucks, customs and classics, and it’s a blast to watch them rev and take a spin. (16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale; tickets from $15; $10 for ages 7-12)

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AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews
(Nov. 18)

Held at Salt River Fields, This is the only sampling event that exclusively features Arizona brands of craft beer, wine, hard seltzer, mead and spirits. Top names like Arizona Wilderness, Dark Sky, Huss, O.H.S.O., Phoenix Beer Co., Simple Machine and many more get the crowd hopped up on local libations, and it’s all to benefit the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. (7555 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale; tickets from $60; $19 for designated drivers)

5th Annual Family Fun Harvest Festival
(Nov. 18)

The Arizona Boardwalk offers an amazing array of family-friendly attractions anytime, but this festival ups the ante with mini pumpkin decorating, bounce houses, slides, face painting, vendors and a DJ. Note: If you register in advance and bring your free ticket, you can enter to win packs of tickets to Butterfly Wonderland, OdySea Aquarium or the UFO Experience; $50 in restaurant gift cards; and other prices. Score! (9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale; free admission)

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Two individuals smiling as they sit at a table outdoors, while enjoying a glass of beer

12 essential local beers you must try this fall

Bring one (or all) to your next cookout, tailgate, happy hour or holiday celebration

As a blistering summer comes to an end, Dallasites are looking forward to sitting on their go-to patios and decompressing with their favorite ales. Pumpkin spice might not be your thing, but a good old-fashioned pumpkin brew is the perfect treat on an autumn day. Additionally, Hazy IPAs have an assortment of hoppy fall flavors which pair well with hearty sandwiches and cozy comfort food. Even a brisk cider provides the taste of apples straight from the orchard, providing both flavor and refreshments.

Thankfully, Dallas isn’t short on places to get your fall beverage fix. Here are a few of our recommendations.

Funnel Cake Ale at Community Beer Co.

3110 Commonwealth Dr., Dallas (Uptown)
The State Fair of Texas is almost near the end of its run this year, but you can still find the joy of a tasty funnel cake all season long. Community’s Funnel Cake Ale is the ultimate fall Texan beverage, brewed as a Golden ale but infused with pureed Madagascar vanilla beans to provide hints of our favorite fried fall delectable. Community writes that the beer “pairs well with corn dogs,” so please listen to the experts.

Flying Red at Pegasus City Brewery

2222 Vantage St., Dallas (Downtown)
One of the most talked about IPAs in Dallas this year, Pegasus City Brewery just introduced Flying Red, a new brew with notes of stone fruit, with a medium amber body and a bit of bitterness at the end – just like fall itself.

Punkel at Lakewood Brewing

2302 Executive Dr., Garland
Don’t call this one a pumpkin spice beer. Lakewood’s Punkel prides itself on being pumpkin-pie-flavored – though, there’s actually no pumpkin in this German lager. The punkel is a German lager spiced-up with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger flavors. Mind. blown.

Somethin’ Shady at Texas Ale Project

1001 N Riverfront Blvd., Dallas (Design District)
Porters aren’t everyone’s thing. But Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady might change your mind. The brewers have described it as “unusually drinkable.” Made with subtle notes of chocolate and coffee, this porter is the perfect companion to a dessert. (Or a good pick-me-up after work.)

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Deep Ellum IPA at Deep Ellum Brewing Company

2823 St Louis St., Dallas (Deep Ellum)
A perennial Dallas favorite, the Deep Ellum IPA is a perfect bridge between warm and cool weather. It’s the brewery’s interpretation of a Texas IPA, packed with notes of citrus and pine, with an aroma that will remind you of crisp, fall evenings on a patio in Deep Ellum. A touch of all-American Hops packs a punch without overwhelming.

Two hands toasting with full glasses of beer

Dry Spell Cider at Trinity Cider

2656 Main St. #120, Dallas (Deep Ellum)
Okay, so cider isn’t technically beer, but Trinity Cider’s signature Dry Spell is perfect for those who want to keep it light. Made with a blend of fresh apples, you can save yourself the trouble of visiting an apple orchard and replicate the experience with every sip. A trivia night at Trinity Cider, accompanied by a pint of dry spell makes for a lovely way to spend a fall evening in Dallas.

White Rocktoberfest at White Rock Alehouse & Brewery

7331 Gaston Ave. #100, Dallas (White Rock Lake)
The White Rocktoberfest is far from your typical German-style Marzen lager. This fall-exclusive brew boasts a score of 25 IBU (which measures bitterness) to create a complex, enjoyable brew. It even won a silver medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival.

Chingo Haze at Four Corners Brewery

1311 S Ervay St., Dallas (Cedars)
Four Corners’ Chingo Haze encapsulates the best parts about Texas. This particular hazy IPA is slightly more bitter than a typical IPA and boasts a bit of sweetness balanced by tropical notes. Come for the beers, stay for the captivating music mix playing throughout the brewery.

Crackberry at Bishop Cider

509 N Bishop Ave., Dallas (Bishop Arts)
Ok, we couldn’t resist another cider. It’s fall! If you can’t wait until Thanksgiving to get those juicy berry flavors, try the ultra-popular Crackberry which blends cranberries and blackberries. And, it makes for a sweet companion to all of your fall fruit pastries, which we hope you’ve got in the oven right now.

Same Time Next Year at Peticolas Brewing Company Taproom

1301 Pace St., Dallas (Design District)
As its name suggests, the Same Time Next Year rolls around Dallas-Fort Worth each fall. This award-winning brew is notably more malty, but contains additional hops to maintain a balance of flavor palettes.

Barrel-Aged Oktoberfest at Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.

701 Galveston Ave, Fort Worth
Fort Worth’s Rahr & Sons offers a solid, traditional Oktoberfest ale. Equally parts sweet and hoppy, the Barrel-Aged Oktoberfest is rich and toasty – like every fall drink should be. If you aren’t a Fort Worth local, you can still have the beer on hand: It’s also available for purchase at many local Kroger and H-E-B stores.

Symbol Red Pecan Pie Porter at 3 Nations Brewing Company

1033 Vandergriff Dr., Carrollton
Rounding out the list is a decadent specialty porter with notes of pecans and a hint of pie crust, which will send you into the holiday season slightly buzzed and completely happy. Plus, no dishes to wash afterward.

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A full moon illuminating a nearby lake

Explore Dallas’ haunted neighborhoods with these DIY date night ideas

4 infamous locations to explore with your — ahem — boo

It’s easy to get your fright-fix during Dallas’ spooky season. But if you want to skip the long lines and exorbitant ticket prices of popular haunted houses or sponsored parties, there are plenty of other ways to scare up a good time.

In almost every Dallas neighborhood, rumors of spirits and inexplicable phenomena abound, and you can easily tailor a date night or weekend getaway to experience them all. We’ve rounded up four ideas to get you started on your ghost-hunting tour across the Big D.  

1. Arts District/Downtown Dallas

Winspear Opera House

Though the Winspear Opera House hosts big-name entertainers and touring shows, some of its most intriguing performances may happen backstage. The theater’s “ghost light” — a standard safety measure that increases visibility in dark theaters — is also said to illuminate performing spirits who can’t resist one last curtain call. Join for a First Saturday tour or follow the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s calendar to enjoy a show and experience this staple of theater lore.

The Adolphus Hotel

After a day at the theater, check into the storied Adolphus Hotel, originally opened in 1912 by Anheuser-Busch cofounder Adolphus Busch. One of the most iconic upscale high-rises in downtown Dallas, the elaborate, gilded exterior gives way to upscale eateries, a stunning pool and — according to guests — a viscerally creepy vibe at times. 

Reports include accounts of phantom music reminiscent of the many big-band performances hosted in the ‘20s and ‘30s, disembodied screams and haunted elevators, perhaps due to several gruesome deaths that have occurred within the shafts. Grab a room and hunker down ‘til morning. You may want to sleep with one eye open.  

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2. Lower Greenville/East Dallas

Originally opened in a former pool hall, Snuffer’s has maintained its no-frills fare and curious occurrences since 1978. Staff there report glasses shattering out of nowhere, children’s echoing giggles, mysterious shadows climbing the walls and other mischievous ghost shenanigans — which haven’t stopped patrons from bellying up to the bar to try signature dishes like Snuffer’s gooey cheddar fries. Reportedly, the ghosts are friendly, and we can confirm the burgers are divine — plan a visit to see for yourself. 

White Rock Lake

Move further east and enjoy a scenic fall walk around White Rock Lake. You may encounter “The Lady of the Lake,” an apparition who dons all-white clothing and appears to be drenched from — allegedly — a deadly dip in the water. Reports say the ghost asks motorists for a ride home, only to disappear once invited into the vehicle. Or, wander over to Flag Pole Hill, where motorists say spirits have ever-so-subtly encouraged them to leave by launching rocks at passing vehicles. 

3. The Cedars/Deep Ellum

The Millermore Mansion at Dallas Heritage Village

This Civil War-era mansion originally housed a misanthropic family who kept to themselves — which caused suspicion among neighbors. What went on inside the house inspired plenty of rumors about dark deeds, and it’s believed that two of owner William Brown Miller’s three wives passed away within the mansion’s walls. Though the structure eventually fell into disrepair, those who have restored and visited its grounds since swear they experience apparitions and full-body chills that cut through even the hottest Texas heat.

Sons of Hermann Hall

After a visit to the infamous mansion, grab a beer at the oldest bar in Dallas, Sons of Herman Hall, which was originally a community gathering place and bowling alley. It later became a concert and events venue, and still draws communities of all kinds – allegedly even the formerly alive. Visitors and staff report eerie flashes of light, and have heard tables and chairs being scooted about. One group swears they saw a couple dressed in Victorian garb enter the venue, walk up the stairs and disappear forever. Catch some music or track down the vanishing couple this fall. 

Headstones covered in vegetation at Oakland Cemetery

4. Oak Cliff/South Dallas

Coombs Creek Trail

Locals say a young girl was riding her bicycle along the Coombs Creek trestle when she was tragically struck by a train. Her spirit is said to have remained there ever since. According to legend, you’ll know she’s near when you hear the sound of a phantom bicycle bell. Visit the scenic route along Kessler Parkway for idyllic bridges and plenty of greenery, but beware of oncoming cyclists, real or imagined. 

Oakland Cemetery

Though all cemeteries are likely epicenters for otherworldly activity, historic Oakland Cemetery offers a decidedly haunted aesthetic, with sizable crypts, chipped headstones, gorgeous gardens and plenty of sculptures dotting 47 acres. Though the cemetery’s condition deteriorated over the years, new efforts to preserve the historic site are underway, preserving the resting place of numerous Dallas luminaries. Take a stroll and explore the grounds, absorbing the ghostly ambiance while enjoying the stunning grounds.

Going on your own tour? Tag @Localite and tell us where you’re going and what you’ve found. And sign up for the Localite newsletter, compiled for you to enjoy where you live.

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