Temperatures and leaves begin to drop, cozy sweaters are welcomed and the flavor of pumpkin reigns - fall is about to descend upon the Queen City.
Here's eight ways to celebrate the new season in Charlotte:
1. Fall means football.
Bust out that Panther pride gear and fire up the grill because football is back. Find the Carolina Panthers schedule here. #KeepPounding
Whether or not the Panthers are playing home, tailgating offers the ultimate fan experience. Charlotte has no shortage of locations to help you get your game face on. For tips on tailgating in the Queen City, visit the Charlotte's Got A lot travel and tourism website here.
Tours of the Panther's home, The Bank of America Stadium, are offered to the general public Wednesdays at 10am and Fridays at 10:30am and 12pm.
2. Festivals, festivals, festivals.
Charlotte is full of festivals year round, particularly during the fall season.
Upcoming fall-themed festivals include:
The U.S. National Whitewater Center's Fall Finale on October 7 and 8. This event is the finale of USNWC's summer and River Jam Concert Series. The event's website lists a build your own boat race where participants create their own river-worthy vessels to send down the whitewater competition channel as well as the sounds of the final musical performances of the year.
The Family Fall Festival, hosted by the Greater Life Chiropractic on October 15. The festival's Facebook page lists featured activities of food trucks, pumpkin painting, bouncy houses, hay-rides, vendors and a raffle. The festival is free.
Matthews Chamber Fallfest on October 22. "The festival will include a craft beer festival, cornhole tournament, food, live music, arts & crafts, vendors and more." Admission costs between $25-$50 and is open to all ages.
3. Give summer the boot and take a hike.
"Each fall a wave of brilliant colors starts in the mountains, rolls across central, urban landscapes and eventually washes out at the coast," says the Visit North Carolina team. Their website highlights 10 hiking trails that span across the Carolinas and ensure that, "regardless the color (of leaves), your best views will come from hiking trails." They list William B. Umstead State Park, Mount Mitchell and Joyce Kilmer National Recreation Trail as their top three hikes to experience the changing colors of fall.
4. Find the perfect Halloween costume.
Halloween stores are popping up as the spooky holiday approaches.
According to the Halloween Express website, stores in Charlotte will be located on Monroe Road and Harris Boulevard in Charlotte as well as East Independence Boulevard in Matthews. Check here to see if there's a Halloween Express near you.
5. Pumpkin picking.
Pumpkin picking is great for photo-ops, family fun and to get festive for Halloween.
The Hodges Family Farm's pumpkin patch will open September 24 and run through October 31, according to their website. Activities include pumpkin patch picking, hay mountain, hay maze, hay rides (weekends) and pony rides (weekends). Admission is free.
The Hall Family Farm has been in operation for over 70 years and features a 5 acre corn maze, pumpkin picking, musical hay ride, kid activities and tours, according to their website. Admission is free.
6. Admire the fall colors.
Fall is peak leaf season and the vibrant oranges and rusty reds call for admiration. Gocarolinas.com listed their must-visit viewing spots for fall colors in the Carolinas. The top three are listed as the Grandfather Mountain, Table Rock and Chimney Rock.
7. Stomp some grapes.
Visit North Carolina lists various grape stomping events throughout the Carolinas and one particular to Charlotte. On October 1, 2016 the Great Grapes! Wine & Food Festival will be hosted in Charlotte. "Great Grapes! is Charlotte's premier casual wine tasting with HUNDREDS of wines available for tasting," the event website says. 2016 will be the event's 13th annual celebration and is located at Symphony Park in Southpark Mall.
8. Get spooked.
Multiple tours around Charlotte offer the opportunity to learn about the Queen City's history and to get in the Halloween spirit.
Carolina History and Haunts offers historic, ghostly walking tours. According to their website, customers will be guided at night by lantern light and will listen to the stories and haunts of local history and learn how the ghostly past has shaped the city of Charlotte today. Tickets for adults are $15.
Charlotte NC Tours offers ghost tours by walking, bike pub-crawl or segway.
Copyright 2016 WCNC