The Best Fall Activities in Gilbert
Approximately ten miles southeast of Phoenix lies the town of Gilbert. It’s one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the United States. Having transformed from an agricultural community into an economically diverse suburb, Gilbert is the fifth-largest city in the Phoenix metro area.
Once known as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World,” Gilbert has become one of Arizona's best places to live. While it still retains history, Gilbert is a modern community with much to offer. One of the best times of the year to experience this area is during the fall. Whether you are looking for outdoor or indoor events (or both!), you’ll have your pick of fall activities in Gilbert. If you’re interested in fall festivals, the great outdoors, some family-friendly activities, or looking to learn something new, here’s just a taste of what you can do in and around Gilbert.
Enjoy a Fall Festival
You can’t have fall without fall festivals, and Gilbert (along with the surrounding towns) has plenty. Here are a few you won’t want to miss.
Gilbert Days Festival
The Gilbert Days Festival is a family-friendly celebration of the town’s history and heritage. The event, which takes place in November, features the highly anticipated Gilbert Days Parade. A bona fide community event, this incredible parade involves many businesses, schools, and organizations in the town. The festival also includes music, food trucks, family activities, and a kid’s zone.
Dia de los Muertos Festival
The Dia de los Muertos Festival is hosted by the Mesa Arts Center. It is an annual celebration of Latin American art and culture related to the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. It’s a free event in Mesa that includes performances, activities, and more. So not only is it a fun festival, but you’ll learn a lot, too!
Queen Creek Trunk-or-Treat
If you’ve got the grandkids visiting in mid-October, you may enjoy the Queen Creek Trunk-or-Treat. Located on Ellsworth Road between Ocotillo and Rittenhouse, it’s more than shuttling young trick-or-treaters from car to car for candy. You and your family can enjoy carnival games, food vendors, an escape room, and more. You can also take part in HayQC! — an event in which local businesses decorate a hay bale, and visitors get to vote on the one they like best.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
What’s fall without pumpkins? To some, fall doesn’t start until they visit a pumpkin patch. Fortunately, Gilbert and the surrounding areas have plenty. Here are some of the best ones.
Mother Nature’s Farm
For the perfect pumpkin close to home, look no further than Mother Nature’s Farm at 1663 E. Baseline Road. The pumpkin patch is open during the last week in October and gets new pumpkins daily. You can find ones as small as an ounce or as large as 500 pounds (with plenty of sizes in between). Your entrance fee includes a hayride, spiderweb crawl, Alexander’s Adventure Maze, and so much more. In addition, you can bring a picnic lunch or purchase snacks from the farm’s concession stand.
Celebrate the fall season with the Vertuccio Farms at 4011 S. Power Road in Mesa. Visit the pumpkin barn to find the perfect pumpkin for your porch or deck. You can also partake in the annual Vertuccio Farms Fall Festival. For the entire month of October, the farm offers the “Cooler Days in the Corn Maze,” which is part of the available outdoor festivities. You can get lost in the corn maze, turn it into a friendly competition with friends or loved ones, take a ride on the train, or partake in one of the many other events.
Another option for pumpkin picking is Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek. Here, you can get more than just a “U-pick” experience. Schnepf Farms hosts its annual Pumpkin and Chili Party, which runs for the entire month of October. Enjoy close to 45 rides and attractions, navigate the corn maze, partake in a home cooked meal, and more. It’s a fun time for all ages!
Spend Time Outdoors
Not everything you do during the fall has to involve a festival or busy event. Sometimes all you need to enjoy the harvest season is to spend time out in nature. While it’s still hot in the early fall, the temperature begins to drop as fall progresses. You’ll see why fall is the perfect season to spend some time outdoors in Gilbert!
Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch
The Riparian Preserve, located off of Guadalupe Road just East of Lindsay, combines water resource management with wildlife preservation and education. There’s also plenty of outdoor recreation to enjoy. It’s home to various species of birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and mammals. Visitors can walk, hike, bike, or ride their horses on more than 4.5 miles of trails while taking in the sights. There’s also an urban fishing lake, dinosaur dig site, and an observatory.
Red Mountain Park
Located in Mesa, Red Mountain Park is more than 1,100 acres. You can partake in various activities in this park, including pickleball, tennis, disc golf, fishing on the lake, or walking the trails. If you have your grandkids with you, they might enjoy some fresh air while burning off some energy on the shaded playgrounds.
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
San Tan Mountain Regional Park features more than 10,000 acres of Sonoran Desert beauty. You can hike trails while watching the flora change from soft-sloping steppes to lush saguaro (giant cacti) forests. Keep an eye out for the various types of birds, reptiles, and mammals. Stop by the nature center to purchase souvenirs or speak to a park ranger about the local plants and animals. Find a list of best ranked trails here.
Check Out a Museum
Gilbert is flush with history. Whether it’s a rainy day and you want to do something indoors, or you’d like to spend the day learning something new, you’ll find plenty of activity options.
Gilbert Historical Museum
If you head into downtown Gilbert (also known as the Heritage district), you’ll find the Gilbert Historical Museum. Located in HD South at the intersection of Gilbert Road and Elliot Road, the museum features all manner of artifacts chronicling the history of Gilbert. You can explore various exhibits, including Home Life, Generations, School and Community, Town, and more. Furthermore, you won’t want to miss the farm equipment in the courtyard, some of which are from the early days of Gilbert.
Arizona Museum of Natural History
The only natural history museum in the Phoenix area, the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa has over 60,000 objects of natural history, anthropology, art, and more. It also has more than 10,000 photographs. With so much to see, you may not get to everything in a single day. There are several permanent exhibitions and a few rotating ones. But even if you do get through everything in one day, you may find something new on your next visit.
Mesa Historical Museum
The Arizona Museum of Natural History showcases the region's history, but the Mesa Historical Museum focuses on the history of Mesa. Learn about the town, the founding families, the schools, and more. The museum also has a few rotating exhibits, so there’s always something new to learn. You can find more information by calling the museum directly at (480) 835-2286.
Visit Agritopia Farm
If you head into the Agritopia neighborhood, you’ll find Agritopia Farm. It’s a unique farm that preserves urban agriculture and provides a place for the community to come together. There’s so much to see and do here, including picking out your produce, taking a class, and exploring the community garden.
Every second Wednesday night starting in September, Argritopia Farm hosts “Farm Night.” This event connects urban dwellers with certified organic produce. It’s kind of like a nighttime farmer’s market. You can learn and connect with other members of the community through local vendors and great food.
Have you ever wished to grow a garden but find that you don’t have the space? Well, Agritopia Farm has a community garden you can use! You can apply for a plot of land within the farm and grow your produce. Each space has a year-long lease, with access to water and the tools in the farm shed.
Starting in early September, you can go on a tour of the farm. Tours run every second Wednesday, rain or shine. But, before you head out, don’t forget to stop into the farm store and pick up some goodies to take home.
Enjoy the Fall Season in Gilbert
One of the best things about Gilbert in the fall season is that you’ll never run out of things to do. From fun fall festivals to picking pumpkins and learning about the town's history, you’ll have your pick of activities. Don’t worry about running out of things to do during the rest of the year. Gilbert has something exciting to offer residents and visitors all year long. No matter how long you live here, you’ll always find something incredible to do.
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