Brooke is a lifelong Hoosier who grew up on the westside of Indianapolis. She is a 2022 Butler University graduate who still resides in the Broad Ripple area. She works as a Communications Coordinator for a marketing agency called The BSMNT, focusing on both paid media marketing and strategic communications. In her free time, you can find Brooke exploring local coffee shops and bars, running on the Monon Trail, or at her part-time job at The Barre Code.
Autumn in Indy: Our Essential Fall Fun Bucket List
Hoosiers love to complain about Indiana weather, but you have to admit: having all four seasons is pretty special. Every year, we get to see the flowers bloom, the leaves turn, and snow blanket the city landscape. And best of all, each season comes with its own unique events and activities you can’t get any other time of the year.
Now, as the dog days of summer come to an end, there’s a pleasant autumn chill in the air—which means fall has finally begun! Here in Indiana, fall is an important harvest season for our local farms and orchards, but it’s also time for corn mazes, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and more.
So, grab a pumpkin spice latte, put on your flannel, and get ready to experience everything the season has to offer! Our Guide to the Best Fall Activities in Indianapolis is bound to make you fall in love with Indy more and more each year.
Pick Your Own Apples, Pumpkins, and More
1. Dull’s Tree Farm and Pumpkin Harvest
Dull’s Tree Farm is best known for their incredible selection of Christmas trees, but this Boone County farm is a must-visit in the fall, too. Not only can you find your perfect pumpkin in their pick-your-own patch, but Dull’s also offers over 45 different autumnal activities, making it the perfect spot for a day of fall fun.
From corn mazes and pony rides to pumpkin decorating and air cannons, there’s fun for all ages out on the farm. And of course, no fall festivity is complete without apple cider slushies and donuts—a delicious treat after some Dull’s farm-smoked pulled pork. Dull’s Pumpkin Harvest typically opens for the season in late September and runs until the end of October, but check out their website for more information on dates and hours.
2. Beasley’s Orchard
Are you Team Pumpkin or Team Apple? Well, at Beasley’s Orchard, you don’t have to choose! Every September, this local orchard lets you hand-pick your own pumpkins and apples, giving you the best of both worlds. Beasley’s Orchard even offers multiple varieties of apples to choose from, so you’ll be sure to come home with the perfect bushel for baking or snacking.
If you rather stay indoors, you can head inside the Farmhouse and choose from a selection of pre-picked apples, sweet treats, apple butters, jams, cider slushies, and even Beasley’s own canned hard cider.
These fall activities are available every day from mid-September through October 31st—with special Fall Festivals each weekend. My personal favorite Beasley’s festival is the annual Dog Daze celebration, which includes a pet costume contest, a pet talent show, and adoptable animals on site.
3. Anderson Orchard
With nearly 30 different apple varieties to choose from, Anderson Orchard has something for everyone. In fact, Anderson grows a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables each year, so you can pick more than just apples while you’re there!
After grabbing a bushel of your favorite apples, I recommend heading over to their raspberry patch, where you can pick your own raspberries until the first freeze of the season. Around late September, you can even head over to their pumpkin patch to pick your gourd of choice!
Anderson Orchard also hosts an enormous Apple Festival each year, which includes food trucks, live music, homemade apple cobbler, and a craft fair with over 80 booths. While you’re enjoying the fall festivities, you can pop inside their Apple Barn and purchase a variety of other Indiana-grown produce, such as grapes, tomatoes, peaches, and chestnuts.
4. Tuttle Orchards
With apples, pumpkins, and more, Tuttle Orchards has everything you need to make some fun fall memories! Tuttle is the perfect place for families, especially those with young kids. Every fall, they open up the Tractor Town Adventure Farm, where children ages 2-13 can play on peddle tractors, a tire mountain, a straw maze, and more. While you’re there, you can also go flower picking, watch their bees make honey, or even meet the goats and llamas on the farm.
If all that exercise makes you hungry, Tuttle Orchards also has their own farm-to-table restaurants, including their Cafe, Sweet Shop, and Grill. You can dine on authentic apple cider bratwurst and applesauce—or for a sweet treat, try hand-dipped caramel apples, homemade fudge, and pumpkin donuts.
Experience the Beauty of Indy’s Fall Festivals
1. Harvest Nights at Newfields
Experience a chilling evening surrounded by thousands of glowing jack-o-lanterns at Newfields! This shimmering fall celebration is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before—with thousands of festive pumpkins throughout the grounds. This spooky event includes an array of delicious fall-themed snacks and treats, as you wander their haunted gardens.
On top of this seasonal light display, Newfields also hosts exclusive events on select days of the season. These special Harvest Nights include festivities like a five-course Flavors of Fall dinner, a screening of Frankenstein with a live orchestra, and a drag performance with Rocky Horror Picture Show as the backdrop. Tickets for Harvest Nights usually sell out in advance, so don’t wait to reserve your spot for this event!
2. Potter’s Bridge Festival
The Potter’s Bridge Fall Festival is back for another year, inviting Hoosiers to enjoy fall-themed festivities at the most scenic park in Noblesville! Built back in 1870, Potter’s Bridge is the only remaining covered bridge in Hamilton County, surrounded by 66 acres of natural woodland on the White River. Now, this historic park is the perfect venue for fall festivities, especially as the leaves turn each year.
The Potter’s Bridge Festival is a free event featuring over 100 arts, crafts, and food vendors, so there’s surely something for everyone! With live music and beautiful scenery, this fall festival is a must-see for both visitors and residents alike.
Taste the (Many!) Delicious Flavors of Fall
1. Java House
With six locations and more coming soon, Java House is already one of the best coffee shops in Indy, but their fall menu is on another level. Of course, they have their own twist on the classic pumpkin spice latte—with a sweet pumpkin whipped cream to top it off. But my personal favorite is their Bonfire Brew, a drink inspired by warm fireside s’mores.
Some of their other fall specials include a pumpkin cream cold foam bold brew and the Mapleton—a cinnamon-maple oat milk latte topped with maple cold foam. New to the menu is the “Sweater Weather,” which is a delicious caramel bourbon cold brew with a vanilla cold foam. And after your drink, you can try an apple cinnamon scone or a pumpkin cheesecake bar for a sweet snack!
2. Best Friends Coffee & Bagels
Can’t decide which fall flavor is your favorite? Get a flight and try them all! Best Friends Coffee & Bagels offers a flight of cold brew coffee in four different fall-themed flavors: pumpkin chocolate chip, fireside, maple bacon, and salted caramel apple. Pair your coffee with one of their signature bagels for the perfect autumn lunch or breakfast!
3. Sun King Brewing
Looking for something a bit stronger than coffee? Head over to your local Sun King Brewery and pick up a seasonal Oktoberfest beer! This German-style lager has notes of caramel, toffee, red apple, and dried fruit, giving you a taste of fall in every sip. Sun King only offers this beer in October, so be sure to get your fix while you can!
Around this time, Sun King also has their Technicolor Dreamcat—a blood orange-infused hazy IPA. This flavor isn’t as fall-forward, but it’s still a seasonal treat only available from September to December.
Get Spooky at Indy’s Top Halloween Haunts
1. Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie
For 40 years, the Headless Horseman Festival has been a Halloween tradition for local Hoosiers, where families come to Conner Prairie for some (kid-friendly) scares. If you dare to try the haunted hayride, you might just spot the Headless Horseman stalking the Conner Prairie grounds. Then, after dark, you can brave the Trail of Terror—a spooky corn maze with frights around every corner.
But there’s more than just spooks at this nighttime festival! If you’re looking for more fun than frights, you can enjoy a variety of Halloween-themed games and activities at the Magnificent Midway. The 19th century didn’t have horror movies like we do today, but they had other entertainment like the Sleepy Hollow Marionette Show and Eerie-llusions Magic Show. Whether you want a truly haunted experience or just some old-fashioned fun, the Headless Horseman Festival has something for all ages!
For those who are more easily spooked, ZooBoo is the perfect way to celebrate Halloween without the sudden jump scares. Throughout the month of October, families can enjoy a variety of Halloween activities at the Indianapolis Zoo, alongside all your favorite zoo animals.
At the infamous Pumpkin Village, kids can explore a mirror maze, meet barn animals, and enjoy music from the Patch DJ. The Round-Go-Merry offers a spooky twist on the zoo’s usual carousel, and the Roller Ghoster—the region’s only roller coaster—makes for a frightening amount of Halloween fun. And of course, what’s Halloween without trick-or-treating?
The ZooBoo Trick-or-Treat Trail includes eight treat stations throughout the zoo, where families can grab some sweet treats as they explore. And yes, costumes are encouraged!
Photo courtesy of Irvington Halloween Festival
3. Irvington Halloween Festival
The Irvington Halloween Festival is a historic tradition—and one of the most highly anticipated events of the season! For over 75 years, this week-long festival has brought together thousands of residents, neighborhoods, and eastside businesses for some spooky Halloween fun.
Irvington is a cozy neighborhood in Indianapolis named after Washington Irving, the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Now, they celebrate that heritage with all sorts of family-friendly activities and events to get you into the Halloween spirit. Each year, they host family movie nights, spooky organ concerts, séances, masquerade balls, and everything in between.
But the Irvington Halloween Festival is best known for their annual Street Fair on the last Saturday of October—with costume contests, a battle of the bands, a zombie-themed bike ride, hundreds of vendors, and even a Halloween parade!
4. Hanna Haunted Acres
For the brave souls looking for a truly scary night, head over to Hanna Haunted Acres! This haunted theme park features six heart-pounding attractions, ranging from classics like haunted houses, hayrides, and corn mazes to modern additions like zombie axe throwing and virtual reality arcades.
The Haunted Acres is open on weekends in September and every day of October, but be warned that this experience is not suitable for young children (or easily frightened adults.) Tickets cost more at the door, so make sure you purchase yours ahead of time!