Let’s all just admit it, October is the best month of the year. It’s pumpkin patch season, the weather is gorgeous and it’s time to start planning those Halloween costumes. Embrace the season at a fall festival or try your luck at the nearest corn maze. Get ready to fall in love with fall!

photo: Deer Hollow Ohlone Festival

San Francisco

Visit San Francisco Zoo & Gardens to welcome our favorite season—FALL! Navigate through San Francisco’s largest hay maze, a 5,000-square-foot structure made from over 1,000 bales of straw and incorporates play areas within the design. Sat.-Sun. Event details

Water Lantern Festival San Francisco
Watch your unique lantern drift out into the water as it joins other lanterns carrying hope, love, happiness, healing, peace and connection. It’s a night that you’ll never forget. Sun. Event details

East Bay

Orinda Olive Festival & Food Trucks
Come enjoy the beautiful historic ranch and 18-acre nature preserve.  Learn about (and taste) a variety of olive oils from local award-winning producers. Join a rare historic/nature tour of the meadows, woodland, ponds and streams and the 135-year-old olive grove. Enjoy nature games, DIY arts and crafts, local beekeeper’s honey and wax, explore for turtles & tadpoles, and toddlers are invited to a treasure hunt in the garden. Sun. Event details

Oakland First Fridays Street Festival
Join in as Oakland’s cultural art community gathers to experience street artists, food artisans, craft makers, performers, musicians, dancers, live painters, DJ’s, poets, literary events and more. Fri. Event details


Ohlone Day Festival
The festival offers visitors of all ages a chance to spend an afternoon in the farm’s Ohlone Village, normally closed to the public. Children will get the chance to step into the daily lives of the original Bay Area inhabitants, the Ohlone, who lived in the region for thousands of years. The replica underground sweat house and Tule shade and sleeping structures will be open and trained docents will provide short talks on how the Ohlone lived 100 years ago. Sat. Event details

Minotaur’s Labyrinth Hay Maze
Not only does this spot feature a large variety of pumpkins but the they’ve got the full gamut of sizes as well, from small to extra-large and everything in between. Grab your gourd and then try to escape Minotaur’s Labyrinth Hay Maze. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

South Bay

Martial Cottle Park Fall Festival
Meet some farm animals, choose your gourd at the pumpkin patch and enjoy arts and crafts for kids. There will be master gardener classes and urban forest demonstrations. Sat. Event details

Harvest Faire & Steam Festival
Step into the incredible world of steam power at the Harvest Faire & Steam Festival presented by Kinetic Steam Works and Roaring Camp Railroads. Take a train ride to the pumpkin patch, craft scarecrows and check out steam-powered equipment. Sat.-Sun. Event details

North Bay

Science + You
Wash your hands, wipe your feet, and even walk through a pretend shower to enter a replica laboratory at BADM’s new traveling exhibit, Science + You. The exhibit features interactive activities, including a Mixing and Separating Test Lab, Magnification Area and Test Kitchen, all designed to get visitors thinking about the important connections between science and wellness. Come explore and experiment! Fri.-Sun. Event details

Bird Exploration Family Farm Day
Explore what makes a bird a bird and the different types of birds that live at Slide Ranch including domesticated chickens, ducks and turkeys, plus wild owls, quail, hawks, hummingbirds, turkey vultures and marine birds such as pelicans and oystercatchers. Fall is bird migration season and you will observe hawks and other raptors traveling south. Sat. Event details

—Kate Loweth