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Arts + Culture

America’s Coolest Fall Festivals

Music festivals. Harvest fairs. Pumpkin launching competitions... Read on for the best events coming to you this season.

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Cider Week, NYC

There’s Oktoberfest for beer and Wine & Food Festival for vintages, and now, our favorite golden drink has a celebration of its own: Cider Week. Check out the cider and cheese fondue pairings at Murray’s, Blackduck cider tastings in Brooklyn, and the Harvest Dinner at The Green Table in Chelsea Market. The main event? Cider Fest, a free street fair on Orchard Street in the LES that will have autumn-inspired cotton candy, make-your-own caramel apples and of course, all the cider you can sip.

October 21-30

Where to Stay in New York City

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Archtober, NYC

In October, New York City opens the doors to its most historic, exclusive buildings for Archtober, a month-long architecture and design festival. The calendar is stocked full of site tours, talks, film screenings, architecture boat trips, and exhibits at the Smithsonian Design Museum, Museum of Modern Art, New York School of Interior Design, and The Guggenheim, to name a few. We love the Building of the Day tours, where architects walk you through notable structures like Hudson Yards (the nation’s largest real estate development to date), the Lowline (the world’s first underground park) and Zaha Hadid’s new landmark, 520 West 28th Street.

October 1-31

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Photos courtesy of Maclay Heriot and Cambria Harkey

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Austin City Limits, TX

Austin has been called the live music capital of the world, and it’s not hard to see why at the annual ACL festival. Expect two jam-packed weekends of more than 110 musicians, some of the city’s best bites (ahem, tacos), Barton Springs Beer Hall, and an eclectic art market of local crafts and wares, all set up in the 350-acre Zilker Park. This year the lineup includes Radiohead, Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, Major Lazer, The Chainsmokers and more.

September 30-October 2 and October 7-9

Where to Stay in Austin

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Photo by Jennifer Mitchell

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Blaze, Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Hudson Valley is not a newcomer to Halloween festivities (just ask Sleepy Hollow). But while it’s worth a day trip just to see the spooky decorations, go at night for Blaze. The 18th-century Van Cortlandt Manor and its sprawling grounds are covered in more than 7,000 hand-carved jack o’lanterns. Remember to bring your camera for the perfect pumpkin pic.

October-November

Where to Stay in Hudson Valley

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The Meadows Music and Arts Festival, NYC

First there was Governors Ball, then came Panorama Music Festival. Now, this year’s newest debut, The Meadows, is in the spotlight. The first weekend of October, Citi Field in Queens will be alight with more than 40 bands and artists, including big-name headliners like The Weeknd, Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Kygo, Empire of the Sun, The 1975, Cage the Elephant and more. Bonus: There will also be food trucks and craft cocktails to fuel up for the two-day rager.

October 1-2

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Photo by Ed Smith

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Oktoberfest by the Bay, San Francisco

The same city that brought us Bay to Breakers and Outside Lands also happens to host one of the country’s biggest parties, Oktoberfest by the Bay. Pier 48 transforms into a massive German-style extravaganza, where crowds come for traditional Bavarian dancing and ice-cold Spaten lager. The following weekend, look out for more pretzels and partying in Oakland, where the craft beer-centric Oaktoberfest takes over the city’s 40-some local breweries.

September 23-25

Where to Stay in San Francisco

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Photo courtesy of Sonoma county Harvest Fair

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Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Santa Rosa, CA

September and October marks wine season, called crush, which is the centerpoint of Sonoma’s Harvest Fair. While you could easily spend the whole weekend sampling award-winning wines, craft beer and farm-to-table fare, leave time for the chef demonstrations at the Wine Country Marketplace and the epic grape stomp competition. Other activities include a classic car show, art sale, acoustic country music, and pumpkin bowling (yes, you read that right).

September 30-October 2

Where to Stay in Sonoma

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Photo by John Valls

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Feast Portland, Portland, OR

Now in its fifth year, Feast Portland remains one of the most talked about events in the Pacific Northwest. Celeb chefs come from all around the country to host cooking classes, collaborative dinners, food, wine and craft beer tastings, “Drink Tank” panels, and a massive night market. We’re already drooling over the epic smoke-out (pictured above) where grill-meisters sling Flintstonian cuts of meat.

September 15-18

Where to Stay in Portland

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Photos courtesy of Lyssa Ann Portraits

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Country Living Fair, Atlanta, GA

Shoppers unite! Country Living magazine is welcoming 250+ vendors to come sell vintage wares and antiques at its roving flea market. Besides the craft and culinary demonstrations, you’ll also have the chance to meet the editors as well as pick up tips and tricks from famous HGTV stars like Mike Wolfe of American Pickers and Cari Cucksey of Cash & Cari. Bonus: The southern-style food is to die for — try juicy BBQ, pumpkin rolls and freshly squeezed lemonade.

October 21-23

Where to Stay in Atlanta

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Photo by Noah Fecks

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Food Film Festival, NYC

So long soda and stale popcorn. At the Food Film Festival, you’ll be served the same food you see on screen. The four-day fest will show cheeky features like Ice Cream Picasso and Crust Fund (about three generations of pizza masters). Opening night, dubbed Best of a Decade, will feature some of the top flicks from the festival’s 10-year span. Though we’re most excited for How the Taste of Louisiana was Born, which dives into the Cajun and Creole culture. It’ll be a feast for the eyes — and the stomach.

October 20-23

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Punkin Chunkin, Bridgeville, DE

What do you get when you combine pumpkins and catapults? Punkin Chunkin, Delaware’s wacky (and slightly redneck) fall fest. Imagine tricked-out trucks launching gourds into the sky from manmade trebuchets and cannons. Think of it as a physics science experiment turned hilarious engineering competition. For those more interested in eating their pumpkins than tossing them, check out the Punkin Cookin Contest or the chili cook-off. You may even be crowned queen of the Punkin Chunkin Pageant.

November 4-6

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