The change of the seasons may not appear as striking in L.A. as it does in other parts of the U.S., but that doesn’t mean Angelenos should miss out on traditional fall activities. Not only are there excellent versions of the old autumn standbys, there are a bevy of only-in-L.A. events and entertainment too. From enjoying the fruits of California’s natural splendor to celebrating autumn, here are the best things to do in L.A. during the fall.
Devour fall produce at farmers markets
Fruit and veg overflow from farmers market stalls all summer long (and pretty much year-round), but during the fall SoCal farms deliver special delights. Like anywhere else in the country, apples and pears show up in force, but so do artichokes, tomatillos, pomegranates, a bevy of root vegetables, and ridiculously good persimmons.
Build a bonfire at Dockweiler Beach
Angelenos know fall, not summer, is the best time to visit the beach. The summer crowds fade, the beaches empty out, the water remains warm(ish), and the nights turn perfect for seaside bonfires. Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Ray offers 75 cement fire pits where beachgoers can build a flame, roast fish for dinner and scorch marshmallows for s’mores, all while looking out on the gentle surf.
Visit the L.A. County Fair
As one of the largest fairs in the country, the month-long L.A. County Fair in Pomona makes a great day trip for the whole family. The gathering features concerts, culinary competitions, a marching band faceoff, rides, and lots of activities for the little ones.
Honor the moon at the Mid-Autumn Festival in Chinatown
Each fall, the streets of Chinatown fill with revelers snacking on mooncakes, astronomers with telescopes pointed at the autumnal guest of honor, and traditional lion dancers. The Mid-Autumn Festival has taken over the neighborhood’s streets for over 80 years, so you can be sure the organizers know how to throw a party.
Tailgate a College Football Game
No matter where your allegiances lie, tailgating a college football game is a must at some point during the season. Whether you suit up in your best gear for the Trojans or the Bruins, we can all agree on drinking beer and grilling meat in a parking lot.
Leaf peep at the Huntington Gardens
While palm trees never fade to orange or red, plenty of foliage around L.A. does noticeably shift when a nip enters the air. And the plants of the Huntington Gardens definitely take notice of the fall. If you’re tired of the same old oaks and maples you see out east, take a tour of the Huntington’s blooming desert plants, which explode in a rainbow of colors well into December, and the iconic Japanese garden.
Celebrate Día de los Muertos on Olvera Street
There are Día de los Muertos celebrations all of L.A., but one of the best pops up on Olvera Street downtown. The pedestrian promenade boasts Mexican food and shops all year round (including the epic taquitos at Cielito Lindo) but for several nights at the end of October the street hosts candlelit Novenario processions. Guests can munch on free pan de muerto and champurrado, get their faces painted and catch live entertainment too.
Pick apples in Oak Glen
Admittedly a bit of a drive for most Angelenos, Oak Glen east of San Bernardino is a cradle of apple orchards. Take your pick of the heavy hitters in the area based on the varieties they have available, or go on an orchard crawl to snag the best of all of them.
Drink lots of German beer at Oktoberfest at Alpine Village
The oldest and largest Oktoberfest in SoCal goes down at Alpine Village, a collection of Bavarian shops, a restaurant and a beer hall in Torrance. Every weekend for the two months or so of celebration, Alpine Village loads up guests with mugs of Paulaner and plates of pretzels and wieners.
Ride a haunted Halloween train in Griffith Park
There are plenty of places to get spooked around L.A., but our favorite is the haunted hayride through the horrors inside the old Griffith Park Zoo. If a scenic tour doesn’t seem scary enough, guests can wander a diabolical maze crawling with ghastly figures ready to pop out of the dark and scare you back to Santa Monica.