Fall is arguably the best season to visit San Mateo County/Silicon Valley. From a sea of orange pumpkin patches and farms to farm-to-table fare, there are countless ways to experience autumn in the Best of the San Francisco Bay Area. The fall season brings a great opportunity to indulge in all your favorite fall activities and pumpkin-flavored sweet treats. Whatever your interest is, here are six reasons to start planning your fall getaway!

1. Pumpkin Patches & Farms

Here is where the fun begins! Visit Farmer John's Pumpkin Farm to see how a local farmer grows 60 varieties of pumpkins and, of course, for a tractor ride, or browse the pumpkins, squash and mini hay bales at Cozzolino’s Pumpkin Patch. Another option is Arata’s Pumpkin Farm, which features a two-acre labyrinth hay maze and haunted barn, making it a great destination for children. The farm spans six acres and also features a petting zoo and children’s train rides. Children also gravitate toward Lemos Farm's Pony Rides. The animals are gentle and parents can lead the ponies around the arena if they choose to.

Farmer John's Pumpkin Patch

2. Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay

The 48th Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival is back! This year, the dates are October 13-14; with events running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. There will be enormous pumpkins on display, live entertainment, carving stations, the Great Pumpkin Parade, a haunted house, plus several harvest-inspired crafts and plenty of food. Festival-goers may also watch Farmer Mike sculpt a 1,200-pound pumpkin into a work of art. When you get hungry, sample some sweet treats like pumpkin-flavored pancakes. Come a week early and attend the 45th Annual World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off on October 8th. Last year, Joel Holland was crowned pumpkin king setting a new American record with a gorgeous and gargantuan 2,363-pound-mega-gourd!

Pumpkin Weigh Off 2017

3. Oktoberfest!

First up is Oktoberfest Downtown Redwood City, starting Wednesday, September 19, and ending on Sunday, September 23. In true style, this celebration is complete with over 1,100 feet of "family style" bench seating, lots of merriment, music, dancing, contests, cold beer and delicious eats. Make sure to buy your tickets early! Need more Oktoberfest? We have the Peninsula Oktoberfest at the Hiller Aviation Museum on Saturday, October 13. The event will go from 6:00 – 11:00 p.m., and will feature great beer, music, plenty of sausages, bratwurst, sauerkraut and other fine fare. To close things out, the coastside joins in the fun with the Coastside Brew Fest in Half Moon Bay. The Brew Fest takes place on Saturday, October 20 at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. and will feature some of the best breweries from the Bay Area, food and more.



Large Opening Quotation Mark

From a sea of orange pumpkin patches and farms to farm-to-table fare, there are countless ways to experience autumn in the Best of the San Francisco Bay Area.


4. Visit a Glass Pumpkin Patch or Make Your Own

Half Moon Bay Art Glass will transform the grounds of La Nebbia Winery into a glistening glass pumpkin patch featuring the work of glass blower Douglass C. Brown. The event will feature hundreds of one-of-a-kind glass pumpkins available for purchase, each one personally handcrafted by Brown, who works year round to create this spectacular display. La Nebbia Winery will be open for guests to partake in wine tasting and to purchase bottles of wine, while bocce ball courts will offer fun for everyone. Feeling crafty? HMB Art Glass  offers several classes year around. Classes start as low as $40 + tax for kids 6 years old and above. Ask for the "NewClient50" special rate for up to 50% off website pricing.

HMB Art Glass Owner

5. Fall-Inspired Menus

This time of year brings great fall-inspired dishes at many of our local restaurants. In Half Moon Bay, Sam’s Chowder House is cooking up a variety of festive specials such as their lobster bisque with red kuri pumpkin, and a martini with a pumpkin twist. While over at Via Uno Cucina Italiana & Bar, they will be offering their homemade gnocchi with butternut squash purée and their authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza, with roasted butternut squash, burrata cheese, and walnuts. Furthermore, this year’s Annual Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Harvest Dinner also gives you an opportunity to celebrate fall with a four-course, farm-to-table dining experience featuring fresh local produce. This year’s Harvest Dinner will take place on Wednesday, October 10 at the Mavericks Event Center and promises to be magnificent event. Tickets are now available. 

6. Beer, Wine & Spirits!

Now, if you’re looking for fall-inspired drinks, then we definitely have options for you! Moss Beach Distillery is known for their well-crafted cocktails but this fall, they are serving their widely popular Pumpkin Spice Martini, made with Half Moon Bay Distillery’s, hand-crafted, Purissima vodka, pumpkin spice liqueur and Irish cream, served up in a martini glass with a cinnamon-sugar rim. For the beer lovers, you may head to HMB Brewing Co. to taste their Pumpkin Harvest Ale! This full-bodied Amber Ale is made with locally grown sugar pie pumpkins roasted with a secret blend of spices, which result in a subtle pumpkin pie spice flavor balanced by a biscuit of maltiness. And, for those that preferred a fine glass of wine, Pasta Moon is hosting their 15th Annual wine tasting extravaganza, VinItaly, on Saturday, October 20. This event will feature 75+ wines from all of Italy’s 20 wine tasting regions, as well as a roasted suckling pig alongside a sumptuous array of seasonally inspired antipasti.

Blog revised by the CVB from an article originally published by Megan Eileen McDonough.

See all that San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has to offer! Order a visitor guide today and start planning your trip!