Forget Starbucks' infamous seasonal lattes infused with the flavors of a gourd-like squash—there's much more to ATL's autumn than that. (Besides, we prefer to get our caffeine fix at local shops.) Atlanta in the fall is rather glorious, despite its somewhat short lifespan, which is why we're prepared to milk it for all it's worth. And yes, while the weather here might be a seductive temptress who teases us with her cool snaps before returning to the upper '80s, we're still ready to pack up our jhorts and Speedos, and finally return to sweater weather (even if that means rocking your favorite Mr. Rogers-wear in the residual summer heat). With autumn comes not just the changing of leaves and the wearing of boots, but also promises of chili, zombies, parades, and a certain October Scoutmob bash that went pretty hard in the paint last year. Thus, your lights-at-the-end-of-the-overheated-tunnel:
Chomp 'n Stomp. In a season chock-full of festivals and festivities, this annual Cabbagetown chili throwdown has to be in our top three favorites. Fest-goers fill the streets of the neighborhood to peruse the legume-based stews of Atlanta's best restaurants and amateur chefs. The chili runs out pretty quickly, so we recommend strategically planning your route and keeping your spoon at the ready at all times before the wares are gone and your food coma hits. And once you do slip into a state of chili-induced bliss, there might be no better spot to bask in the sun than on the grass of the Cabbagetown or Esther Peachy Lefevre parks, soaking up the sun and the bluegrass music.
Zombies. Whether you're a horror fan or not, it's kinda awesome that Atlanta has become known for its undead. That's thanks in part to AMC's delightfully gory The Walking Dead, wherein the last stragglers of a zombie outbreak navigate their way through a post-apocalyptic land—and through an undead-ravaged Atlanta. Part of the fun in watching the show is simply trying to ID the locations, which in the past have included Freedom Parkway, an abandoned building in Castleberry Hill, a CDC-ified Cobb Energy Centre, and . And if you can't get your zombie fix from TV alone, you can do it in real life at the terrifying Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse, which takes place in an abandoned truckstop (and may or may not result in peed pants).
Freaks on parade. Perhaps the most beloved of Atlanta's All Hallow's Eve celebrations is the Little Five Points Parade, where costumes terrifying, hilarious, and downright bizarre (or all of the above) are marched through the neighborhood alongside live bands, dancers, floats, and more.
A maze of maize. You'll have to make a trek up to the northly reaches of Loganville, Dawsonville, Buford, and more, but these curious finds are worth the jaunt. Farms across the state assemble insanely intricate mazes in which you're sure to get lost, and often throw hayrides, pumpkin patches, and petting zoos into the mix.
Beer. Well, we love our brews all year-round, but the coming of the pumpkin beer sends us into an autumnal tizzy—and they're already showing up on the shelves of craft beer shops in Atlanta. We tasted the Dogfish Head take on the fall beer, and it was fall in a glass, but the folks at Ale Yeah!, Hop City, and Blind Murphy can easily guide you to the autumn beer you'll... fall in love with. (Sorry.)