As summer comes to a close, the air becomes crisper and the days shorter. The change in weather also calls for enticing new activities. The best fall activities in St Louis are just starting to appear in the autumn months. So it's time to take out your cozy sweaters and warmer clothes to explore all that St. Louis has to offer throughout September to October.
The Japanese Festival is held over the Labor Day long weekend at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This garden is the oldest botanical garden in America, founded in 1869 by Henry Shaw, and the second-largest only behind the New York Botanical Garden. The entire garden is 79 acres, and the Japanese Garden is 14-acres, providing a well-known calm and tranquil atmosphere within the city of St. Louis.
Throughout the festival, there are scheduled events, including ice sculptures, Sumo wrestling, music, and dance, as well as Japanese food vendors. Feel free to eat all the sushi your heart desires! The festival aims to promote Japanese history and culture, and appeals to all ages.
Oktoberfest celebrates German and Bavarian culture. It is a long-standing festival dating back to the 1800s. What began as a celebration of the marriage between King Ludwig I and Princess Theresa, turned into the largest festival in Germany. It draws in 6 million visitors every year, and lasts nearly 20 days.
In Saint Louis, the Great North American Oktoberfest takes place during the beginning of October. It’s free to attend, and lederhosen and dirndl dress are encouraged. Lederhosen is a traditional outfit for men. It is made out of durable leather to withstand manual labor in the fields. Usually, it is embroidered with colorful designs, and a checkered shirt is worn underneath.
A dirndl is a traditional outfit for women. It has a full skirt with puffed white sleeves and an apron. Where the bow of the apron is tied, holds a different meaning. If it is tied on the left, the lady is single. If it is on the right, the lady is taken or married. If the bow is bound in the back, the lady is a widow or server.
As you take part in the festivities, be sure to head over to the Biergarten. You’ll be able to listen to traditional German music while drinking delicious German bier. The Biergarten is a key location within the festival. Gemütlichkei is a German word used to express friendliness and good cheer, which is the atmosphere you’ll find inside this area.
This event is definitely a kid-pleaser and fun for the whole family. Boo at the Zoo is held at the St. Louis Zoo inside the Forest Park. The event occurs during the second half of October.
Be sure to come in costume and get ready to go trick-or-treating after dark. You’ll get to visit all your favorite zoo animals while admiring the park’s festive decorations. Themed events and activities are set up throughout the park for visitors to participate in, including pumpkin painting, a haunted house, craft activities, and more.
The St. Louis Zoo was first created in 1904 during the World Fair. However, it wasn’t until ten years later that it became an official zoological park. There was much excitement in the early years of the zoo when the first elephant was purchased, and the bear pit was created.
Today, the zoo is a leading zoological center covering 90 acres of land for 18,700 animals. The zoo is made of six sections: Historic Hill, Red Rocks, Lakeside Crossing, River’s Edge, The Wild, and Discovery Corner.
Arguably the most popular activity during the autumn months in St. Louis is Scarefest. This event includes three attractions: The Darkness, Creepyworld, and The Haunted Lemp Mansion. All of these events employ real people who wander around the houses to scare you.
The houses are mostly all pitch black, and you kind of have to feel your way around without being able to see anything. You can expect chainsaws, strobe lights, creepy costumes, loud noises, and everything else that you’re probably terrified of.
The Darkness is said to be the BEST haunted house in America. It’s located in Downtown St. Louis.
Creepyworld is 13 smaller haunted houses in a group. All the houses are a different theme, and you have to walk through all of them to get to the exit.
The Haunted Lemp Mansion is actually a real-life haunted house. The Lemp family committed three suicides in the house during the time of the Great Depression. They have a fascinating family history that is tied to the beer culture in St. Louis, which you should read about before visiting!
Visitors have been known to see ghosts and experience paranormal activity. Walking through this haunted house is especially creepier during Halloween.
The Strangefolk Festival in St. Louis is a popular indie craft fair held in Carondelet Park. There are hundreds of various vendors and food trucks. You’ll be sure to find something unique made by local St. Louis artists, including clothing, household items, soaps, candles, gifts, and accessories. This event is traditionally held at the end of September.
Be transported back in time at the Renaissance Faire in Wentzville, MO. This event is organized by Mid-America Festivals, which is a large organization that puts on many events all across America. The St. Louis Renaissance Faire runs from mid-September to mid-October during the weekend only.
You’ll be able to experience traditional Medieval Jousting, food, games, and maybe even meet the King and Queen.
There are also numerous contests that you can participate in, including a costume contest, a fantasy mask contest, a mural contest, and a fairy house competition. Throughout the day, there are various events and different dining options.
The Great Godfrey Corn Maze is held over on the Illinois side in Godfrey, IL in conjunction with the Fall Corn Festival. It is one of the largest corn mazes in the area. There are plenty of family-friendly activities here, such as a hayride, petting zoo, mini-maze, and pumpkin picking. It is open September to October weekends only.
If you're seeking a thrill, you won't want to miss Frightfest at Six Flags in the evening. This event is held nationally at all Six Flags locations in America and begins at the end of September.
During the day, the park operates as usual, but once the sun goes down, you can expect a creepier atmosphere. The entire park is decorated for Halloween, and special events are put on. There are haunted houses and scare zones to give you a scream. You can even ride the coasters in the dark.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a classic Halloween production. It’s even better when it’s watched with a whole theater filled with people who know every line and are dressed in character. The show has midnight screenings every weekend in October, which always sell out.
If you’re not familiar with the story of Rocky Horror, here is a quick synopsis:
A newly engaged couple finds themselves stranded on the road from a flat tire. In search of a phone, they find a castle that appears to be hosting a strange gathering. They later find out that it is called the Annual Transylvanian Convention.
The owner of the home is Dr. Frank-N-Furter, who is a mad scientist. He created Rocky in his lab and brought him to life. The story then turns into seduction when an ex-lover shows up to the party. Through a tale of betrayal and death, the couple is consumed into Dr. Frank’s world for the evening.
The Tivoli Theatre is located in The Loop - which isn’t actually a loop, but a single street called Delmar Boulevard. This street can be found in the neighborhood of The Central West End, or CWE as we locals like to call it. CWE is full of amazing food and activities all year long.
The theater itself has a rich history due to being built in 1924. Throughout its life, the theatre has had its ups and downs. It actually closed in 1994. Luckily, new owners purchased the theatre and restored it to its original glory. It’s known to the city as being the place for independent and foreign language films.
Almost every autumn weekend in St. Louis, there is an art festival that showcases local St. Louis artists.
The Art Fair at Queeny Park features artists from 20 states and takes place at the end of August.
The St. Louis Art Fair is held in the business district of Clayton at the beginning of September. The streets are closed off during the evening, and you can wander the tents in search of your next unique art piece.
Art in the Park takes place in Forest Park near the Art Museum. It has been annually held for 14 years near the end of September.
The Best of Missouri Market takes place at the beginning of October. It is popular for food vendors but also has handmade goods and art.
The Historic Shaw Art Festival is held in the Shaw neighborhood in St. Louis. It is also held at the beginning of October. The proceeds benefit improving the Shaw neighborhood.
Now that you have all your autumn activities planned out, you'll be wanting the autumn months to come sooner rather than later. St. Louis is an amazing city full of local artists. I can't wait for you to explore this historic city for yourself!
This article was edited by Loredana Elena.
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