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12 Things to do in Louisville this October

Fall fun is in full swing with thousands of jack o' lanterns, outdoor music festivals and a whole lot of beer.

Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular | through October 31

Fall favorite Jack O'Lantern Spectacular is back at Louisville Iroquois Park for another season of Halloween fun. Visitors can stroll along a 1/3-mile path to enjoy over 5,000 carved pumpkins illuminated every evening as a part of the nightly art show. This family-friendly celebration of Fall is the perfect ending to a day of exploration and has become one of Louisville’s most popular October traditions.

St. James Court Art Show | October 1-3

Celebrating it’s 65th anniversary in 2021, the St. James Court Art Show is a juried fine arts and contemporary crafts show that brings over 600 artists to Old Louisville every first full weekend in October. The show spans 4 square blocks and is set in a neighborhood boasting the country’s largest collection of Victorian-era homes, making it a dreamy destination to add to your fall bucket list.

Boo at the Zoo | October 1-30, Thursdays - Sundays

A tradition for over 40 years, Boo at the Zoo transforms the Louisville Zoo into a living storybook, complete with some of your favorite characters brought to life, fun music and a safe place for trick-or-treating for kids 11 and under. Celebrate with an all inclusive party experience designed to give all the kooky you love with none of the spooky. A reduced nightly capacity will help with social distancing and parking is free for party guests. A Spooktacular Carousel, "not-so-itsy-bitsy" Spider House, and a Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow experience are all included with admission.

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live | October 2

Head to the KFC Yum! Center to see real-life versions of the famous hot wheels monster truck toys as they spin, jump and crash into Louisville this Fall. The event will feature popular favorites like Bone Shaker™, Tiger Shark, V8 Bomber™, and Demo Derby as well as the high-flyers of Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, Freestyle Motocross. Fans will experience exciting show action and fuel-injected playfulness with over-the-top smashing, crashing, and epic stunts.

Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art | Oct. 7 – January 2

Louisville's Speed Art Museum is known as the oldest, largest, and foremost museum of art in Kentucky and will welcome the Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art exhibit this Fall. The exhibit will include approximately 125 objects from artists as diverse as America itself, featuring paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, furniture, clothing and textiles, video, scientific instruments, and mediumistic/occult paraphernalia. From Native American spiritual traditions to the Salem Witch Trials to Afrofuturism, the exhibition tracks this country’s complex and complicated relationship to the otherworldly.

Kentuckiana Pride Parade & Festival | October 8 & 9

Held at Louisville’s Waterfront Park, the Kentuckiana Pride Parade & Festival has been a tradition for more than 20 years. Typically taking place in June, the festival has been rescheduled for 2021 to October 8 & 9. The annual parade is held on East Market Street in the popular NuLu neighborhood and marches 1.4-miles towards the Ohio River and the iconic Big Four Bridge. Headliners for this year's entertainment include Neon Trees, Todrick Hall and DJ Spinderella. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 72-hours prior to entry will be required at this event.

Garvin Gates Blues Festival | October 9

Set in Old Louisville this annual tradition is celebrating its 26th year of arts and blues music featuring national and local performers alike. In addition to continuous live entertainment from some of the best blues bands, the festival will feature an array of food and drink vendors. Garvin Gate Blues festival is Louisville's largest free street music festival. You can find the full musical lineup on their website.

Urban Bourbon Half Marathon | October 16

Presented by Jim Beam® and routed through Louisville's historic Whiskey Row and scenic Cherokee Park, this experiential event celebrates the areas 200 years of distilling history. The half marathon features exclusive bourbon experiences and a post-race party that was heralded by Runners’ World magazine as one of the "Best Half Marathon After-Parties in the Country." You must be at least 21 or older to participate in the event.

Louisville Beer Week | October 22-29

Though Louisville is known as Bourbon City, the local beer scene is hoppin' with dozens of breweries and more on the way. Louisville Beer Week celebrates that local love of the sud and combines events, drink specials, and live music across the city. While your at it pick up a Louisville Ale Trail Passport and get rewarded for drinking some local brews.

Gold Over America Tour Starring Simone Biles | October 23

Straight from the world stage, the best gymnasts in the U.S. featuring the most decorated gymnast of all-time, Simone Biles, will headline the Athleta Presents Gold Over America Tour at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday, October 23. Biles, who medaled with silver for team competition and bronze for the balance beam, will be joined by her teammates Jade Carey who won gold in floor exercise, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum who won silver for team competition and MyKayla Skinner who won silver in vault as they wow fans with some of their most famous routines.

2021 Ultimate Halloween Fest | October 29-31

Held at the newly redeveloped Paristown district, this 3-day event will be Louisville's largest outdoor Halloween party. An outdoor screening of the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show will be displayed in high definition on a massive outdoor screen with a full cast performing the movie live alongside the film. Hocus Pocus will also be screening on Halloween night, with the Louisville Crashers bringing down the house on Halloween-eve along with fire performers, aerialists, and jugglers.

Tailspin Ale Fest | October 30

Held at historic Bowman Field airport outside a World War II era airplane hangar, Tailspin Ale Fest is offers one of the most unique beer festival venues in the country. Typically held in late winter, the event has moved to October in 2021 for a special spooky edition, where beer lovers are encouraged to dress up in costume while trying out over 250 craft beers. Designated driver, general admission, and VIP tickets are all available for the event, which also includes live music, a silent disco and a variety of food trucks.

For more ideas on what to do in Louisville this Fall, click here.

To find all events happening in and around the city be sure to check out our event calendar and subscribe to our email newsletters for the latest updates on news and events.

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Jordan Skora

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