America’s Funniest Outdoor Fall Festivals


We get it – summer gets all the festival glory. But the celebrations don’t stop just because the temperature drops. Add a few extra layers, then go binge on tacos and tequila, shred on Sedona’s famous slickrock trails, or relive the ’90s with Eddie Vedder and friends on the California coast. All that matters is that you have a good time.


(Jim Bennett/Getty)

Ohana Party

Dana Point, California; September 30 to October 2

Pack some sunscreen and a towel, then head to SoCal’s Doheny State Beach and let Eddie Vedder be your host for the Ohana Party (from $159), three days of oceanfront music curated and headlined by the frontman of Pearl Jam. As you might expect, his tastes are a little heavy on the guitar: other performers include Stevie Nicks, P!nk and Jack White. Between sets, wander the Storytellers’ Stage to hear inspiring speeches from conservation-minded adventurers, artists, and athletes. Previous speakers have included freediver Kimi Werner and professional surfer Greg Long. Admission is steep, but a portion of the proceeds benefit park-loving nonprofits, including the Doheny State Beach Foundation and the San Onofre Parks Foundation.


US fall festival scenes
(Marty Leak/Creative Commons)

Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Festival

Albuquerque, New Mexico; October 1 to 9

Relax those neck and shoulder muscles, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time looking up during the wonderful Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Festival (from $15). Be sure to catch Mass Ascension daily at 7am, when hundreds of colorful hot air balloons fill the morning sky. It’s just as magical when illuminated at dusk. If your neck needs a break, head to the street fair-style concession area for green chili delights like enchiladas and chili cheeseburgers, or watch the sawdust fly during demonstrations. chainsaw carving during the day.

US fall festival scenes
(Courtesy of the Brewers Association)

Great American Oktoberfest

Denver, Colorado; October 6 to 8

It’s all in the name, folks. When launched in 1982, the Great American Oktoberfest (from $95) featured two dozen brews; this year, during the 40th anniversary of the festival, participants can taste more than 2000 mousses. The paradox of choice is a little dizzying (or is it the booze?), but savvy greyhounds venture to the Heavy Medal stand to sip the festival’s blue ribbon infusions. To make sure you don’t forget to eat a little something between sips, take inspiration from event veterans, who drape pretzels, beef sticks and even hamburger buns around their necks like so much Flavor Flavs loaded with carbohydrates.

bridge day

Fayetteville, West Virginia; October 15

New River Gorge in West Virginia is considered one of the top rock climbing areas in the country. For some, it’s an even better place to get some fresh air. For nearly 40 years, adventurers have flocked to its namesake 876-foot-tall bridge (the longest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere) to bridge day, a celebration of gravity – or its defiance. While the free event is best known for featuring BASE jumpers, others are taking the opportunity to abseil or zipline down. For spectators, the views are unbeatable.

US fall festival scenes
(Jessie Reeder/Getty)

by Warren Miller day maker film tour

Salt Lake City, Utah; October 26

Get ready to start the winter season with OStop miller 73rd Annual Ski & Snowboard Film day maker. Take a trip from British Columbia to the Greek Olympus Range, Alaska and beyond. Come for ski season and leave with swag, signed posters of athletes including Marcus Caston, Mckenna Peterson, Cam Fitzpatrick, Lexi duPont, Connery Lundin, and more. Best of all, Outside Plus members get early access, first dibs in the best seats, and a personalized tour poster. Can’t make it to Salt Lake City? Check to find a screening near you.


BLK Out Retreat + Boulderfest

Chattanooga, TN; November 4 to 6

In the wake of successful events like Color the rockBlack Girls Boulder launches its first BLK Out Boulderfest, which celebrates black excellence in climbing. Retreat admission (from $49) includes Crash Pad accommodation, welcome night food truck ticket, goody bag, festival weekend pass, ticket raffle, transportation (within Chattanooga) or free parking and a guided bouldering workshop.

Traveling Bike Festival

Sedona, Ariz.; November 4 to 6

Ladies, non-binary and genderqueer cyclists, this one’s for you. Bring your own wheels or test drive some of the most incredible mountain bikes on the market on dozens of group rides on Sedona’s iconic sandstone slickrock. When you’re done living out your singletrack dreams, go back to Traveling Bike Festivalevent headquarters Red Agave Resort for yoga, film screenings, workshops, dance parties and a SHRED panel discussion. Happy hour drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are optional; stir up is not.

US fall festival scenes
(Robert Baker/Unsplash)

Arizona Taco Festival

Scottsdale, Ariz.; November 12 to 13

Taco lovers, rejoice: paradise awaits at Arizona Taco Festival (from $15), where nearly 50 restaurateurs will compete for your affection by tossing little tortilla-swaddled bundles of joy for three dollars each. You want hot sauce with that? 100 varieties are available. Same for tequila. Oh, and there’s a lucha libre wrestling arena, a chihuahua beauty pageant, and, of course, a taco contest. Are you feeling brave? See if you have what it takes to sweat other capsaicin lovers into a chilli showdown.

US fall festival scenes
(Courtesy of Arizona Taco Festival)

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