The weather is cooling imperceptibly as ‘Karl the fog’ has began to coat the city in a blanket of mist. The leaves are turning from their summer green into a pinwheel of warm hues. San Francisco college students don their Uggs and sweatpants and retreat to their San Francisco dorm rooms, like a bear to its cave, only with the intention to hibernate alongside hours of Netflix binge watching. Just like the annual cyclical ritual of a bird’s flight South in the Winter, so does your stomach promptly begin to crave Starbucks’ PSL and candy corn at the stroke of midnight on the first morning of October. Ghouls and ghosts, witches and spiders deck store windows all up and down Union Street, and some stores already have Christmas decorations up. Instagram has become flooded with photos of artfully foamed lattes with #sweaterweather punctuating a caption about ‘Falling for Fall’.
There is no doubt about it: Autumn is upon us.
Now while you may fret and bemoan the change of season, Fall in your San Francisco housing is a beautiful time of the year. The large selection of San Francisco’s amazing coffee beverages sound extra warm and comforting, and absolutely nothing sounds better than turning on those twinkle lights and settling in for a Harry Potter movie marathon in your San Francisco room rental.
But perhaps best of all, Autumn in San Francisco means pumpkin everything – pumpkin spice lattes, a million pumpkin inspired goodies at Trader Joes, cute pumpkin decorations in every window of the city, pumpkin pie, and, best of all, time for your annual trip to the pumpkin patch! Often, living in a city means few local farms and pumpkin patches to get the full pumpkin picking ~experience~. Luckily for you, the Bay Area has dozens of local farms, farm stands, and seasonal pumpkin patches where you can go to pick out your perfect pumpkin pal! Many of these pumpkin farms patches offer so much more than pumpkins – seasonal fun activities like petting zoos, corn mazes, hay rides, and haunted houses! So whether you are a Bay Area parent taking your child or a student living in San Francisco, grab your ghouls and gals, your PSLs and LOLs, and head on over to one of these fun little pumpkin patches to get spooky season off to a great start!
A few locations – Hours: varies by location – Phone: 408-393-6303
This pumpkin patch chain operates 18 pumpkin patches across the Bay Area, mostly in the city! This pumpkin patch has a ton of fun games and activities, inflatable carnival rides, photo areas, and a variety of beautiful pumpkin varieties grown on farms in the Pacific Northwest. This pumpkin patch runs from late September through October 31st. Admission is free, but there is an admission fee for children ages 2-12 that wish to play on the inflatable amusements.
185 Verde Rd., Half Moon Bay – Hours: Monday through Friday, 9am to 7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 8pm. – Phone: 650-726-7548
Arata Pumpkin Farm is the oldest working farm in San Mateo County, and features a ton of fun activities including the 2-acre Minotaur- inspired Labyrinth Hay Maze, a train ride, and a petting zoo. You can pack your own lunch and enjoy it in the picnic area! Admission is free, but the corn maze and other activities have varied fees.
850 North Cabrillo Highway, Half Moon Bay – Hours: Monday through Friday 9:30am–5:30pm; Saturday and Sunday 9:00am–5:30pm.- Phone: 650-726-4980
Half Moon Bay is the unofficial pumpkin spot, home to the world-famous Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch is best known for their wide range of pumpkins and squash – Over 60 varieties! This farm is also one of the only local pumpkin patches that wis dog friendly, so you can bring your canine best friend along for the fun! The pumpkin patch is open mid-September through Halloween.
If you really, really, really love pumpkin season and you live in the Bay Area, you won’t want to miss this landmark local festival in Half Moon Bay. Now in its 46th year, the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival is one California’s most famous fall festivals. The event features the world-championship winning biggest pumpkin of the year, a parade, fall food and activities, live music, and kid-friendly rides, games, and activities. All proceeds from the festival benefit the Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee which funds local community service organizations and civic improvements.
12320 San Mateo Rd. (Hwy 92), Half Moon Bay – Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 9:00am-5:00pm. – Phone: 650-726-2342
This farm is best for kids or forever young adults, including a variety of fun activities including hay rides, pony rides, a spooky Ghost Train, a bounce house, a petting zoo, and, best of all, the Scare Zone haunted house! The haunted house has a ‘Halloween Fun’ version for the easily spooked, and a super spooky Scare Zone for the scream enthusiasts. The farm is open every day in October. Admission is free but the activities have varied fees.
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont – Hours: Monday through Friday, noon to 7pm. Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 7pm. – Phone(510) 793-6658
Perry Farms is unique in that it is located on the historic Ardenwood Estate in Fremont, which is now an organic farm. All of the pumpkins are grown on site! The farm includes a kids-size corn-maze, character cutout photo ops, a hay pyramid and hay rides. The pumpkin patch is open every day in October. Admission is free Monday through Friday, $1.00 per person on Saturdays and Sundays. Children under two enter for free.
Santa Teresa Blvd. at Bailey Ave., San Jose – Hours: Sunday to Thursday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Friday to Saturday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. – Phone: 408-763-1093
Every fall, the cute family-owned Spina Farms opens their pumpkin patch in San Jose. This pumpkin patch features more than 60 varieties of pumpkins and a beautiful bounty of other fall produce, all grown locally in the Coyote Valley! The pumpkin patch includes a train ride, pony rides, a hay ride, and a petting zoo. This patch lets you pack your own lunch and enjoy it in their adorable picnic area, so grab some of Fall’s bounty and a piece of pumpkin bread and enjoy! The Pumpkin Patch is open starting on the 28h of September and through the month of October.
14485 Monterey Rd., San Martin – Hours: Open at 9 a.m. ; close times vary between 5-9 p.m. – Phone: 408-778-7225
This local Coyote Valley farm has so much more than pumpkin picking to offer! This local farm has a large variety of fun activities for kids and San Francisco students of all ages, including petting zoo, butterfly garden, train rides, hay rides, a corn maze, ‘pumpkin blasters’, the famous Pumpkin Pyramid (a stack of 4,000 pumpkins!), and ‘the Great Pumpkin Weigh-off’, where pumpkin farmers from throughout the west coast can enter their big orange beauts to compete for over $25,000 in prizes. Open October 1-31. Admission is free and parking is free on weekdays. On weekends, there is a parking fee of $5. Cash only.
We hope we helped kick off your pumpkin spirit this October! Happy Fall to all!
Want to read about more fun things to do in the Bay Area? Check out our other blog posts exploring SF here!
Post written by contributor Isabelle Kaplan