Fall foliage, autumn harvests, wine tasting, and more! Find out why these popular California destinations transform and give a whole new kind of experience after the autumnal equinox.
While most people drive to Napa Valley during the grapes’ harvest season, there are some who prefer to pay the world-famous wine country a visit during the fall season. For starters, fall in Napa begins after Labor Day (September 4) and lasts until October.
During this time, the temperature in Napa Valley is definitely cooler and there’s less chance you’ll encounter a huge crowd. You’ll have peace and quiet, taking your sweet time savoring and smelling the rich tones in your wine, plus you’ll probably have an attendant all to yourself.
Napa Valley boasts of more than 400 wineries, which truth be told, you wouldn’t be able to visit all even if you stay there for a month. We suggest you plan your trip ahead, do your research about the best vineyards in town, and round up your list afterward.
After having a sip (or a gulp maybe) of their prized Cabernet Sauvignon, you can also:
- Take a hot air balloon ride and get a majestic view of the vineyards from up above.
- Soak your worries away in the therapeutic hot springs and mud baths of Calistoga.
- Stay in romantic or swanky hotels in the area.
- Go on a food adventure and hit all the culinary hotspots in Napa.
But of course, nothing beats the stunning display of autumn colors in the vineyards, which is a simply spectacular mix of red, gold, and green.
According to history, people have been flocking to Julian since the late 1800s in search of gold, which the town is teeming with back then. These days, the small town still draw crowds but for a different reason: its apples.
Dubbed as the Apple Country of California, the fall season is the busiest time of the year in Julian since this is the time when autumn does its magic to the leaves and the apples are ripe for the picking. The place is well known for having all kinds of apple varieties, even those you’ve likely never heard of.
Other than apple picking and filling your belly with some of the most appetizing apple pies ever, you can also go on a walking tour or go antique hunting in this quaint town.
Santa Ana Artists Village, Orange County
During the fall season, Santa Ana lets you channel your inner Frida Kahlo peeking into the studios of local artists while enjoying the cool breeze and the fall leaves on its tree-lined streets.
Situated in Orange County, Santa Ana’s old town splendor will effortlessly work its way into your heart, especially during fall when the temperature’s a bit more forgiving. Spend a lazy weekend by yourself or with friends and family marveling at the vintage-looking brick buildings, Spanish-inspired architecture, intricate fountains, and checking out the cute little cafes.
A compact and walkable neighborhood, here are some fun things you can do in Santa Ana Artists Village:
- Visit in November. Experience the one-of-a-kind and colorful celebrations of Dia de los Muertos and Noche de Altares (Night of the Altars) in this mostly Latino community.
- First Saturday Artwalk. Since 1999, local artists in Downtown Santa Ana have been opening their doors, over 40 studio galleries, to the public for free every first Saturday of the Month.
- Try the affordable yet promisingly delicious restaurants in the area. We hear everyone raving about Gypsy Den, Lola Gaspar, and Memphis at the Santora.