There’s no doubt about it, this year has flown by and it’s already October! No complaints here as October has always been my favorite month. The perfect transition month. Colors change, the air becomes crisp, cozy sweaters are in, and you can enjoy the outdoors in Nashville without melting. PRAISE!
With that as well come a variety of seasonal festivals and events. Over the past couple years as Nashville has grown so have the number of events so I wanted to share some of the best ways to spend a light-hearted, crisp fall Nashville day to get you in the spirit of the season.
Note: There are way more events happening than what I’ve listed, but I wanted to share events that everyone could enjoy no matter age or gender, and some that I am definitely looking forward to.
Stay tuned for November and December events posted soon!
What to do in Nashville this October
Nashville Market for Makers
October 6-7, 2018
Do you like one-of-a-kind gifts? Do you like supporting independent artists? Do you like making flower crowns? Then Market for Makers is for you!
Their autumn market in Nashville feature local and U.S. artisans specializing in everything from clothing, design, food, home decor, and more.
Admission is $7 online and $10 at the door. VIP tickets are available for $25 online and $30 at the door. All tickets include a reusable tote bag!
Parking can be tricky at Track One so you may have to park a few streets away and walk to the venue.
Fall Fest at the Hermitage
October 6-7, 2018
The Hermitage is the home of our seventh president Andrew Jackson, and this beautifully restored mansion and carefully tended grounds host several seasonal events throughout the year, but one of the most loved is Fall Fest!
Enjoy a pleasant stroll around the ground, shopping a variety of local artisans specializing in photography, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, and more. Music fills the air and food trucks fill bellies. A fave of ours—Cousin’s Maine Lobster—will be on-site serving up delicious lobster rolls!
Admission is free for the festival.
While Fall Fest is only this coming weekend, lantern guided Ghost Tours at the Hermitage continue till mid-November.
@7thpresident| Address: 4580 Rachel's Ln. Nashville, TN 37076
Now through October 21, 2018
This annual celebration of fall has something for everyone—more than 5,000 mums, scarecrows, a pumpkin patch and even a PUMPKIN HOUSE! You heard me right, a pumpkin house! #instaworthy
On the weekend bring a blanket and enjoy live music and a variety of food trucks in their beer garden. Perfect for a crisp fall afternoon. Check the schedule for the list of performers and food trucks each weekend.
Cheekwood is open Tuesday-Sunday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and there is an entry fee, but it’s well worth it.
Don’t miss their third annual Halloween Pooch Parade—yes, puppies in costumes—on October 20—and their annual Day of the Dead celebration, El Dia de los Muertos on October 27.
BTW how cute was Puddles of @cooperandpuddles as a puppy? He is still adorable just roughly 5 times larger!
Boo at the Zoo
2018 Dates: Fri. Oct. 12 | Sat. Oct. 13 | Sun. Oct. 14 | Thurs. Oct. 18 | Fri. Oct. 19 | Sat. Oct. 20 | Sun. Oct. 21 | Thurs. Oct. 25 | Fri. Oct. 26 | Sat. Oct. 27 | Sun. Oct. 28
This annual fall tradition is one of my personal favorites. If you’ve never been the Nashville Zoo is a fantastic place to spend a day, but when autumn rolls around you get the chance to enjoy the ground after dark, on the dates above from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. OoooOOOooo!
Their festival field features bounce houses, dance parties, magicians, carnival games, and trick-or-treating for kids (sorry adults :( , but outside food and drink is always welcome at the zoo so just bring your own candy if you don’t want to be left out!) There’s even a hayride that takes you around some backroads in the zoo grounds. Costumes highly encouraged!
Please note that the majority of the zoo residents will have retired by this point in the evening, though several exhibits close to the festival fields will be active. Staff will be available to direct you.
Adult friends are encouraged to enjoy the festivities but advised to use discretion when selecting a costume to wear as this primarily a family event. No inappropriate or scary costumes please and thank you.
Tickets are required for admission.
October 11-14, 2018
While Oktoberfest in Munich may be out of reach for most, we can still celebrate like Germans and enjoy our fair share of beer, pretzels, brats, and schnitzel at the annual Oktoberfest in the north Nashville neighborhood—Germantown.
Entrance is free and the festival is packed with German beers, food, music, and dancers. There’s also a parade, artisan vendors, and the cutest highlight ever…a Dachschund Derby! The derby is exactly what you hope it would be, tiny legged wiener dogs racing their little hearts out. Aww!
There are VIP tickets available online that include unlimited beer tastings, access to seating and shaded areas, an all-you-can-eat-buffet, and private bathrooms.
The Southern Festival of Books
October 12-14, 2018
Celebrating it’s 30th year, The Southern Festival of Books welcomes attendees to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings and a chance to meet their favorite authors as well as up-and-comers. The festival draws annually more than 200 authors from around the nation and entry is free.
The Southern Festival of Books
Address: 301 6th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37243
Gulch Night Market Fall Celebration
October 18, 2018
Head on down to Nashville’s trendiest neighborhood, The Gulch, from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. for an evening filled with local artisans and vendors like A. Boats Willis (one-of-a-kind hats), Uncommon James (jewlery), 4 Paws Pastries, and Amelia’s Flower Truck. As well as enjoying DJ music and treats from food trucks and local restaurants.
The event is free and pet friendly.
Tennessee Craft Fair
October 12-14, 2018
It’s time for the annual fall Tennessee Craft Fair on the lawn of Centennial Park, the perfect place to get some early holiday shopping done!
I love this craft fair because the artisans must remain on-site giving attendees the chance to meet and connect with the artists directly. Ask them questions, learn about what inspires them, and discuss their handicraft.
Additionally there are workshops, demonstrations, and food vendors.
Admission is free, however donation boxes are set up around the grounds and monetary offerings to Tennessee Craft are greatly appreciated as they help keep the fair free for everyone.
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas In Concert with the Nashville Symphony
October 25-26 + October 30, 2018
If you’ve never been to Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, you are missing out! The venue is beautiful and the symphony has done a wonderful job of bringing the classic culture and talent of its musicians to a wider audience.
One of the most unique series they host is Movies at the Schermerhorn. This is not your grandparents’ night at the symphony center. :) The movie will play on the big screen while the Nashville Symphony performs the score live. It’s truly a unique experience and they perform a variety of movies throughout the year so there is something for everyone. AND guests typically come in costume or themed attire of the movie being performed. Yeah!
For October the Nashville Symphony will be performing Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas! Jack Skellington, Sally, Zero, Oogie Boogie, and SANTA, can you think of a better way to spend an evening?!
The symphony is also performing 1925 silent movie classic Phantom of the Opera during its showing on October 30 complete with full concert organ!
As always costumes are encouraged!
Tickets range $45-90 depending on where you sit.
@nashvillesymphony | Address: One Symphony Place, Nashville, TN 37201
Nashville Flea Market October Fest
October 26-28, 2018
Once a month the fairgrounds explode with roughly 2,000 booths stuffed with new, used, and repurposed items including antiques, clothing, furniture, home decor, textiles, collectibles, and more.
Admission is free, but parking is $5 per vehicle.
Now through October 31, 2018
Every October begins the month-long celebration of art in Nashville. A chance for every Nashvillan to experience the arts through hundreds of events throughout the month including music, visual art, dance, theatre, craft, film, and more, that take place at various venues around the city.
Check their schedule for all upcoming events.
Other Ideas for Activities this Month
Pumpkin Patches & Corn Mazes
A quintessential autumn bucket list item! Beautiful fall hues, open spaces, and pumpkins galore. There are several farms to choose from, all of which are located outside of Davidson County though.
When my siblings were younger we would go to Honeysuckle Hill Farm in Springfield because they always had a variety of family friendly activities like hayrides, zip lines, pony rides, trampolines, and a petting zoo.
If you’re in the mood to pick more than pumpkins, there are a few farms where you can go apple picking as well.
There are pumpkin patch stands and places like Cheekwood where you can find pumpkins to take home, but for the farm experience you’ll have to head outside the city.
The fresh, colorful produce this time of year is simply perfection. Get out of the house and support local farmers while picking up scrumptious seasonal fruits and vegetables. Squash, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and of course pumpkin are all in seasons during the fall.
A couple of my favorite include the 12South Farmers Market, now-October 23, 2018 on Tuesdays 3:30 - 6:30 p.m. at Sevier Park (3021 Lealand Ln, Nashville, TN 37204) and the Nashville Farmers Market (900 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208), open daily 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. with night markets the third Friday of every month from 5 - 9 p.m. Both always free + always delicious!
Nashville Predators Hockey Games
Hockey is back! We’ve been using #IsItOctoberYet for awhile now and it finally is. Regular season for the NHL begins October 3 and tickets can be affordable so grab a few friends and head down to Bridgestone Arena for a fast-paced, entertaining experience. Check their schedule for upcoming games.
So I’m definitely a hockey fan, but I’ve lived in Tennessee long enough to know that Southerns love their football which is now in full swing. Nashville has teams of all levels so whether you enjoy cheering for the Titans or a local university or high school, you’ve got your pick!
Rocky Horror Picture Show
One of my annual Halloween rituals: attend a live performance, sing-along showing of the cult classic. Don’t worry if you’re a RHPS virgin, sheets with all the fan rituals are usually distributed prior to the performance. There are typically several showings around the city each year.
Definitely not my scene. I went once in seventh grade and will never be going back, but if you love them by all means there are several around the city to check out.