(1 ) Drink hard cider and pick apples at Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill.
You don’t have to head to the mountains to pick apples. The closest orchard to Charlotte is less than an hour outside the city and features live music, hayrides, a hard cider bar and, of course, fresh fried apple cider doughnuts.
The orchards is now open for picking this season. Hours are 1-6 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m on Sundays (subject to weather and crop conditions).
Head to the hard cider bar for a $13 flight featuring six flavors — usually five mainstays and one specialty rotation. If you find something you love you can buy it by the bottle at the farm stand.
Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill | 1860 Black Highway, York SC 29745
(2) Ride haunted rollercoasters at SCarowinds.
Select days Sept. 13 – Oct. 27
Carowinds transforms from “theme park” to “scream park” for its annual SCarowinds Halloween attraction. The event features 500+ monsters, ghosts and goblins roaming the grounds plus haunted attractions and shows.
Not feeling it? Buy a “No Boo” necklace for $12 and the monsters won’t approach you. And check out The Great Pumpkin Fest for kid-friendly fall entertainment.
(3) Go apple picking.
(4) Cheer on the U.S. National Women’s Team as they take on Korea Republic at Bank of America Stadium.
Oct. 3, 8 p.m.
The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions’ Victory Tour will make a stop in Charlotte on Thursday, Oct. 3. The team hasn’t played in Charlotte in 19 years.
USNWT vs. Korea Republic | Bank of America Stadium | Buy tickets $36+
(5) Dine in the middle of Tryon Street at Culture Feast.
Oct. 4, 6-9 p.m.
Long community tables fill the street for a night of live entertainment and a family-style dinner al fresco.
(6) Bid farewell to summer and usher in the fall season at USNWC’s Fall Festival.
They’ll have cider sampling, a Build Your Own Boat competition, live music, a trail race, yoga and more.
Put your own handmade vessel to the test on the whitewater rapids in the event’s signature Build Your Own Boat Competition. Registration is $40.
Fall Festival | Free to enter; fees to participate in some events
(7) Travel back in time at the Carolina Renaissance Festival.
Saturdays and Sundays Oct. 5 – Nov. 24
Hundreds of costumed characters bring 16th century history to life with performances, games, demonstrations and more. We’re talking jousting matches, falconry, artisan vendors, hands-on activities and more.
(8) Blakeney Wine Walk
Thursday, October 7 / 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Sip and stroll at Blakeney Shopping Center for the Wine Walk Series on the first Thursday of every month, August through October.The Wine Walk opens from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. $25 ticket…
(9) Markets at 11 in Ballantyne
Saturday, October 9 / 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Local businesses are bringing their craft to the South Charlotte community to shop and enjoy! Browse specialty beauty, health and home products on Ballantyne’s former golf course. Grab bites and brews from local food and drink vendors. Post up on your picnic blanket and get your groove on with musical artists all day long! Markets at 11 will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. Pack a picnic, cooler, sunscreen and the pups!
Explore the Markets at 11 schedule, map and vendor list.
(10) Join 60,000+ attendees in celebrating Hispanic heritage at the Hola Charlotte Festival.
The 8th annual event features authentic food and beverage, cultural dance performances, vendors and more.
Hola Charlotte Festival | North Tryon Street | Free
(11) Head to Raleigh for the N.C. State Fair and all the fried food your body can handle.
The event is ranked among the top 25 fairs in the country and features live music, carnival games, rides, agricultural exhibitors and competitions.
This year they’re debuting a new 155-foot ferris wheel called the Sky Gazer. Tickets to ride are $6-$7 and do not include admission.
New foods that debuted last year included an arepa burger, bacon on a stick dipped in nacho cheese and crumbled Cheetos, brownie funnel cake, a mac and cheese waffle cone topped with turkey barbecue and cracklins, chocolate chip hushpuppies and more. Stay tuned for the 2019 vendor lineup.
N.C. State Fair | 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh | Tickets $10-$13 for adults
(12) Watch 50+ hot air balloons take to the sky at the 45th Annual Carolina Balloonfest.
The second-oldest balloon festival in the country is a sight to behold as dozens of colorful balloons take to the sky. You can even book a ride for about $250/person.
(13) Sip on unlimited samples from 25 vineyards at the South End Wine Festival.
Enjoy four hours of all-you-can-drink wine, beer and cider samples plus live music and food from Papi Queso, Tin Kitchen and King of Pops.
There are two ways to upgrade your experience. Single VIP tickets are $50 and get you in an hour early to get a head start on sampling and beat the crowd. VIP tables are $600 and include 10 tickets, reserved table and chairs and four bottles of wine in addition to five hours of unlimited samples.
(14) Dress up to drink your way through Uptown at Rich & Bennett’s Halloween Bar Crawl.
Oct. 26, 1-10 p.m.
The 19th annual event is the largest Halloween bar crawl in the Southeast. Last year’s event featured 20+ participating bars. Stay tuned for this year’s lineup.
(15) Visit the Great Elizabeth Pumpkin Wall.
This year’s event hasn’t been announced yet but it’s usually a few days before Halloween.
Each year, Elizabeth neighbors construct a giant 60-foot-long wall lined end to end and top to bottom with jack o’lanterns. You can join in the community carving event or just stop by to see it lit up. Learn more about the tradition here.
(16) Run alongside planes at the airport’s Runway 5K.
Oct. 26, 8 a.m.
The unique race puts runners and walkers on the runway at one of the country’s busiest airports where they’ll get an up close view of planes queuing and taking off. This year’s event will fund an Airport Opportunity Scholarship with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) created to promote careers in aviation.
(17) Take a road trip to Asheville to see the leaves changing color in the mountains.
See guide to 28 things to see, do and eat in Asheville.
There are other options around Charlotte: Rural Hill Amazing Maize Maze
Get lost in seven acres of corn; perfect for socially-distanced, outdoor, family friendly fun! The Amazing Maize Maze is one of the largest corn mazes in the Southeast.
New for 2020 – the Historic Rural Hill phone app (in App Stores starting September 11th). Collect your map pieces, fill in your crossword puzzle, and figure out the words scramble to complete the ULTIMATE CHALLENGE – all while competing for your place on our LEADERBOARD!
Weekends starting September 11th, weekdays starting September 14th. Night mazes starting in October.
PRE-PURCHASE OF TICKETS IS REQUIRED ON WEEKDAYS 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE!! WEEKEND TICKETS CAN BE PURCHASED ON SITE AT TIME OF ARRIVAL
Weekend tickets: https://2021amazingmaze.eventbrite.com
Weekday tickets: https://2021weekdaymazes.eventbrite.com
IN ACCORDANCE WITH CDC AND LOCAL GUIDELINES, MASKS ARE NOT CURRENTLY REQUIRED, AS THIS IS AN OUTDOOR EVENT. THIS IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITH ANY UPDATES TO GUIDELINES