Fall colors

It may not rival what you could see in Vermont or Colorado, but the palette of changing leaves scattered over Mount Lemmon is beautiful and just an hour drive up the 25-mile Catalina Highway northeast of Tucson. This photo was taken in 2017.

Happy first week of fall, Tucson! While the rest of the country is wearing sweaters and jumping in crunchy leaves, us desert dwellers are enjoying 80+ degree days while drinking margaritas out on the patio.

Since it's really hard to tell when summer ends in a place where almost every day is a good day for shorts and flip-flops, here are a few indicators: 

1. Your AC kicks on some of the time instead of ALL of the time.

Air conditioning units are still pretty essential during the start of fall. Try these energy money saving tips and your October electricity bill will start looking like your February electricity bill in no time. Just don't go spending that extra dough on sweaters or Uggs. You won't need them here for a while.

2. Your weekends get really busy.

For Jude Nenadovich, "pumpkin lifting" may as well be an Olympic event as he struggles to pick up a pumpkin while his family watches in the background at the Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival in 2014.

With good weather and lots of events happening around town, you can't help but be out and about. Eat at one of many food festivals, pick a pumpkin or get the pants scared off you at a haunted attraction. Just get out there! If you can't decide where to start, check out This Is Tucson's To Do section filled with loads of great ideas. We even have a things to do newsletter you can sign up for here.

3. The smell of roasted green chiles waits for you in every grocery store parking lot.

It's pure magic to watch chiles spin around in a roasting drum this time of year. They're also pretty tasty, you can put green chile on just about everything — including burgers.  

4. Your fall outfits are the clothes you wore in the summer, minus the pit stains.

Don't pack up the shorts and tanks just yet. The average maximum temperature in Tucson for October is about 94 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

5. There's a sudden urge to tailgate and cheer on the Wildcats.

Wilbur gets a little off kilter during his crowd surf up the ZonaZoo section.

Take at look the UA football schedule for upcoming games and 🐻⬇️.

6. The snowbirds slowly start to fly in. 

They’re active in early morning, are found at golf courses.

And no, we're not taking about those animals with the feathers — brush up on your Tucson words here.

Spotting a snowbird also turns into your new favorite game, double points if you see one driving a golf cart on the road.

7. Pumpkin flavored everything hits the shelves.

In 2017 pumpkin spiced flavored items raked in about $488 million, according to Nielsen data. That's a lot of PSLs!

We all know however the real food MVP of the season is the pumpkin empanada. Our favorite are from La Estrella Bakery, but you can also learn how to make your own here.

8. Halloween stores suddenly appear on every corner.

Rachael Goddard, stocks some products at a Spirit Halloween pop-up store in Tucson.

Check out the Spirit Halloween Store website to find which one of their nine locations in town is closest to you. Secondhand stores including Goodwill Thrift Stores of Southern Arizona, Savers and Tucson Thrift Shop also turn into major costume hot spots this time of year.

9. The thought of Fall Break flusters every parent and brings joy to every teacher.

This year's Fall Break schedule — Amphitheater: Oct. 14-18, Catalina Foothills: Oct. 17-18, Flowing Wells: Oct. 17-18, Marana: Oct. 14-18, Sahuarita: Oct. 7-11, Sunnyside: Oct. 7-11, Tanque Verde: Oct. 7-12, Tucson Unified School District: Oct. 7-11, Vail School District (Pre-K through 8th): Sept. 23 to Oct. 11, Vail School District High School (High School): Sept. 25 to Oct. 6.

10. You swap the splash pad for the swing set. 

No more hot playground equipment.  🙌 Check out the new Reid Park playground.

11. You start reconnecting with friends who hid out all summer.

With Netflix, controlled air and ice cream you can buy online who can blame them?

12. Instagram posts from your out-of-town friends:

Your posts:


A photo posted by @wanderingthrutucson on Oct 2, 2016 at 12:47pm PDT

13. Pants with sandals anyone? How about shorts with flannel?

Yali Corea-Levy wears flip-flops with his dress clothes on Monday, August 8, 2005. Photo by Ron Medvescek/Arizona Daily Star.

The "Tucson casual" look should never be sacrificed.

14. You can't help but daydream about the All Souls Procession.

The 2017 All Souls Procession on Tucson's west side.

All Souls Procession Weekend begins Nov. 1, with the main event happening Sunday in downtown Tucson at 4 p.m. About 150,000 people attend the non-motorized procession every year to honor passed loved ones. For info about this year's route visit the All Souls Procession Website.

15. You trek up Mount Lemmon to find evidence of the season.

Fall colors near Ski Valley on Mount Lemmon just north of Summerhaven.

If you can't watch the leaves change, is it really fall?

16. You start every day feeling #blessed

Fall in Tucson means you survived another Arizona summer, and no one can take that away from you. Good Job!

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