112 favorite things to do in the fall—the best autumn bucket list
Are you looking for the best fall activities to do in college? What are fun things to do in college with your roommate or friends?
If you’re making the most of the warm days of September, planning your October to-do list, or creating a November bucket list, you’ll love this list of the best fun (free or cheap) fall activities to do in college!
Here, you’ll find ideas for things to do on fall break, autumn weekends, or just a weekday afternoon. Because fall is a beautiful season and college is the perfect place to enjoy autumn with friends!
This list has 112 of all the autumn activities for college students that you don’t want to miss.
Whether you want to stay on campus or take a break from university life, this list will help you find the perfect things to do this fall season.
This list includes adventurous outdoor events, cozy indoor fall activities, and the best flavors of autumn. Because who doesn’t love watching the leaves change colors, wearing cozy sweaters, and eating apple and pumpkin pie!
These favorite activities for fall are perfect to do solo, in groups, or as a couple. It’s the ultimate list of fun fall activities to do in college!
112 fun activities for college students to do this autumn
1. Break out your fall wardrobe
Wear sweaters in autumn colors, layer on a cute jacket, or just add flannel.
2. Drink apple cider
See if you can find a local apple orchard with a cider mill. Some even let visitors help make the cider.
3. Host a funny Movie marathon
4. Make a wreath to decorate your dorm room door
Wreaths have to be the easiest and most cheerful of all fall crafts! A quick trip to a craft store and some creativity is all you need.
5. Celebrate Pumpkin spice everything
Love it or hate it, Pumpkin Spice Latte is the flavor of the season. Have your PSL and enjoy every sip.
Don’t like coffee? Try this pumpkin spice tea!
6. Go to a fall carnival or county fair
Search out local fall festivals or fairs near your college campus. Boardwalk games, fun rides, and carnival food–what more could you want?
7. Eat Apple cider donuts
You can buy these at an apple orchard or make them. Either way, they’ll be delicious!
8. Visit a Haunted house
Seek out a local haunted house to go to with your friends. You can all scream together. Haunted houses are more fun with friends!
9. Visit a pumpkin patch
Visiting a local pumpkin patch is an essential fall activity. Pumpkin patches often have lots of things to do besides just pumpkin picking, so find the best one near your college and make a day of it.
10. Carve Jack-o-lanterns
After you get your pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, break out the carving tools and create a one-of-a-kind jack-o-lantern. Have a pumpkin carving contest and give prizes for creative categories.
11. Roast pumpkin seeds
It’s easier than you might think. I like this recipe.
12. Paint pumpkins
If carving pumpkins seems like too much work, you can always just paint them! (If paint and brushes are one of those things you never thought to take to college, you can buy these!)
13. Host a Halloween party
Brainstorm Halloween party theme ideas with your friends. Plan awesome costumes, then invite everyone you know!
14. Make caramel apples
This recipe could not be easier. Wash and dry apples, then jab them with a skewer. Unwrap caramels and melt them. Dip the apples in the caramel. If you want to get fancy, you can then dip the caramel-covered apples in nuts, sprinkles, or candy.
15. Host a scary Movie marathon
16. Go on a fall picnic
Take advantage of the warmest part of the day, and plan your picnic for late afternoon. Pack a picnic basket with sandwiches or snacks, a thermos of something warm, and a few cozy blankets.
17. Read a good book
Take a break from course assignments and read for pleasure. Find a great novel at the library or bookstore and settle into a comfy chair.
18. Decorate your dorm room for fall
19. Collect leaves
As you walk around your university campus, notice leaves with unusual coloring, patterns or shapes. Save them in a notebook and bring them home with you. This is a great way to bring the season inside!
20. Go Apple picking
Find a nearby orchard or local farm and go pick apples. Apples just taste better when you pick them yourself!
21. Volunteer at a homeless shelter
As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, find out how you can help people who are more exposed to the elements. Your college should have a list of community organizations that need volunteers.
22. Play card games with friends
Get together with your friends to spend the evening playing cards.
23. Go to the farmer’s market
Enjoy the bounty of fall by visiting a farmers market and buying fall fruits and vegetables. You can also find decorative gourds and flowers for your dorm room. And if you’re lucky, there will be homemade baked goods for sale.
24. Drink Salted caramel lattes
I personally think salted caramel is awesome all year round, but it’s definitely earned a spot as top flavor of fall.
25. Make a fall playlist
Put your favorite autumn tunes in a playlist and share it with your friends.
26. Go Leaf Peeping
Take a scenic drive to check out the fall foliage. If you go to college where the leaves change color, fall is a perfect time to go explore nearby towns and markets!
27. Get lost in a Corn maze
Find out if a farm or orchard near your college has a corn maze. All corn mazes are different, so each one will be a new challenge!
28. Enjoy Outdoor concerts
Before the weather gets too cold, go listen to live music outdoors. You may get to hear bands on campus, or you may have to venture to an outdoor concert off campus. Either way, bring a jacket!
29. Go shopping for Halloween costumes
You can venture into a Halloween boutique to try on ready-made costumes.
Or you might set off on an adventure to create your own costume from thrift store finds. Have fun seeing what your friends find!
30. Go out for hot chocolate
Make a study session more fun or catch up with friends over a mug of hot chocolate.
31. Go to the homecoming game
Don’t miss your college’s homecoming game and other homecoming weekend festivities.
Even if you’re not a football fan, you want to show up for this, wearing your school colors, of course!!
32. Watch all the College sports
Take advantage of free or cheap tickets to your college’s football, basketball, volleyball, field hockey, and soccer games. Go cheer on your classmates as they compete and show off your school spirit.
For some, tailgating might be the best part of college football season. You can buy tickets to your university’s tailgate event or set up your own table with snacks and drinks. Tell all your friends to join you!
34. Sunday football games
If watching sports outdoors isn’t your thing, watch Sunday football games from the comfort of the couch. Wear your team’s jersey and get ready to cheer for your favorite team!
35. Go roller skating
If your college town has a roller rink, you should make rollerskating part of your back-to-college tradition.
36. Practice yoga outside
You on your yoga mat, with leaves falling all around you: it’s the perfect way to focus your mind and relax your body.
Do you need other ideas to manage stress in college?
37. Borrow a dog
Ask a friend or professor if you could take their dog for a long walk or play fetch for an afternoon.
If you’re missing your pet at home or just need a break from people, spending a day with someone else’s pup might be just what you need.
38. Go to an Oktoberfest
Celebrate fall with German sausages, carnival games, and polka dancing. A fall festival like Oktoberfest is guaranteed to be a good time!
39. Bake a pumpkin pie
To make a pumpkin pie, you don’t need to roast a pumpkin or make crust from scratch. Just use a store-bought crust and a can of pumpkin. It doesn’t get much easier than this recipe.
40. Make all the apple desserts
Why choose one? Apple pie, apple strudel, apple turnovers, apple crisps–they’re all delicious! This is a great roundup of apple recipes.
41. Go on a Hayride
It’s a fall classic!
42. Bundle up for the beach
If your college is near a beach, grab a warm jacket and head to the shore. Take a long walk along the beach or sit and watch the waves. You’ll probably have the beach all to yourself in the off-season.
43. Fly kites
All you need is a kite, an open area, and some wind. Bonus points if you actually you get the kite to fly!
44. Go bowling
Grab your new friends or someone special and head to the bowling alley.
45. Do something nice for someone else
Think of a random act of kindness you can do for a roommate, classmate, friend, or someone you barely know. A random act of kindness is a great opportunity to make someone else’s day better!
46. Find a fireplace
Warm up by a fireplace on campus, in a nearby cafe, or even at a local bookstore.
47. Play touch football
Enjoy the last sunny days of fall by getting a group together to play touch football on the quad.
48. Light Fall-scented candles
49. Bake molasses cookies
Molasses is an overlooked, under-appreciated fall flavor. These are very tasty.
50. Add some autumn polish
Give your nails some fall color with a dark, moody shade or a bright, happy orange.
51. Go on a hike
Visit a nearby state park and spend the day traipsing through the woods. Hiking is one of the all-time best outdoor activities.
52. Take an overnight backpacking trip
If you’ve mastered the day hike, pack up some lightweight camping gear and plan an overnight backpacking trip.
53. Have a fall photo shoot
So easy and so fun. Find the spots on campus with the best fall foliage or spooky vibes for some quality time with your peeps.
54. Bake snickerdoodles
Need another idea for cookies? The cinnamon-y snickerdoodle is perfect for fall.
55. Play Ultimate Frisbee
A game of ultimate frisbee on the college green is a fall classic. All you need is a frisbee and some friends.
56. Face painting
Face painting is a staple of every fall carnival. Even though you’re an adult away at college now, face painting is still fun! Take turns painting your friends faces.
57. Have a Pumpkin toss contest
See who among your friends can throw a pumpkin the farthest.
58. Roast Marshmallows and make s’mores
Gather around a bonfire (or a s’mores maker) to roast marshmallows. Add graham crackers and chocolate, and you’ve got the perfect fall treat.
59. Visit a museum
When you’ve had enough outdoor fall activities, step into an art gallery, science center, or history museum for an afternoon.
60. Take a ghost tour
See if there’s a ghost tour near your university. Learn some local history and get spooked all at the same time.
61. Visit an old cemetery
Cemeteries are often hauntingly beautiful, especially when the leaves are falling. It’s the perfect time of year to take a stroll through a nearby cemetery and check out the dates and epitaphs on the tombstones.
62. Go birdwatching
There are birdwatching clubs all around the country, so there’s sure to be one near your college.
63. Volunteer at a trunk or treat for kids
Sad you won’t be trick-or-treating any more? The next best thing is making the magic happen for young kids. Look for an opportunity to volunteer at a local trunk-or-treat.
64. Ride bikes on a scenic trail
If you don’t have a bike, see if you can rent one from your college or a local bike store. Spend a day pedaling along a scenic trail among the falling leaves.
65. Go away for the weekend
Sometimes you really need a change of scenery. Take a weekend to go home or visit a friend on another campus. If you’re on a rural college campus, head to the city. And if your university is urban, spend some time in a small town.
66. Volunteer at an animal shelter
Animal shelters always need help. Spending some time playing with animals might be the perfect study break for you.
67. Run a 5K
Now that the weather’s cooler, enjoy running outside again. There are lots of fun fall-themed 5Ks, so register for a ghost chase or a turkey trot. Convince a group of friends to run with you!
68. Play board games
Pick your favorite board game, invite your friends, and enjoy an evening of fun.
69. Celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival
The Chinese Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is celebrated in China and by people of Chinese descent around the world. It usually occurs in September or October.
Find out if your college’s international center or a neighborhood in your city will host any Chinese Moon Festival events.
70. Go rock climbing
Join your school’s outdoor club or find a friend with climbing gear. Fall days are perfect for rock climbing.
71. Make fall-themed trail mix
Add candy corn, pumpkin seeds, Chex mix or Cheerios, raisins, chocolate chips, Reese’s Pieces or autumn-colored M&Ms, and nuts. Delicious!
72. Visit a historic home
Tour a historic home near your campus. Some historic houses even have fall-themed tours.
73. Eat soup and chili
Enjoy warm, hearty soups and chilis. Whether you’re getting meals at your dining hall or cooking for yourself, soup and chili are fall staples.
74. Learn the Thriller dance moves
All you need is YouTube to show you how–and then a party to show off your new skills.
75. Buy someone a coffee or tea
A small thoughtful gesture could really make someone’s day. If you’re grabbing a coffee or tea for yourself, get one for the person you’re going to meet–a tutor, a friend, or a co-worker.
76. Go to an on-campus theater production
Support your fellow college students by watching them perform in plays or dance performances.
77. Call your parents
If you haven’t actually talked to your parents in a while, call or FaceTime to catch up.
78. Host a friendsgiving
This is such a fun thing to do right before everyone heads home for Thanksgiving break. Make it a potluck or order the meal pre-cooked from a local grocery store. Invite all the new people you’ve just met at college–the more the merrier!
79. Visit a nearby small town
Go explore a town near campus. Check out the shops there, walk around the town, and have lunch in cute cafe. You don’t have to go far to have a new adventure.
80. Host a murder mystery party
Make up your own mystery or buy a murder mystery kit. Then set the stage for a scary evening with themed food, costumes, and decor.
81. Go to a drive-in movie theater
Drive-in move theaters are usually open well into autumn, until the weather is really cold.
82. Host an evening of scary tales
Invite your friends to tell their favorite ghost stories or read aloud from classic scary tales. Anything by Edgar Allan Poe should do the trick!
83. Go camping
84. Visit botanical gardens
If there is a botanical garden or arboretum near you, go visit!
85. Visit a petting zoo
Spend an afternoon enjoying the absolute cuteness of baby farm animals.
86. Go to an escape room
Being locked in a room is pretty scary! See if you and your friends are smart enough to escape!
87. Go trail running
For a more strenuous hike, take on the trails at a nearby local or state park.
88. Listen to a guest lecture
Your university brings dozens of impressive guest lecturers to campus every year.
Whatever your interests, there is someone speaking on a topic that you want to know more about. Just make it a priority to go.
89. Go to an off-campus café
Getting tired of the dining hall at this point in the school year? Find a cafe or coffee shop off-campus for a treat.
90. Celebrate Dia de los Muertos
Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican holiday, generally celebrated on November 1 and 2 to honor deceased relatives. Ask at your school’s international center to see if there are any Dia de los Muertos campus events planned.
91. work a puzzle
Puzzles are great because you can leave them out and work on them as you have time. They’re a great diversion from studying. And it’s so satisfying when you finally put in that last piece!
92. Walk around campus at night
Go with a friend or group for safety’s sake. Enjoy a quiet walk around campus at night. Look for any particularly interesting shadows or spooky nooks. Keep your flashlight handy!
93. Find a great scarf and hat
Crisp fall weather means cool accessories. Find a new favorite hat and scarf combination to wear on campus in the fall.
94. Learn how to knit
Learn how to knit and you can make your own scarf and hat! Many college students find that knitting helps them focus.
95. Break out your boots
Keep your feet warm in cute and practical boots. You might need rain boots, snow boots, fleece boots, booties, or tall boots, depending on where you go to college. Don’t forget boot socks for extra warmth in cold weather!
96. Go mountain biking
Take your mountain bike on the trails to get out in nature and decompress from the stress of college. You may be able to rent mountain bikes from your college or a local bike shop.
97. Tour local Halloween decorations
Walk or drive around your college town to check out all the fun or scary Halloween decorations.
98. Celebrate Diwali
Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the major holidays celebrated in India and by people of Indian descent living in the United States. It occurs in October or November. Find out if there’s a celebration happening on or near your college campus.
99. Go stargazing
Grab some blankets and pack a thermos of hot chocolate and some cookies. Head out to an area with limited light pollution, and watch the night sky. You could also see if your college has an observatory.
100. Be thankful
Make a list of everything and everyone you’re thankful for. Especially if you’re feeling lonely or stressed, take a few minutes to reflect on what you’re thankful for.
101. Write letters of gratitude
Now’s a great time to send a note or email to your high school teachers who wrote letters of recommendation for you. They would love to know how you’re doing in college.
Or send a note to your grandparents telling them how much you miss them and appreciate them. You won’t regret taking time to tell people they matter to you.
102. Rake leaves
If you’ve met someone who needs a hand, offer to rake leaves for them. It’s a fun fall activity and you’ll feel good about helping someone out.
103. Jump into a pile of leaves
After you do the raking, throw yourself into the pile of leaves. There’s a reason you loved doing this as a kid!
104. Take a long walk in the rain
105. Bring candy to class on Halloween
This idea is all treat, no trick.
106. Read your friends’ tarot cards
107. Watch Thanksgiving movies
Hosting a movie night is a fun activity when colder weather keeps you indoors. Definitely a top November bucket list idea!
108. Go ice skating
Ice skating is the perfect opportunity to rock your cold weather gear. It’s a great autumn activity for college students on a date or going out with friends.
109. Go to antique fairs
In the fall, you can find lots of outdoor flea markets and antique fairs. It’s free or cheap to enter, and you never know what treasures you will find.
110. Host a sweater swap
Fall is sweater weather! Want to refresh your winter wardrobe for free?
Invite your friends for a sweater swap. Everyone brings at least one sweater they no longer want and takes a “new” one home.
111. Go hear live music
There are so many outdoor music festivals in the fall. See if your college is hosting any live music or find a cozy venue off campus to go to.
112. Watch the sunset
Last but not least, make time to see a few beautiful autumn sunsets. Head to a local park, waterfront, mountaintop, or other great place where you’ll have a great view of the setting sun.
Final thoughts on cheap, fun fall activities for college students
This bucket list of ideas for college students to do in autumn is pretty epic! September, October, and November are such exciting months for college students, and there’s no reason to be bored this fall.
All of these fun fall ideas are free or inexpensive, and the perfect autumn ideas for friend groups, roommates, or couples. It’s the perfect list of things to do on fall break and activities for autumn weekends.
These fall themed activities for college students will be fun, whether you’re out in the crisp air or in the comfort of your dorm’s living room!
These popular activities for college friends to do in the fall are the perfect ideas for any weather or mood this fall!
So go enjoy all these awesome ideas of fun activities college students love! Make this autumn bucket list your fall to-do list!
Thinking ahead to the holidays? Check out this list of the best holiday gift ideas for college girls!