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Atlanta in October - Essential Trip Planning Guide

Atlanta in October is PEAK fall, y’all! The weather is generally perfect – not hot and often crisp and cool, at least in the morning. 

Ponce City Market in OctoberOctober is a beautiful time to explore Ponce City Market.

There is so much to do in Atlanta in October, from pumpkin picking to football, it’s a good thing there are 31 days to enjoy it. 

On this page you'll find:

Atlanta Pride

Unfortunately, Atlanta Pride, one of the the best things to do in Atlanta in October, has been cancelled for 2021 due to Coronavirus. Here's hoping Atlanta Pride in 2022 will more than make up for it! 

Atlanta Pride is one of the oldest and largest Pride festivals in the country – 2021 will mark its 50th anniversary! More than 300,000 people attend annually as Atlanta is known as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the country. While June is Pride Month and most cities host their Pride festivals then, Atlanta has hosted its event in October since 2008 on the weekend closest to National Coming Out Day. The 2021 Atlanta Pride Festival will be held 10/8-10/10 at venues around the city, kicking off with a party at the Georgia Aquarium. The festival will be in Piedmont Park and the finale will be a parade on the final day. 

Midtown's rainbow crosswalksMidtown's famous rainbow crosswalks.

Atlanta in October - Halloween

Atlanta in October can be summarized by one word: Halloween. Halloween is a BIG DEAL in The ATL – so much it can’t be celebrated on just one day. Since Halloween will be on a Sunday in 2021, the weekend will be full of activities, but really, we don’t miss a beat and celebrate Halloween all month long. 

Atlanta in October - Little 5 Points Halloween Festival & Parade

The best Halloween event is the Little 5 Points Halloween Festival & Parade, AKA Monsterfest, which will be October 15 through 17. Little 5 Points (L5P) is Atlanta’s funkiest neighborhood and the festival is the perfect reflection of it. The festival has something for everyone, from little kids to very grown up people and the parade is legendary. Costumes are a must! If you take kids (and you should) just be aware that there will be some bawdy costumes. 

Atlanta in October - Oakland Cemetery Capturing the Spirit of Oakland

Historic Oakland Cemetery is one of my favorite places to go all year long, but as you can imagine, it takes on a whole different vibe for Halloween! Atlanta in October is made for Oakland Cemetery.

Capturing the Spirit of Oakland runs from 10/13-10/31 and is a nighttime tour of the historic cemetery, which is the final resting place of many of Atlanta’s most famous residents, from governors to golfers. Costumed guides tell the “residents’” stories. A VIP night includes dinner and adult beverages. This event – with multiple sessions a night – sells out, but you can always try to get tickets through the venue, too. 

Historic Oakland CemeteryHistoric Oakland Cemetery's Halloween tours.

Atlanta in October - Boo at the Zoo

This annual event at Zoo Atlanta is an absolute favorite for kiddos! Children can trick or treat throughout the zoo, dance at the Monstor Mash Disco, play carnival games and enjoy other fun activities. And of course, they get to enjoy the zoo (including my favorites, the pandas). Boo at the Zoo is 10/23, 10/24, 10/30 and 10/31 – it is NOT every day. So, plan accordingly. Admission comes with your general ticket, but you also need to buy extra tickets to ride the train, which every kid wants to do. 

Atlanta in October - Halloween Half Marathon/5K

The Atlanta Halloween Half Marathon/5K will take place on 10/31, starting and ending in Piedmont Park. The Half Marathon course will take you through Atlanta’s historic neighborhoods, and the 5K will take you all through the Park. Costumes are encouraged! 

Atlanta in October - Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival

The Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival, Play by Day, Glow by Night, runs from 9/18 to 10/31. During the day, you can walk around Stone Mountain and take in the fall foliage and take part in the pumpkin festivities, from pie eating contests to carving. At night, the park is lit up throughout, from glow-in-the-dark characters to a parade. 

Atlanta in October - Sporting Events

Atlanta in October will feature some intense games, from MLB to NCAA games. 

Georgia Tech and other NCAA Football

I am a HUGE college football fan, and while my team isn’t close to me, I follow the local college teams, mostly the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets. They play in Historic Bobby Dodd Stadium and have two home games in October – 10/2 versus Pitt and 10/30 versus Virginia Tech.  

Georgia State University Panthers play two home games at Center Parc Stadium on 10/2 and 10/23. And the HBCU Clark Atlanta University Panthers also are home 10/9 and 10/30. 

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have two home games in October, on 10/3 against Washington (the team with no name) and on 10/31 against division rival the Carolina Panthers. You can also watch them take on the New York Jets in London on 10/10! But it’s easier to go to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Atlanta Braves

If the Atlanta Braves are in the hunt for the pennant, October can be a nail-biter. Given the late season collapses they are known for, it’s hard to predict where they will be. Either way, the Atlanta Braves close out the regular season at home against the New York Mets at Truist Park at The Battery Atlanta.

Atlanta United FC

Atlanta’s MLS team has three home games in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in October: against New York City on 10/20, Inter Miami on 10/27 and Toronto on 10/30. They haven’t had a great season, but the games are a lot of fun. 

Atlanta in October - Music

Atlanta in October will feature an amazing music, at venues large and small. You can see the full month here.

But here are some of my picks:

  • Lady A - 10/2 Ameris Bank Amphitheatre (this is in the suburbs)
  • Elvis Costello & The Imposters – 10/19 Coca-Cola Roxy at The Battery Atlanta
  • Clint Black – 10/22 Atlanta Symphony Hall
  • Harry Styles – 10/27 and 10/28 State Farm Arena
  • Cowboy Mouth – 10/28 Variety Playhouse
  • The Avett Brothers – 10/30 The Fox Theatre
  • Shaky Knees 10/22-10/23 Central Park  This two-day festival features a diverse lineup of rock bands across three stages, from The Foo Fighters to The Strokes to Modest Mouse. There also are kids’ stages and a food truck festival.

Atlanta in October - Festivals & Events

Atlanta in October showcases the city's love of festivals  with several free and ticketed festivals on tap. 

AJC Decatur Book Festival, 10/2 – This has long been one of the biggest book festivals in the United States, the event this year will be smaller and shorter, with several readings and discussions on the calendar. 

The Atlanta Pizza Festival, 10/2 - This festival will definitely satisfy your pizza cravings. It is in Atlantic Station from 12 - 6 pm and is suitable for all ages. Tickets are $15 in advance.

Oakhurst Porchfest, 10/9 – Porchfests are grassroots porch festivals all over the country and the one in Atlanta has grown to be one of the most beloved festivals in the city. It’s exactly what it sounds like – people host bands on their porches! You wander around and listen to cool music. The festival is free and you can visit many of the local restuarants in the area. And you can BYOB.

Festival on Ponce, 10/9-10/10 – This free arts and crafts festival in historic Olmstead Linear Park brings more than 100 exhibitors, a children’s play area, and a food festival to part of the city designed by the famous landscape architecht, Frederick Law Olmstead Sr. 

Atlanta in October - Art & Culture

Atlanta has a wonderful array of options for art and cultural events, from theatre to museums. 

The Fabulous Fox Theatre takes a break from plays and musicals in October but will host a number of great concerts, plus a viewing party for the Atlanta Pride Parade. 

The Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown features the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre. It has two stages – the Coca-Cola Main Stage and the Hertz Black Box Stage – and has a full roster of shows scheduled starting in September. 

The Center also houses the High Museum of Art which features some wonderful permanent collections. Admission is free the second Sunday of every month!

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra also is housed here; there are several classical and pop culture shows. Opening Night is Sept. 9. 

Check out some of the other theatres in Atlanta, including Center Stage, 7 Stages, Horizon Theatre and Actors Express for more independent options – some of which are streaming versus in person. 

For some virtual art, check out the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience at Pullman Yards. Housed in a circa-1900 manufacturing plant and train depot, the exhibit showcases Vincent Van Gogh’s life. But the best part of this exhibit is the 20,000 square foot light and sound display of his amazing work. Buy the extra virtual reality ticket, too. This event is scheduled to be in Atlanta through 2021.

The Illuminarium on the Atlanta BeltLine is a virtual reality safari experience, featuring hi-res images, laser projection, 3D audio and other sensory experiences – including scent. On weekends there’s a bar – unsurprisingly. Tickets start at $35.

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