Although it is still hot, the bees and mosquitoes are still buzzing and we’re more likely to throw on a swimsuit than a sweatshirt, let’s dream a little, shall we? Let’s dream of a fall where cardigans and campfires are the norm. A fall where the leaves change and every day shows new beauty from trees that seemed ordinary yesterday.
Chattanooga is a breathtaking city, no matter the season, but it seems to come alive in the fall. Maybe it’s the way the mountains surround the valley. Maybe it’s the cooler air (fingers crossed). Or maybe it’s because Chattanooga knows how to do fall right. As if we need another reason to love it, there is a wealth of activities in Chattanooga in the fall.
This list is subject to change, so be sure to check ahead to be certain the event is happening as scheduled.
select Thursday and Sunday nights in September and October
Hear ghostly tales from Ruby Falls’ 94-year history and eerie Chattanooga legends as you journey through the cavern lit only by hand-held lanterns. This experience is not appropriate for children under the age of 12. Ghost Walk Lantern Tours are expected to sell out quickly, advance reservation required.
September 30 and October 1
The 3 Sisters Festival (named after the three daughters of Fletcher Bright) honors the musical legacy of bluegrass fiddler Fletcher Bright, by offering a free two-day festival to the community that features some of the biggest names in traditional and not-so-traditional bluegrass.
September 30, October 14, October 28, and November 11
Reflection Riding’s Campfire Concert series, sponsored by Hutton and Smith Brewery, OCI, and the Tennessee Arts Commission, provides a safe outdoor venue to enjoy some of the best artists the Chattanooga area has to offer.
Ticket includes beer, s’mores, entertainment, and the option to camp on our property for the night.
Kids 12 and under are free.
Gates open at 5:45pm, music starts at 6:30pm.
October 1-2 from 10am-6pm at new location – McDonald’s Farm
The Hamilton County fair features three stages with live music and entertainment, bungee jump, photo booth, roaming entertainers, antique car and tractor competition, home-centered flower and event show, historical & educational exhibits, games, arts and crafts, petting zoo, livestock and agriculture exhibits, equine demonstrations, shopping, and more. For a small fee, fairgoers are shuttled to the fair.
October 1-31 at Tennessee Aquarium
Things get wonderfully weird around the Tennessee Aquarium during ODDtober – a month-long celebration of strange creatures from around the world and in our own backyard. Learn odd facts about animals throughout both Aquarium buildings and look for fun fall touches inside our exhibits. See pumpkins flicker with an eerie glow, flashing along with the pulses of an Electric Eel. Find out why some “scary” species are not-so-creepy after all. At the end of your tour, grab a free sticker in the gift shop when you mention “ODDtober.”
Saturdays and Sundays in October
This premiere Fall Event includes live German music, German food, specialty beer, Birds of Prey shows, costumed characters, and fun for the whole family! Join the fun at Rock City for the 16th annual Rocktoberfest as we celebrate our German heritage and honor our founder, Frieda Utermoehlen Carter!
Whether you are attending because of your love of cars or because your loved one loves cars, the festival has something for everyone. From shopping and great restaurants to an antique boat show from The Antique and Classic Boat Society on the Tennessee River. The festival’s epicenter is the West Village, a dining and entertainment district anchored by the Westin Chattanooga.
October 16th from 1-6pm
The Cleveland Apple Festival™ is a family event that is held each fall in historic downtown Cleveland, Tennessee. This annual festival offers an art and craft show, live music, food booths, petting zoo, entertainment, children’s activities and much more!
All children’s activities in the Apple Valley Orchard Kid’s Zone are free, with paid admission, to children 12 and under including petting zoo!
October 15th and 16th
Ketner’s Mill Country Arts & Crafts Fair is two days packed with unique arts & crafts, delicious southern-style foods, live music, and activities for the whole family.
Step back in time to see the old mill churn out freshly ground cornmeal, pet farm animals, and see blacksmiths, woodworkers, and other artisans demonstrate their craft.
Join us for the 3rd annual Collegedale Apple Festival at the Collegedale Commons! We will have fresh apples provided by Merciers Apple Orchard, over 150 craft and food vendors, petting zoo, pony rides, entertainment, and fun for the whole family! FREE ADMISSION and FREE PARKING!
October 28th-29th in Dayton, TN
Fall family fun! Two days of activities, shopping, food, and more! Come to the Historic Rhea County Courthouse for food and craft vendors on the lawn, music at Centennial Stage, games, costume contest, and trick-or-treating!
Watch one of the largest regattas in the U.S., hosting more than 5,100 competitors ages 14-89 representing 29 states and countries from Chattanooga’s riverfront. The Head of the Hooch regatta is a 3.1-mile course down the Tennessee River, passing by Chattanooga’s Riverfront and Bluff View Districts.
Starting November 15th from 6-10pm
The Chattanooga Zoo is excited to announce, for the first time, a new light experience this holiday season, the Asian Lantern Festival at the Chattanooga Zoo. A spectacular celebration of art, culture and the beauty of traditional Asian lantern festivals, this will be the most unique holiday light display in the Chattanooga area.
Saturdays at Tennessee Aquarium Plaza from 10am – 5pm and Sundays through November from 11am-4pm at First Horizon Pavilion.
No matter where you visit, there are plenty of farmers’ market style booths to check out. They are still providing great themes for the fall like Apple Festival, Oktoberfest, and Big Band, to name a few! Check their website for locations and themes each week!
Check their calendars for dates, times, and types of trips!
Tennessee Valley Railroad hosts a variety of trips throughout the year, but the ones in the fall show some beautiful colors! They range in length from an hour to a full day. Find one that suits your time frame and interests!
Check their calendar for dates, times, and types of trips!
Enjoy a beautiful day on the water while checking out the breathtaking fall views! Choose a lunch cruise to include a meal with your scenery!