Chattanooga’s fall bucket list

Sights from a foggy autumn morning at Falling Water Falls | 📷: @julie_mcglaughlin

It’s finally fall — and to help you take full advantage of the festive season, we’ve compiled our Chattanooga fall bucket list, complete with 30+ events and activities to try. 🍁  

👟 Activities

Go on a tour to see all of the local fall foliage

Make a list of all of the best places to see fall foliage in Chattanooga (psst, we also did that work for you here), and begin your tour throughout the city sightseeing + photo-taking with all the local, colorful leaves.

Take a hike

Hiking isn’t just for the summer, folks. Hiking in the fall means more trail space just for you, fewer bugs, and a lot less sweat. Read more benefits to cold-weather hiking here.

Head to the farmer’s market

The Chattanooga Marketopen every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First Horizon Pavilion through November — is even better when there’s a crisp coolness to the air. Head to the market to pick up the best in-season produce, cheeses, and baked goods + enjoy the fall weather.  

Cook up a homemade fall dish

Let’s face it, cooking with friends and family is a perfect fall activity, and we’re convinced that this butternut squash and apple bisque recipe created by local blogger Kate Veltkamp is the epitome of autumn cuisine.

🍎 Farms + orchards

Weaver Tree Farms | 9 a.m.-9 p.m. | 308 Signal Mountain Rd. | You’ll know you’ve found this popular pop-up “pumpkin patch” by the large, inflatable pumpkin lining the side of the road. This seasonal outdoor shop features a large variety of pumpkins, gourds, and fall decor.

Guthrie’s Pumpkin Farm | Fri.+ Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 1-6 p.m. | 490 County Rd. 67, Riceville | This pumpkin farm located about an hour from downtown Chattanooga features lots of activities to make it worth the drive, like a corn maze, wagon ride, animal petting barn, and more. (Plus, pumpkins are only $0.50 a pound.)

Smith Perry Berries  | Check Facebook for hours | 9626 Ooltewah Georgetown Rd. | Well-known for their summer sunflowers, Smith Perry also has pumpkins, hay bales, and cornstalks available in the fall.

Crabtree Farms | Wed. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Fri. 12-6 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | 1000 E 30th St. | Crabtree Farms offered its first U-pick pumpkin season this year, but has already sold out of pumpkins. Luckily, though, the farm still has plenty of produce, plants, and more for sale, and you can check out + vote on the farm’s 10 scarecrows. 

Wheeler’s Orchard | Mon., Thurs., Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 12-6 p.m. (Central Time) | 956 Wheeler Rd., Dunlap | Although Wheeler’s Orchard is no longer taking U-pick appointments for the fall, you can still purchase a variety of apples at the orchard for a homemade apple pie.

Apple Valley Orchard | Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 12-6 p.m. | 351 Weese Road SE, Cleveland | Apple Valley provides tours of the orchard, complete with an apple + cup of cider at the end of the tour.

🎟️ Fall festivals 

Boo in the Zoo | Fri., Oct. 16; Sat., Oct. 17; Fri., Oct. 23; Sat., Oct. 24 | 4-8 p.m. | Chattanooga Zoo, 301 N Holtzclaw Ave. | $10-$15 | The Chattanooga Zoo’s Boo in the Zoo event will feature timed ticket entries for safety, a costume contest, scavenger hunt, candy stations, and more.

Falltoberfest | Wed., Oct. 21 | 4-6 p.m. | Main St. Farmers Market, 1804 Chestnut St. | Free entry | At the Falltoberfest market, you’ll find guest vendors featuring fall goods like tonics + honey, in addition to the year-long vendors.

Collegedale Apple Festival | Sat., Oct. 24 | 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | Collegedale Commons, 4950 Swinyar Dr. | Free entry | Enjoy Collegedale’s apple festival with food, art, and clothing vendors, plus more. 

All Hallow’s Eve Roller Disco | Saturday, Oct. 31 | 7 p.m.- 1 a.m. | The Signal, 1810 Chestnut St. | $30-$80 | Moonlight Roller is transforming The Signal into a spooky skate spot with an LED light show, live performance by local artist Bbymutha, and more.

☕ Food + drinks

Food

Vegan pumpkin pie | Cashew

Pumpkin pop tarts | Be Caffeinated (made by Poppytons Patisserie

Pumpkin pie pancakes | Syrup and Eggs

Oatmeal apple butter ice cream | Clumpies 

Drinks

Apple or pumpkin chai latte | Sleepyhead Coffee

Honey bee latte | Be Caffeinated

Coffee with pumpkin milk | Milk & Honey 

Autumn Equinox tea blend | Wildflower Tea Shop

Oat milk cinnamon honey cold brew ½ gallon | Mean Mug

Spice spice baby latte (created by a local barista) | Frothy Monkey

Imperial pumpkin ale | OddStory Brewing Co.

💸 The buy

Candles from The Rustic House’s fall-scented collection

Choose from a variety of autumn-scented candles to make you feel warm n’ cozy, like bonfire, apples + honey, farmhouse cider, and more (our personal favorite is pumpkin chai). 

Fall decor from Merchants on Main

If you’re searching for local Halloween decorations, look no further. Merchants on Main has tons of fall + Halloween items, like these super cute spooky pillows.

Your best Halloween costume yet from Beauty and the Beast

Located in Red Bank, Beauty and the Beast Costumes has way more to offer than a pair of cat ears. With over 2,000 costumes to choose from, If you’re hoping to elevate your Halloween look, this is the place for you.

👻 Haunted houses

Dread Hollow | Thurs.+ Sun., 7-10 p.m.; Fri. + Sat., 7-11 p.m. | 321 Browns Ferry Rd. | $25 | Ranked a top 5 must-see haunt in Tennessee by TheScareFactor.com, Dread Hollow isn’t for the faint of heart (In fact, the scare is not recommended for children under 12). Timed-entry reservations + face masks are required this year.

The Haunted Barn | Fri. + Sat. 7 p.m.-12 a.m. | 5017 McDonald Rd, McDonald | $20 at the door | Chattanooga’s longest running haunted attraction, the Haunted Barn features concessions, a live DJ, and more to keep you entertained while you wait to enter the barn.

The Haunted Hilltop | Fri. + Sat., 7 p.m.-1 a.m. | 8235 TN-58, Harrison | $20 — pay online or at the door | A $20 ticket will give you access to the hilltop’s haunted house and haunted hayride through the woods.

🚘 Fall road trips

See the Twin Falls at Rock Island State Park

Located an hour and a half from downtown Chattanooga at Rock Island State Park, Twin Falls is an 80-foot waterfall that is even more beautiful surrounded by colorful leaves. You can find the waterfall by hiking via the downstream trail to see it up-close, or by viewing it from above at an overlook. The park itself is 883 acres located on a peninsula formed by the merging of the Collins and Caney Fork Rivers.

Drive the Cherohala Skyway

The Cherohala Skyway makes for one of the best autumn drives, starting right here in Tennessee. The 43-mile National Scenic byway starts in Tellico Plains, TN, and will take you to Robbinsville, North Carolina. The start of the drive in Tellico Plains is roughly an hour and a half from downtown Chattanooga, so plan on a long drive. (Pro Tip: Make sure your car is gassed up + your snack bag is full when you start the drive — the only facilities on the 40+ mile byway are a few restrooms).

Camp at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Whether you’re a primitive camper or a luxury glamper, the Smoky Mountains area has options for everyone. Families will love camping at Cades Cove, those up for an adventure can sleep amongst wildlife in the Smokies Backcountry, and people who need a queen-sized bed to sleep can find cabins and hotels in the surrounding area at Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. The distance from Chattanooga depends on where in the park you stay, but is roughly 2-3 hours from downtown.

🍫 Trick-or-treating (and fun alternatives)

Boo in the Zoo | Fri., Oct. 16; Sat., Oct. 17; Fri., Oct. 23; Sat., Oct. 24 | 4-8 p.m. | Chattanooga Zoo, 301 N Holtzclaw Ave. | $10-$15 | The Chattanooga Zoo’s Boo in the Zoo event will feature timed ticket entries for safety, a costume contest, scavenger hunt, candy stations, and more.

Trails End Ranch Trunk or Treat | Sat., Oct. 24 | 4 p.m. | Trails End Ranch, 224 Trails End Rd., Chickamauga | The ranch’s trunk or treat celebration will also feature pony rides, trail rides, hayrides, and a pumpkin carving contest.

Haunting on Suck Creek Trunk or Treat | Sat., Oct. 31 | 5-11 p.m. | River Drifters Chattanooga, 1925 Suck Creek Rd. | Free | This trunk or treat experience will take place in the field across from River Drifters. You can bring the family to participate, or sign up to bring your decorated car.One of our readers, Anna P., had a great suggestion for trick-or-treating this year: Download the app Treat Town Halloween which is a first-of-its-kind app that lets you buy virtual candy credits that trick-or-treaters can redeem for real candy. It’s a safe way to enjoy trick-or-treating. You can invite friends and family from across the country.”