October weather in St. Louis, Missouri can't be topped. Plenty of sunshine, warm but comfortable days, and crisp cool nights make getting outdoors a must. Once the leaves start to change colors, a fall festival or road trip is a great way to spend a day. And the end of the month, look for haunted houses and plenty of Halloween celebrations.
Every year during the first weekend of October, the Missouri Botanical Garden is transformed into a giant outdoor market under large tents for three days. The Best of Missouri Market features the finest products grown and made in the Show-Me State. You can sample and buy dozens of food items or get an early start on your holiday shopping from the more than 120 vendors. Find home-baked goods, fresh and dried flowers, herbs, handcrafted gifts items, wooden toys, artisan-made jewelry, and more. Enjoy live music and take the little ones to the kids' corner for crafts and activities.
The historic Shaw neighborhood near the Botanical Garden holds its annual art fair each year during the same weekend as the Best of Missouri Market. The two-day event features art from more than 135 artists and craftspeople, as well as live music and a food court. You'll find everything from clay to printmaking and sculpture, as well as traditional works on canvas and paper.
This independent community festival is a local favorite. Founded in 2005, the annual street festival is a favorite fall event for many in the Grove neighborhood in St. Louis. Music is the primary focus here, as the musical lineups range from hip-hop to blues and rock, but there are also street performers and plenty of dining options as well. The family-friendly event features a kids zone and arts and crafts vendors. You can join in and help paint a paint-by-numbers outdoor wall mural, a Grove Fest tradition.
Drink Up at the Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival
Address5521 Water St, Augusta, MO 63332-1016, USA
Beer lovers head to Augusta at the beginning of October for the Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival. More than 40 breweries from across the state serve up their favorite brews, including St. Louis favorites 4 Hands, Civil Life, Square One, and Cathedral Square. There's live music to entertain you and, when the event is over, you'll have a souvenir glass to take home. Augusta is also the heart of Missouri's burgeoning wine country, so a fall weekend here, when foliage is at its best, is a must!
There are several places to go when you want a real Halloween fright in St. Louis. The Darkness Haunted House in Soulard is ranked as one of the best in the country by AOL, HauntWorld.com and USA Today, and draws big crowds every year, but there's also Creepyworld in Fenton, produced by the same folks as The Darkness.
For wine lovers, Hermann, Missouri, is the place to be during Oktoberfest. This small town comes alive each weekend in October, welcoming thousands of visitors to Stone Hill and its other wineries. Hermann is known as a town with German roots and its quaint buildings reflect that influence. In October, every weekend is Oktoberfest with a traditional German fest held in this German-themed town amidst the beautiful fall colors of the area.
Hermann is easy to get to—you can get there by car, Amtrak, or bike via the Katy Trail.
For a different kind of Oktoberfest celebration, make a visit to the St. Louis Zoo. Each year in October, the zoo puts its own twist on the famous German celebration with a party, called Zootoberfest. Kids can play games and learn about animals while mom and dad enjoy German food and beer in the traditional Biergarten.
Enjoy a taste of fall at the Florissant Old Town Fall Festival. This annual event includes about ten blocks of vendors selling food, crafts, art and more along Rue St. Francois in Florissant. There is also a dog show, wagon rides, and activities for the kids.
Celebrate Italian Heritage on The Hill
Residents on "The Hill," St. Louis' famous Italian neighborhood, celebrate their rich history in October with a parade and Fest. The parade typically starts at noon at Kings Highway and Southwest Avenue. Everyone is invited to line the route and watch the floats, cars, and bands go by, then head over to Berra Park for an afternoon of food, music, and fun.
Harvest Festival is a unique fall event held at the Laumeier Sculpture Park, a 105-acre open-air museum and sculpture park. The event includes a farmers' market with locally-grown Missouri produce, wine and beer from Missouri producers, live bluegrass music, food from some of the best area restaurants, artisans, and more.
Step into a 16th-century French village, complete with period costumes, jousting demonstrations, crafts, food, music and more at the St. Louis Renaissance Festival. Have fun with "Eggs and Kegs," an adult egg hunt, jousting three times a day, live entertainment, children's activities and much more.
Mid-month in October, watch for Oktoberfest with a belching contest, beer pong contest, corn hole competition, root beer chugging contest, and more creative frivolity. This month-long festival is typically held at the Rotary Park in Wentzville.
AddressMarket St, Kimmswick, MO, USA
The Apple Butter Festival is Kimmswick, Missouri's largest celebration of the year. Held the last full weekend of October, more than 100,000 visitors fill Market Street and the city park to sample all types of apple butter (and take a jar of your favorite home) and dozens of other foods, while hundreds of craft vendors sell their goods at booths around town. Impressive pumpkin carving displays are also a popular attraction at this charming festival. For the children, there is a miniature train, petting zoo, and pony rides.
The Great Godfrey Maze continues to welcome visitors this month. The seven-acre corn maze is a fall tradition at Glazebrook Park. Go during the day or bring a flashlight for the haunted maze on Friday and Saturday nights. While you're visiting, you can also take a ride on a hay wagon or a cow train.
Take a Drive to See Fall Colors
October is a great month to take a drive up the Great River Road to Alton and Grafton or head west down Highway 94. The changing leaves give colorful beauty to the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
Some of the region’s most dramatic scenery is found along the winding road north of Alton, Illinois. Enjoy antique hunting in Alton and Grafton, have a picnic on the river, or bike the trails.
Play Paintball in a Haunted Park
Millstadt's Extreme Paintball Park transitions each October to the Haunted Paintball Park where there are several games you and your friends can play. Join 20 to 30 other people, armed with paintball guns, and ride the Haunted Paintball Hayride. You'll have to defend yourself against scary creatures like zombies and monsters.
Before you enter the haunted park, try out Zombie Laser tag with high-tech outdoor laser guns.
Mingle With the Metalsmiths
The Society for Midwest Metalsmiths hosts an annual show and sale in October where you can see the original work of 25 local metal artists and jewelers. Metalwork art ranges from the traditional to the contemporary and you'll see a variety of materials used in their work. The event is held at the First Congregational Church of Webster Groves, in Webster Groves.
At the St. Louis County Faust Park, in Chesterfield, join others for an evening with past Governor Frederick Bates, who has been at rest for over 190 years. Join Frederick and his deceased family members and a few local ghosts in the family cemetery behind Thornhill, in Faust Park.
The house will be decorated for the season and docents in period dress will explain things like mourning practices and superstitions from the era when Governor Bates was in office. All tickets must be purchased in advance by calling (314) 615-8332 or (314) 615-4386