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Fun things to do in Cleveland this fall

Fall is arguably Cleveland’s best season. The city and its surrounding suburbs contain an underrated network of parks perfect for taking in fall colors, including Cuyahoga Valley National Park, as well as numerous apple orchards and pumpkin patches where you can pick your own produce. Even if your idea of celebrating fall does not involve the great outdoors, the city has plenty of independent coffee shops, bookstores and thrift shops for you to peruse instead. I’ve included a selection of my favorite seasonal stops below; even making it out to just one or two of them is enough to really get you into the autumnal spirit. Have fun!

Go apple picking

Though this will require a bit of a drive from Case Western Reserve University’s main campus, what could be more quintessentially fall than visiting an apple orchard? Patterson Fruit Farm is the nearest option, a 32 minute drive from Tinkham Veale University Center, and offers multiple kinds of pick-your-own apples, including McIntosh, Empire and Cortland apples. They also have an on-site market selling donuts, pie, apple cider and maple syrup, plus a corn maze and tractor rides. Other orchards in the area include Mapleside Farms—home to one of the largest slides in America—and Pickering Hill Farms, which sells Amish jams, meats, cheeses and butters. Any of the three would make for an afternoon well spent.

Carve a pumpkin

If you need to get your pumpkin from an actual pumpkin patch, the aforementioned Pickering Hill Farms grows two acres’ worth, and Mapleside Farms puts on an entire Great Pumpkin Festival from Oct. 6-8. However, if you lack easy access to a car, pumpkins can be found for sale at Target and Whole Foods via the Target/Walmart Express Shuttle, and at J&L Market & Garden, which is a mere seven-minute walk from the North Residential Village.

Seek out fall foliage

If you didn’t know, one of Cleveland’s nicknames is “The Forest City,” and for good reason. There are more than 24,000 acres of parks in Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township, and many are only a 20 to 30 minute drive from campus. Visit Bedford, Garfield Park or Rocky River Reservation for stunning waterfalls, North Chagrin Reservation for its historic Squire’s Castle and Huntington Reservation to see another side of Lake Erie. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is just about 30 minutes away, and its falls, gorges and unique rock formations are worth every bit of the drive. All of the aforementioned parks are at least partially forested and feature gorgeous fall foliage, which comes in shades of red, gold, yellow and orange. Peak colors are in mid-October this year, but it never hurts to visit early—the parks will be pretty either way.


And if you can’t find time to get away from campus amidst studying for exams or doing homework, Wade Lagoon and Lake View Cemetery are both within walking distance and are also beautiful during the fall. Plus, there’s no hiking required, just strolling and picture-taking if you feel so inclined.

Sip a hot—or cold—drink

CWRU students have truly lucked out with the variety of coffee shops we have nearby. I love to walk to The Coffee House and Blue Sky Brews in between classes or on weekend mornings. Cleveland-based chains like Rising Star Coffee Roasters and Phoenix Coffee Co. can be found in multiple neighborhoods around the city, making them easy options for wherever you happen to be on a given day—the closest Phoenix is located in Coventry and is accessible by shuttle. My favorite coffee shops, though, are in Ohio City. Lekko Coffee’s Cafe Miel—a latte made with honey and cinnamon—is perfect for fall and Duck Rabbit Coffee serves sophisticated blends of coffee and espresso that are best enjoyed straight-up. While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out West Side Market and maybe a brewery if you’re of age.

See the Rocky Horror Picture Show

While CWRU Film Society’s Rocky Horror Picture Show is always a hit, and a great introduction to Rocky Horror, the show at Cedar Lee Theatre with the shadow cast Simply His Servants is an institution. It’s the longest-running theatrical show in Cleveland, with monthly screenings going back all the way to 1988. This fall, you can catch the cast’s upcoming Saturday shows at Cedar Lee on Oct. 7, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, and at the Apollo Theater on Friday, Oct. 13. You’re encouraged to dress up, yell and participate in the interactive show; however, you cannot bring any props into the theater or throw anything at the screen or cast.

Bonus: CWRU’s own Farm Harvest Festival

This was my favorite event on campus when I was a first-year student. Visit CWRU’s picturesque University Farm for hayrides, s’mores, cornhole, homemade beeswax lip balm, herb planting, hiking and more. The free food is always my favorite part: they serve vegetarian chili using produce grown at the farm, local apples and cider. This year, the festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, and I would highly recommend it to anyone, regardless of what year they are.

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About the Contributors
Kate Gordon
Kate Gordon, Life Editor
Kate Gordon (she/her) is a third-year student double majoring in communication sciences and disorders and cognitive science, and minoring in Spanish. Her favorite part of The Observer is being able to share her passion for movies, television, music and pop culture as a whole. When she isn’t writing or editing she likes to spend her time reading, thrifting, sipping boba and bothering her roommates.
Lucas Yang
Lucas Yang, Graphic Designer
Lucas Yang (he/him) is a second-year student studying computer science and English. He enjoys abandoning art projects, watching figure skating and distimming the doshes.

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