Austin in the fall isn’t like Vermont where the trees change color and basic girls slap on Uggs and tights. No, fall is still pretty warm in central Texas, so we still get to spend time outdoors enjoying camping, football, pumpkin patches, and haunted hayrides without a jacket.

Austin and the surrounding area come alive in the fall, and most of us are just excited to finally experience two-digit temperatures.

There are so many things to do in Austin in the fall, and we’ve showcased a handful of our favorites here today. We’ve talked before about fun activities for a short vacation to Austin, and because it is still warm, they are all great ideas for fall, so we’ll be expanding on that.

UT Texas Longhorns entrance to the football field during a game in Austin

Football Dominates Austin in the Fall

Even if you don’t know the game, don’t care, or still adore your home team from whatever weirdo place you moved from, get your butt in gear and blend in with the locals.

We may not have an NFL team, but we have the University of Texas Longhorns which we swear was a really really really good team once. And may be again. In the meantime, we still bleed burnt orange here, and we’re the sorest losers you’ll ever meet, and even more sore winners.

Tailgating is a really big deal when it comes to UT football, and plenty of people never make it into the stadium because of it. On purpose. But if you want to wear nice clothes and scream about football, you can always watch the game with other longhorn fans at Abel’s on the Lake or Jack & Ginger’s Irish Pub at The Domain.

And if all of that sounds terrible, or it sounds like you could take on some more football games, head out to the high school nearest you on a Friday night and support your home team. If you want to see the kids that will be recruited into college ball, you can always check out the state rankings and go see whichever top 25 team is closest to you.

overhead view of people hiking at Pedernales Falls State Park in Austin, Texas
image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/travelista/8703389994

State Parks and the Great Outdoors Rule in the Fall

Because our lives are devoted to the majesty of Lake Travis, we’re partial to all of the dozens of state parks, camping, and glamping sites offered on our shores. The great outdoors is also celebrated at the many Lake Travis breweries and distilleries, so if you’re smart, you’ll work those bad boys into your Austin fall plans!

Inks Lake State Park

Inks Lake State Park is gorgeous, perfect for hiking and camping alike. There are 9 miles of hiking trails (the terrain is hilly with limestone, granite, and cedar trees), over 200 campsites, 22 cabins, fishing spots all over the park, and even a Kona Ice near the entrance.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park is another of our favorites, tucked away just west of town. Austin in the fall is incomplete without a trip to Pedernales (which should be pronounced “ped-ur-nal-iss,” but locals have always said “purrdin-alice,” sorry).

It’s over 5,000 acres with 6 miles of river frontage, and it’s called falls for a reason – you’ll see. It’s perfect for camping, hiking, off-road cycling, arrowhead hunting, and is just absolutely gorgeous.

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted rock is a famous giant pink hill that you can see for miles, resting above the endless sea of cedar trees. It looks super easy to climb until you’re halfway up and have to go to the bathroom or remember that you sit in a chair all day and physical exertion is haaard, so don’t get cocky.

view of downtown austin, texas, from the blue starlite drive-in theatre
credit: cameron bergeron

Fall Is All About Nostalgia, Especially in These Parts

Fall isn’t all pumpkin spice and everything nice, it’s a feeling. A relief from the oppressive heat, yet we can still go boating or hiking without a coat.

Blue Starlite Drive-In

One of the most fun nostalgic moves you can make this fall is to pull up at Blue Starlite Drive-In where you can watch all sorts of movies from your car, just like generations past. They have spots around town, so pick one that’s right for your mood!

Sweet Berry Farm

Excuse me, but it doesn’t get more FALL than this. At Sweet Berry Farm from mid-September through mid-November you can:

  • take hayrides with the fam
  • get your face painted (even if you’re a grown ass man)
  • do the berry bounce
  • pick your own flowers
  • hit up the candy corn kid maze
  • hit up the barnyard maze
  • do some pumpkin painting or scarecrow stuffing
  • take pony rides (if you’re under 100 pounds)

It’s most peoples’ excuse to get the kids in the car and go do cute pics for the ‘gram, we know, but it’s still just the perfect overdose of fall and we love it.

Sweet Eats Adventure Farm and Petting Zoo

Sweet Eats Adventure Farm and Petting Zoo is a must. A must, do you hear me!? They have pig races, a fall festival starting September 10th, and it’s acres of fun, with obstacle courses, duck races, a petting zoo, a corn maze (and flashlight corn maze if you can stomach that), wagon rides, and campfire rentals.

live music being played at sxsw in austin texas

Fall in Austin Is Full of Festivals!

The Barton Hill Farms Fall Festival is a beloved tradition, offering corn mazes and pumpkin patches, hayrides, live music, fishing, super slides, archery, duck races, and so much more all fall.

Austin Museum Day is September 18th, and almost every museum around Austin is free! The Austin Museum Partnership does this once a year, offering free admission to over 40 participating locations.

This year is Pecan Street Festival’s 45th year, and anyone who grew up here went to this ever-expanding event as a kid. On September 21 & 22, get over to the largest arts and crafts festival in Texas, with free admission, and booth after booth of art, food, music, and fun.

Oktoberfest may not be in Austin, it’s a short ride away to get the real deal in Fredricksburg, where Texans have been celebrating German heritage over giant beers, meaty foods, and fun activities like Oktubafest, waltz and yodel contests, and Hauptstrasse chicken dances (whatever the hell that is – we don’t remember that part, probably because of the giant steins of beer). Take a drive on the weekend of October 1st through the 3rd.

Austin City Limits Music Festival is on two weekends this fall – October 7-8 & 14-16 at Zilker Park, featuring some of the biggest bands in the world like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lil Nax X, Diplo, The Chicks, P!nk, Paramore, and a bajillion more.

The Diwali Festival in Round Rock is on October 23rd, and is the true “celebration of light.” The festival features amazing food, music, cultural dance, street lights, art, a fashion show, and you can learn Bollywood dancing moves and of course, get a Henna tattoo.

The Austin Film Festival draws people from around the world and you know it’s fall when you randomly see movie stars rollin’ solo into your Starbucks from October 27th through November 3rd. The festival is amazing because you get to see indie films, Hollywood previews, and tons of panels with creators and actors answering your weirdo questions.

The Austin Food & Wine Festival (on November 4th through 6th) is gonna getchya thickened up, y’all! It’s their 10th year, and you can snack on samples from famous chefs, and drink beer, wine, and spirits from tons of exhibitors. This one’s 21+ so no kiddies.

Fall in Austin Is Also About the Spooky Times

No fall is complete without Halloween, amirite!?

The most Halloween-y thing you can do in Austin is to go to the House of Torment. It is legit the scariest haunted house in central Texas. And in their 20 years, they’ve also added axe throwing and a bar to the lineup (but not inside of the winding haunted house, don’t worry). 10/10 is the most spooky.

You don’t want to miss the Austin Ghost Tour or the Murder, Mayhem & Misadventure Self-Guided Walking Tour, they’ll all give you chest hair.

But if you have littles and don’t want to get too spooky, check out the family-friendly Halloween Children’s Concert by the Austin Symphony, that’s a beautiful homage to the season as well.

With so much to do in Austin during the fall, your dance card should be full - maybe we’ll see you out at at UT football game or at the House of Torment!