Grab a pumpkin spice latte and your favorite cozy sweater and get ready to hit the town this month. With fall festivals, spooky haunts, and boozy celebrations in store, October’s lineup of events does not disappoint. Some are family-friendly, some are free, and all guarantee a good time in the Scenic City.
October 1-31, Thursday-Sunday Nights
For those seeking thrills and chills this Halloween, Dread Hollow is just the ticket. This award-winning attraction – located at 321 Browns Ferry Road – features terrifying haunted houses and three mind-bending escape rooms: Eugene Todd, Paranormal II, and The Lab. Timed-entry tickets are sold online only and should be purchased in advance. Note that Dread Hollow is not recommended for children under the age of 12.
October 2-31, Saturdays and Sundays
Rock City’s premier fall event celebrates its German heritage and founder Frieda Utermoehlen Carter with live music, German cuisine, specialty beer, and costumed characters. On weekends throughout October, guests can enjoy music from The Wurstbrats and The Musik Meisters, catch Birds of Prey raptor shows, and design their own pumpkins. Dining options will include bratwursts, wienerschnitzel, German chocolate cake, and oversized pretzels. Rock City’s beautiful fall foliage provides the perfect backdrop for fun for the whole family.
The Chattanooga Market boasts the area’s oldest and largest Oktoberfest celebration. Held at First Horizon Pavilion, Chattanooga Oktoberfest features the sights, sounds, and smells of the German traditions – find brats and other German-inspired fare, a biergarten with over 99 local and seasonal craft brews, Oompah music, and much more. German attire is encouraged! And, don’t miss the crowning of Mr. and Ms. Chattanooga Oktoberfest® on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m.
Food Truck and Fun Fest
Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga is hosting this fun family-friendly event to commemorate World Homeless Day, which draws attention to the needs of those who experience homelessness. From 1 until 4 p.m., the community is invited to enjoy four gourmet food trucks, live entertainment by Kerry Mills, prizes, and more at 1184 Baldwin Street. Proceeds from ticket sales will go toward ending homelessness one family at a time.
Drink & Discover: Booze Bash
Whether you’re in need of a date night or a night out with friends, the Creative Discovery Museum’s Drink & Discover: Booze Bash has you covered. From 7 until 10 p.m., the museum will be closed to kids while adults 21 and up explore with a drink in hand. The $20 admission price includes access to the museum’s exhibits, most activities, a costume contest, and light snacks. Beer, wine, and special activity tickets are an extra $5.
Looking for the perfect gift for the car enthusiast in your life? Get them a ticket to the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival! Featuring thousands of cars, the festival’s three core events are the West Village Road Rallye, The Pace Grand Prix at the Bend, and the Concours d’Elegance. Also on the docket are a charity cruise-in, live concerts, street fairs, food trucks, and more, all taking place in Chattanooga’s picturesque West Village. One-day and three-day tickets are available.
Boo in the Zoo
October 15-16, 22-23, 29-30
The Chattanooga Zoo’s most spooktacular event of the year, Boo in the Zoo is filled with merry-not-scary decorations, trick-or-treat candy stations, costume contests, a scavenger hunt, and plenty of photo opportunities. Plus, all of your favorite animals will be on exhibit! The fun lasts from 4 until 8 p.m. on three separate weekends. Timed entry tickets are available online only.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum 60th Anniversary Celebration
October 16-17, 23-24
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum has been preserving railroad history since 1961. To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the museum is offering special equipment displays, historical interpretations, demonstrations, tours of the restoration shop, and more – and families have two different weekends to join in on the fun. Both steam engine stars #4501 and #630 will be featured on the Missionary Ridge Local, a six-mile round-trip ride.
7 Bridges Marathon
Chattanooga’s oldest marathon always delights with a live DJ, event shirts, food, and so much more. Participants can choose from the marathon (which crosses four bridges downtown, as well as “upgraded” bridges on the North Chickamauga Greenway), half-marathon, relay race, 5K, and family fun run. The marathon begins at Coolidge Park at 7 a.m. All finishers will receive a medal, and awards will be presented based on age group.
This two-day event is sure to get you and your loved ones in the fall spirit. The 2nd annual Collegedale Apple Festival will feature fresh apples provided by Merciers Apple Orchard from Blue Ridge, Georgia; more than 150 craft and food vendors; a petting zoo and pony rides; and live entertainment. With free admission and free parking, there’s no excuse not to stop by! Event hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
Showcasing our state’s craft spirits and the people who produce them, the Tennessee Whiskey Festival is the perfect opportunity to taste some of the best whiskey around – you’ll even be provided with your own tasting glass at registration! Taking place in the Chattanooga Choo Choo’s Glenn Miller Gardens, this evening event will also feature live music, local cuisine, and shopping from area vendors. Festival attendees must be at least 21 years old to enter.
This Tennessee Aquarium event is a Halloween tradition for the whole family. Come in costume and join in on the celebration of all things scaly, spooky, and fun! As in years past, visitors will enjoy lights, themed decorations, and costumed divers, but there are also some new twists in the works for 2021. Register online to secure your spot.
Hand Crafted Wishes
Tickets to the 6th annual Hand Crafted Wishes at the Hunter Museum of American Art will get you unlimited samples of craft beer, cider, wine, spirits, and food from local restaurants. Rubiks Groove will be performing on the rooftop stage, while a DJ covers all the hits inside. There’s even a costume contest with prizes in store! Best of all, proceeds from the event will go to nonprofit Chattanooga Room in the Inn, which provides room and board to local women and children.