Hey y’all! I couldn’t be happier because it FINALLY feels like FALL outside! We have our first week of weather in the 60s and 70s and I can’t even wait. I can actually wear a SWEATER outside without profusely sweating. It’s the little things, y’all.
The time from the first day of fall to New Year’s Eve is my absolute favorite time of year. All of my favorite things happen here: football season, sweata weatha, pumpkins, trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving… The list could go on and on! Also, in case you haven’t heard me talk about it (which is impossible bc I’m always talking about Drew), Drew and I fell in love in fall when we were in college. I have so many good memories of our first dates, our first holidays together, and wow my allergies must be bad because my eyes are getting MISTY right now.
Basically, Drew and I are fall date pros, so I’m giving you our seven best fall date ideas. We also did a lot of these fun things when we were in college and straight up BROKE, so even if you’re dating on a budget, you might find some of these ideas will work for you too!
GO TO A PUMPKIN PATCH
Ok, I know this is at the top of everyone’s date list, but have you actually gone to a pumpkin patch on a date??? If you haven’t, you’re seriously missing out. I LOVE pumpkins (I would actually keep them around my house all year if they wouldn’t start rotting and then I would probably cry. It would be a whole big thing) so we go to a pumpkin patch every year in October. Last year we went to three pumpkin patches in one day- it was the best day of my life.
Pumpkin patches are so fun- sometimes they have hay rides, sometimes you can pick your own pumpkin, sometimes they even offer special treats like apple cider! And the best part is, going to an actual pumpkin patch is FREE. You can just go and people watch, hold a lot of pumpkins, take some cute pics, and not have to spend a dime. They’re also SO fun with kids, so if you have little ones, it would be a fun outing for them too!
BONUS DATE: If you actually get a pumpkin or two at the pumpkin patch, you can go home and decorate!
If you live in the Triangle, here are some of our fave pumpkin patches:
TRY A NEW COFFEE SHOP//BREAKFAST JOINT
This is one of Drew’s FAVORITE things to do. Put down your Starbucks cups, and branch out! Is there a coffee shop in your town that you’ve always wanted to try? Fall is the ideal time to check out new new coffee and breakfast places because they have fall menu features. If you think a PSL from Starbs is good, wait until you a fall specialty drink from a local coffee shop. The best pumpkin drink I’ve ever had is from Global Village in Raleigh- it’s literally like fall in a cup. Another Broken Egg also has pumpkin waffles that will have you drooling as soon as they hit your table.
Pick out a place that you’ve been dying to visit, or just open up Google maps and go to the first local place that pops up when you type in “coffee.” It’s always an adventure and I 100% guarantee that a good story will come from this date. Also, some local coffee shops have books or board games to enjoy while you’re having your treats! Drew and I always play Scrabble (but we usually bring our own because we’re the most bougie nerds EVER).
Here are some great places- some local, and some are all around!
GO TO A STREET FESTIVAL
We started going to a local festival called SparkCon when I was in high school because I used to participate in their street painting competition. So many good fall festivals pop up around the end of September- art festivals, beer festivals, food truck rodeos, and more! All you have to do is Google “street festival” in your area- I just tried it and 8 different things popped up in Raleigh for this weekend. We’re going to go to all 8 of them (just kidding).
Most festivals are free entry, so you can just hang out and walk around if you want. It’s usually really good people watching, too. It’s a great way to get connected to your local community- you might get to learn about shops and restaurants you’ve never heard of, or try out places you didn’t know about! One of my favorites in the Triangle is East Meets West Festival– it has music and dance performances all day, local restaurants and exhibitors, and really cool craft vendors. This year they even had Salem from Salem & Co. out (remember her from my post about TCBF?), so I got to snag a pair of cute earrings for myself AND get an early start on my holiday shopping. Win, win.
DRIVE AROUND WITH YOUR WINDOWS ROLLED DOWN
Conner, this sounds like a weird date. Ok, like I mentioned earlier, I am a fall date professional, so just trust me. There have been SO many times where Drew and I couldn’t decide what we wanted to do or where we wanted to go, so we just hopped in the car, bumped up the tunes, and drove around until we saw something interesting.
One of the absolute worst things to do with your SO is to decide where to eat/what to do on the weekends/what to do when you have a free moment. This activity takes the pressure off of both people and you’ll have a blast jamming out and singing at the top of your lungs (yes, that is a required part of the date). This is how we’ve found some of our favorite spots and created some of our favorite memories. One time in college, we couldn’t figure out what to do for dinner, so we drove around downtown Raleigh until we ended up at the Cook-Out on Western Boulevard. Best burgers we’ve ever had.
BONUS DATE: If you have the time, take a mini road trip! It doesn’t have to be somewhere crazy- there are a LOT of cool places that make great day trips. It will satisfy your travel bug and keep you in your budget (AND be the most fun date EVER).
Check out this website for cool trips in your state!
GO TO A GAME/CONCERT/PERFORMANCE
Ok, this is not a budget-friendly option, but there are so many fun things to do in the fall. If you start planning and saving early, you can add this fun date/treat to your schedule! In the Triangle, there is literally a big sporting event going on every weekend in the fall- sometimes during the week too! Gear up, and head out to support your favorite team! Drew and I went to 4 Virginia Tech football games last year- sometimes teams will do group packages so you can go to several games and save money on tickets. If you don’t want to spend money on pricey stadium food, tailgate ahead of time!
As the weather cools down, events calendars everywhere start to fill up. Check out a local music venue and see who’s coming to town- MAYBE IT’S TAYLOR SWIFT?? If you can’t swing tickets to T Swift, see who’s coming to your favorite local restaurant. So many restaurants have live music during the weekends, so you can grab a bite AND enjoy a great local artist. Park West Village has their Acoustic Nights series every Friday and Saturday night through October, and it’s FREE! Jam out to local musicians- you can even grab take out from your fave restaurant and enjoy on the lawn!
BONUS DATE: If you’re going out of town for a concert/game, you can make it into a fun road trip! Drew and I used to get up at 5am to drive up to Blacksburg for the VT games, and we would always stop at Chickfila for breakfast on the way, and grab drinks at our favorite Bburg joint before the game! Ah, the memories.
BAKE SOMETHING TOGETHER
Around the holidays, I am a baking FIEND. I love to bake, and I love the holidays, so baking holiday cookies is basically my Olympics. We try out different recipes, have our standard faves, and package a lot of them up to give to friends and family. Baking together can be the Hallmark movie date you’ve always pictured. Flour everywhere, licking the bowls clean, and making your home smell like a Bath & Body Works candle for days.
A fun part about baking together with your SO is you get to learn more about them. Baking is how I learned that Drew LOVES vanilla and hates caramel. Baking is how Drew learned that I have no fear of salmonella and will lick literally every bowl and spatula clean before we wash them. It’s a fun way to be together doing something that’s normally stressful (cooking dinner during the weeks is usually not a fun task). Not into baking? Make a recipe you’ve always wanted to try!
Here are some of our favorite recipes:
What are your favorite fall dates? Let me know in the comments below!