Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Love Pumpkin Spice? Here’s Where to Celebrate Across the Country

From food festivals to latte-obsessed cities, plan a visit to one of these destinations to get your fix

spinner image stacks of pumpkins in a pumpkin patch
Getty Images

The spice company McCormick & Company introduced its Pumpkin Pie Spice nearly 90 years ago to give bakers a flavorful boost when making their pumpkin pies. Through the years, the popular blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice has expanded far beyond dessert to all things food and drink, including beer, cereal and even Spam. But most pumpkin spice aficionados will point to the 2003 Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (or PSL for the truly enamored) as the treat that turned the flavor profile into a bona fide obsession. To wit, a spokesperson for Starbucks told us the PSL is the company’s most popular seasonal beverage of all time, selling more than 600 million in the U.S. since the launch. 

​The PSL may have sparked a cultural phenomenon, but the demand for all pumpkin-spice-flavored and pumpkin-spice-scented items continues to grow. One report found that pumpkin spice product sales have increased about 47 percent over the past five years, and according to data from the analytics company NielsenIQ, U.S. sales for pumpkin-spice-flavored grocery items reached a record $236 million at the end of July 2022. 

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

​For fun ways to enjoy the pumpkin spice season, check out the following events and destinations across the country.


spinner image the original starbucks location in seattle washington
Alamy Stock Photos

We have to start with the granddaddy of the pumpkin spice infatuation — the original Starbucks location at Pike Place Market in Seattle, which opened in 1971. 

​The coveted Pumpkin Spice Latte is a combination of espresso, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, topped with whipped cream. Grab a Grande to-go before a walking tour of Pike Place Market with Seattle Free Walking Tours (reservations required; “Pay what you feel”). 

​Can’t make it to Seattle? At-home baristas can re-create the classic with Starbucks’ pumpkin-spice-flavored coffee, cold brew concentrate, creamer and iced latte. New this year is the canned Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Nitro Cold Brew, which is infused with nitrogen micro-bubbles.

Pumpkin Spice Festival, Valdosta, Georgia

spinner image pumpkin spice maple pulled pork b b q
Wild Adventures Theme Park

The country’s largest Pumpkin Spice Festival is underway at the Wild Adventures theme park in southern Georgia. In addition to the rides and shows throughout the park, foodies can indulge in all things pumpkin spice with a festival pass Friday through Sunday through Oct. 30. 

See more Health & Wellness offers >

​The festival pass is an additional fee to park admission ($30.99 for non-season pass holders). The pumpkin spice specialties include pumpkin spice funnel cakes, fries and the Mighty Pumpkin Colossal Shake topped with a large piece of pumpkin pie. Festival weekends feature Great Pumpkin LumiNights and its jungle of jack-o’-lanterns and sunflowers.

Astra Lumina Enchanted Night Walk, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

spinner image great pumpkin mojito

Lumina Night Walks, an innovative storytelling experience in the outdoors, makes its U.S. debut this month with Astra Lumina Enchanted Night Walk at the Anakeesta theme park in Gatlinburg. Set in a Great Smoky Mountains forest, the innovative nighttime walk is filled with lighting, sounds and projections that share the magic of the stars in an enchanting way.

​Before or after Astra Lumina, warm up with hot drinks such as a Pumpkin Praline Latte, Pumpkin Spice Latte or Pumpkin Caramel Latte (all of which can be made as cappuccinos) at Pearl’s Pie in the Sky; or enjoy adult beverages at Anakeesta Mountain, including Gypsy Circus’s Fire Roasted Pumpkin Cider, TailGate Brewery’s Pumpkin Spiced Latte Milk Stout or The Great Pumpkin Mojito, made with gin, pumpkin puree, fresh orange and mint, served with a pumpkin spice rim.

The Great Pumpkin Farm, Clarence, New York

spinner image man standing in a pumpkin field next to a giant pumpkin
The Great Pumpkin Farm

Experience the family-friendly festivities at The Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence, just outside Buffalo in western New York. Open daily through Oct. 31, the on-the-farm fun includes a hay maze, petting zoo, playground with a pumpkin express train and plenty more for all ages. Watch as pumpkins are shot out of a cannon, soaring 3,000 feet before hitting the ground (weekends only). Festival weekends include the World Pumpkin Pie Eating Competition, a zombie corn maze and more.

​Pumpkins are the main attraction on the farm, and there are “zillions” from which to choose to take home, including decorative orange or white pumpkins, and small and large gourds for decorating. If you can’t wait to bake a pumpkin pie at home, pick one up from the on-site Pumpkin Palace Bakery, or some pumpkin donuts. Or why not both?


spinner image people lined up outside of glam doll donuts in minneapolis
Alamy Stock Photos

Last year, the website Roasty Coffee reported that pumpkin spice lattes were most popular in Minneapolis, based on Google search data. After Minneapolis, the cities of Miami, Atlanta, Seattle and Denver rounded out the top five. The report showed that September is the most popular time of year that coffee drinkers search for “pumpkin spice latte.”

​A mix of well-known companies and independent coffee shops can be found throughout the city (the coffee giant Caribou Coffee started in Minneapolis in 1992, and the headquarters and roastery are still there). In addition to Starbucks, find your PSL fix at Dunn Brothers Coffee, Five Watt Coffee and Gray Fox Coffee & Wine Bar, to name a few great local coffee shops. Bakeries that feature goodies with delicious pumpkin spice flavors include Breadsmith, Glam Doll Donuts and Sarah Jane’s Bakery Northeast. 

​Susan B. Barnes is a Florida-based freelance journalist with a passion for travel and the environment.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?