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Summer is on the way out. Time to tuck your swimsuit away in the bottom drawer and break out the wool sweater. But don’t despair just yet, summer lovers! There’s a ton of happenings around the globe this autumn that will have you greeting cooler temps with a grin. Here are 19 travel-worthy fall events worth traveling for, in no particular order:

1. Niagra Wine Festival: Ontario, Canada (Sept 12-13, 19-20, 26-27)
Just an easy hop, skip and jump from Buffalo, New York, Canada’s gorgeous wine country rolls out the red carpet to oenophiles over the course of three long weekends that include live entertainment, educational seminars, demonstrations and traveling the region’s abundant wine route.

2. Kentucky Bourbon Festival: Bardstown, KY (Sept 15-20)
The signing of the Declaration of Independence wasn’t the only big event to happen in 1776. It was also the first year the people of Bardstown started making bourbon and today the Bourbon Capital of the World boasts this six-day fest featuring tasting, black-tie galas, tasting and children’s activities.

3. Oktoberfest: Munich, Germany (September 19-October 4)
A 19th century horse race to mark the wedding of the Ludwig Crown Prince of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen marked the beginning of what has become a two-week celebration of beer, wine and food (and more beer) in Germany’s jubilant Bavarian capital.


4. Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival: Galway, Ireland (September 24-27)
The oldest oyster festival on the planet—celebrating its 60th birthday this year—pays tribute to the bivalve with four days of merriment including the Galway Oyster Festival Parade, a Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball, musical performances, live cooking demos and a whole lot of oyster slurpin’.

5. Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love: Marfa, TX (September 24-27)
The quirky desert outpost of Marfa is a haven for artists, drifters and spiritualiststhat once a year plays hosts to a weekend festival of live music, sandlot baseball, workshops, art installations in more at the quirky tent and teepee campground El Cosmico. This year Trans-Pecos celebrates its tenth anniversary.


Photo Credit: Alysse Gafkjen

6. Life is Beautiful Music and Art Festival: Las Vegas, NV (Sept 25-27)
This inspirational music and art fest storms the streets of glittery Sin City for three days of live performance, art, food, renowned speakers and empowerment. Spanning 11 city blocks, this year’s fest boasts the eclectic likes of Stevie Wonder, Duran Duran, Hozier and Chance the Rapper.


7. Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival: HongKong, China (October)
Tuscany and the Napa Valley aren’t the only places that raising a glass to the grape each autumn. HK’s annual Wine and Dine Festival offers an entire month of celebration in which the city’s top chefs collide with wines from around the world for a month of carnivals, tastings, tours and more.

8. Hell Yes Fest: New Orleans, LA (October 1-11)
NOLA is gorgeous in the fall and largely off the radar of the tourist masses who raid the city every spring. Check out this combo film and comedy festival happening all over the Marigny and featuring stand-up, sketch, improv and live podcasts and headliners Tim Heidecker, Todd Barry, Nikki Glaser and more.


Photo Credit: Brian Tarney

9. Buffalo Bayou Park Grand Opening: Houston, TX (October 3)
Park space in a city that often feels like a dense tangle of strip malls, freeways and fast food joints is a reason to celebrate and Houston isdoing just that with a day of activities to in honor of newly renovated Buffalo Bayou Park including walking tours, live music, children’s activities and more.


10. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: Albuquerque, NM (October 3-11)
The Land of Enchantment blows a lot of hot air—in a good way—at this annual fest whose highlights include musical performances, a chainsaw carving invitational, a fireworks display and Mass Ascension—in which dozens of hot air balloons simultaneously takeover the southwest sky.


Photo Credit: Paul de Berjeois

11. Castro Street Fair: San Francisco, CA (October 4)
One of the SF‘s tamer, but no less energetic street festivals has been happening in the city’s Castro neighborhood since 1974. Originally conceived by slain civil rights activist Harvey Milk, the Castro Street Fair is a family-friendly celebration with local vendors, artists, dancing and live performance.


Photo Credit: Geof Teague

12. Pilsner Festival: Pilsen, Czech Republic (October 10)
Bohemian Pilsen—an hour west of Prague—is one of the EU’s 2015 Capitals of Culture which means a ton of cool events are happening all year long. Check out this beer-driven fest that happens in the courtyard of Pilsner Urquell and toasts the success of the nearly 200 year old Pilsner lager.

13. Fantasy Fest: Key West, FL (October 23-November 1)
Key West,the city that defiantly claims to be its own independent nation (a.k.a. the Conch Republic) reaches the zenith of its quirkiness every autumn with this adult-oriented fest filled marked by body painting, drag and burlesque shows, a 5k, costume balls and parade finale down swinging Duval Street.


14. Salon du Chocolat: Paris, France (October 28-November 1)
Our teeth ache at the thought of this annualtribute to the cacao bean—the largest of its kind in the world—in which gourmands descend upon the City of Lights for a long weekend in which more than 200 chocolatiers, pastry makers and chefs will offer tastings, share recipes, compete and more.


15. Cape Town Int’l Kite Festival: Cape Town, South Africa (October 31-November 1)
The largest kite festival in Africa brings together kite flyers and enthusiasts from all over the world to Cape Town for an ebullient, family-friendly celebration that benefits adults and kids in resource-poor communities. Wanna join the fun? Kite-making workshops will all you to create our own flyer.


16. West Hollywood Carnaval: Los Angeles, CA (October 31)
Sick to death of wearing a winter coatover your sexy doctor/nurse costume? Perhaps a pilgrimage to the world’s largest Halloween street party and celebration in sunny Southern California is in order. A half million folks cram LGBT-friendly WeHo’s streets for a night of unforgettable revelry.


17. New York City Marathon: New York, NY (November 1)
The running event with the most sole—get it?—the New York City Marathon brings more than 50,000 runners to NYC for a course that touches all boroughs, kicking off in Staten Island and reaching a big finish hours later in Central Park. Not an athlete? No worries, being a spectator is just as enticing.


18. Iceland Airwaves: Reykjavik, Iceland (November 4-8)
We love this chilly island full of outrageous natural wonders, gracious people and the elegant capital city of Reykjavik which plays host to Iceland Airwaves, a musical fest featuring a smorgasbord of international greats including Mercury Rev, Perfume Genius, Beach House, JME and of course, Bjork.


Photo Credit: Alexander Matukhno

19. Fun! Fun! Fun!: Austin, TX (November 6-8)
Megawatt headliners hit this annual Austin festival of live music and this year’s tenth anniversary is no exception. Jane’s Addiction, Wu-Tang Clan, CVRCHES, Cheap Trick and Future Island will be rocking the house. Not a music fanatic? Comedy, sports and good food all add to the Fun Fun Fun.

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Tagged: California, Europe, Family time, Las Vegas, New York

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Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason is a Lead Content Specialist for Expedia Group, and manages content initiatives across numerous Expedia-owned brands. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out, the Huffington Post, Chicago Magazine, Passport and many others.

One thought on “19 totally travel-worthy fall events”

  1. Hi there. This comment is for Jason Heinemann. It’s a question really for anyone familiar with accessible travel for people with disabilities. I have MS and walking is difficult for me. With the help of my husband and/or a walker, scooter or sometimes just a cane I get around okay. A few years ago we were able to visit Italy for two weeks thanks to a company I found called “Accessible Italy” They were wonderful and our family still talks about it. Could you help me find something similar for traveling here in the US? Washington DC and Sedona Arizona are two destinations we are most interested in. I would appreciate any recommendations that you have . Thanks so much, Lori Perna

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