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Fall festivals to look out for this holiday season

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OCTOBER 12, 2023

During the fall season, the weather starts to turn gloomy with fog rolling into the hills and cold chill rummaging through the air. A lot of people tend to decide it’s easier to stay wrapped up in a blanket instead of enjoying all the amazing activities that this time of the year has to offer. While the weather and gloomy days may seem daunting, at a place like UC Berkeley – with the cities of San Francisco, Emeryville and Elmwood at your disposal – there are plenty of activities that you can do to make the gloomy days warmer. With that in mind, here are a couple of ideas that you can try out to help make your fall season feel a bit more exciting and eventful! 

Apple Hill

If you’ve never been to Apple Hill, you’re missing out. This cute little festival is held in Placerville and it’s truly a celebration of the fall season with orchards, roadside stands, ranches, breweries, tree farms and even a spa. This festival also boasts a variety of apple themed desserts and food items that you won’t often find elsewhere such as apple tarts, donuts and delicious drinks. This location is also a great pit spot on the way to Tahoe or Reno during the fall if you’re already headed in that direction and looking for a fun sight to take in along the way. 

The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch & Hay Maze

Found in the heart of Petaluma, this pumpkin patch and hay maze is the perfect place to get your fall vibes. This festival boasts free activities such as a corn maze, hay pyramid, hay ride and you can do interesting things like digging for your own potatoes or enjoying a barbeque and pumpkin ice cream. This pumpkin patch isn’t too far away from UC Berkeley and is a great place to go with some friends. You can each pick out a pumpkin to carve and enjoy all the other festivities on top of that. 

Swank Farms corn maze 

Rated one of the most insane corn mazes around and only an hour and a half drive away from UC Berkeley, Swank Farms is the perfect place to go for a corn maze challenge. Make sure to bring a big group of friends and check out all the incredible attractions such as the Kiddy Corral, Jumping Pillow, Cow Train Pedal Carts and, of course, the Maniac or Spooky Maze. This is the perfect place for college students to take in some Halloween fun. 

Tour of Alcatraz

Although this adventure is offered year-round, nothing is quite as spooky as taking a tour of Alcatraz – San Francisco’s famous prison. I think fall is the perfect season to do something that brings a little spookiness into your life for the Halloween spirit, thus if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to check out Alcatraz I think now is your chance. This tour is definitely a whole day excursion, since it can only be accessed by boat and the entire tour is around two to three hours long. 

Ghirardelli Square Halloween edition

Another famous San Francisco landmark, Ghirardelli Square, is a great place to go if you need a fall pick me up. During the Halloween season, the square is decorated with pumpkins and other fun Halloween and fall decorations. It’s so much fun to walk around, get some ice cream and take pictures with friends of all the fun decor surrounding the fountain and shops. This will definitely get you in the spirit and start putting you in the mood for Halloween and the cooler weather. 

The cooler weather that comes with Fall may bring out the coziness of the best of us, but there’s so many impeccable events surrounding this season. So, I hope you like these Fall activities just as much as I did. Happy Fall and Halloween!

Contact Kendall Richter at 


OCTOBER 12, 2023