Now that fall is here, students are back in class, the roads are ten times crazier with back to school madness, the weather is cooler, and beach season is coming to an end. But don’t let the transitioning of seasons get you down.
Starbucks is already serving up hot cups of pumpkin-spiced lattes. Things are about to get very festive. Who doesn’t love a hot cup of pumpkin-spiced goodness while walking through crunchy leaves? If that’s not your thing, we still have you covered. Here are seven fun things to do to get into the autumn spirit:
1. Fall Hiking Trails
Better get your hiking shoes on and your hoodies out! There’s nothing like being surrounded by nature, especially in autumn when the trees are their most beautiful shades of colour. Red, orange, and yellow hues fill the forest and create a canopy of leaves above, making autumn the best time to get those steps in. Plus, there’s no need to worry about getting hot and sweaty since this time of year has just the right amount of chill in the air to keep you cool while you hike away. There are many trails around Ontario and the GTA, but here are our favourites:
The Humber Arboretum is a hidden gem located behind Humber College in Toronto, filled with all kinds of hiking trails and botanical gardens. Their goal is to showcase horticultural and arboricultural methods, as well as to assist in the preservation of wildlife. The Humber Arboretum offers a variety of activities year round, such as discovery walks and bird watching, but the highlight of this beautiful place is taking a self-guided hike during the autumn. Trails vary in difficulty level so be sure to check out their trail maps before venturing out.
Kortright Center for Conservation
The Kortright Center for Conservation is the go-to spot if you ever feel like exploring. There’s always something interesting to see no matter how often you visit. With over 325 hectares of woodlands, this place is the ultimate destination for autumn hikes, birdwatching, or just being one with nature. Fun fact, if you’re into maple syrup, Kortright also hosts a lovely maple syrup festival in the spring.
2. Apple Picking
There’s nothing like the smell of fresh apple pie straight from the oven. One of the many joys of autumn is the fact that this is also apple season. Whether you’re looking to pick your own fruit, purchase a bushel of apples, or just there for the Instagram photos, apple picking is a fun activity for all. Plus, most apple farms don’t just sell apples, but also offer delicious apple cider by the jug or individually packaged bottles, freshly baked pies to eat right on the spot, or frozen treats to take home for later. Go ahead, eat all the pie your stomach can handle. No one’s watching.
Chudleigh’s Farm is an annual ritual for many families, but it also makes for a great autumn date spot. They weren’t kidding when they said it’s ‘where bliss grows on trees’. Located in Halton Hills, you can smell their freshly baked pies from the time you turn the corner, and oh man, does it smell good! It’s also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friend. Quick tip, this farm is famous for their apple blossoms; so famous that they even sell them at Costco year round.
3. Pumpkin Patches
Remember visiting pumpkin patches and having spontaneous photoshoots there as a child? Well, those aren’t just for kids anymore (#doitforthegram). What’s more autumnal than a good ol’ pumpkin patch? Whether you’re doing it for your Instagram feed, or with the goal to find the largest pumpkin you can, there is nothing more festive than trekking through a field filled with this fun orange vegetable. Might as well embrace it, seeing as it’s PSL season.
Downey’s Farm is one of the most visited places in autumn, and for good reason. This place is filled from the back to the front with hundreds of pumpkins every year, taking the original concept of a pumpkin patch and making it a unique experience. Even from a mile away, you can see the colour orange fill your vision. And the amazing part? It’s completely free to visit and take photos. There is an admission fee to enter the barn area and a price for the pumpkins if you chose to purchase, but that view you see on everyone’s Instagram? Totally free.
If you’re into a more traditional pumpkin patch, vines and all, Albion Orchards is the place to check out. Their pumpkin harvest season runs through October and ends on Halloween. There are two choices to get down to the pumpkin patch, as visitors can either take a wagon ride down the hill, or if you’re up for a nice walk, follow the path through the trees to a huge pumpkin patch. After you’re finished exploring the patches, take a stroll through the country market, browse through rows of jams, and be sure to taste one of the many delicious pastries from their bake shop. The nice thing about this farm is that they offer a variety of activities, open to the public at no admission cost.
4. Scenic Autumn Drives
Sometimes, you just don’t want to walk. Or sometimes, you might be in the mood for a nice drive with great music. And that’s okay because there’s still a lot that can be seen from the comfort of your car, especially in the fall. A simple drive through the countryside might fulfill your need, but if you’re up for something spectacular, try visiting the Forks of the Credit.
Forks of the Credit
There is nothing more breathtaking than driving through the Forks of the Credit during autumn. Not only is it a fun drive with all its hills and turns, but you’re completely surrounded by a canopy of large trees on all sides. Drive up the hill to see an amazing view of the city below, filled with all the pretty colours of fall, or stop in for a hot cup of joe at Higher Ground Coffee Co. in Belfountain along the way. Whichever you choose, the views are surely impressive.
5. Spooky Walks
We’re sure at some point or another, you’ve either watched a television show or horror movie revolving around the idea of the supernatural and paranormal. Think you can handle an experience like that for yourself? Just imagine, leaves rustling in the wind, the sky is pitch black and the only source of light is from your cell phone while you use your ghost hunting app (that’s a thing, right?). Between the next two activities, we aren’t sure what’s more frightening: spooky walks, or going home alone after them.
Ghost Walks Toronto
Did you know that some of Toronto’s most well-known places are also said to be haunted? Old City Hall, St. Michael’s Hospital, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre, Massey Hall, and the Mackenzie House are all places on the haunted list, but it doesn’t stop there. Each walk is curated to include only the best and most haunted places in the city. Walks start after sunset, with each participant given nothing but spooky stories and an old lantern to guide their way. Sound interesting? We think so.
Casa Loma Legends of Horror
Casa Loma is Toronto’s majestic castle, but during the month of October, it’s more creepy than majestic. Casa Loma’s Legends of Horror is a little bit of history and a lot of scares. Located in the heart of Toronto, Casa Loma is a beautiful place to visit year round, but it gets even more exciting in the fall. Take a spooky one-hour self-guided tour, exploring the dark tunnels and terrifying grounds of the castle, some never before open to the public.
6. Haunted Mazes
Similar to spooky walks, haunted mazes are a test of bravery. So many unknowns, so little light, what if you never make it out, and if you do, would you dare to do it again? It’s one thing to go on a ghost walk, but to intentionally put yourself in a maze surrounded by the things that go bump in the night is only for the bravest of heart. Though, autumn just wouldn’t be complete without some sort of fright, so enter if you dare.
If you want a night of fears and scares, with the perfect amount of Halloween thrills, Canada’s Wonderland offers its own horrifying experience. The park transforms into something straight out of your worst nightmares every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night in October. With a cast of monsters and ghouls ready to scare you as soon as you enter the park, a variety of terrifying mazes, scare zones and horror shows, it’ll definitely be a night you’ll remember.
7. A little bit of magic
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. We couldn’t complete this list without adding a little bit of magic. After all, autumn is the most imaginative season of them all. Get your wands out and practice your spell pronunciations. And no, we haven’t gone crazy. We’ve just embraced the spirit of autumn. This one is worth it.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert
If you love magic, Harry Potter, or watching a live orchestra, this one’s for you. Sony Centre of Performing Arts and Toronto Symphony Orchestra is currently doing a series of live performances of the entire Harry Potter film scores. If you missed the first three, unfortunately, there won’t be any more showings for them, but not to worry, because now’s your chance! Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be live in Concert November 15th to 17th, with only three concerts for the year, so be sure to purchase tickets early if you’re interested.
…Want to find more activities to add to your fall bucket list? Explore on Kibii.