How America Celebrates Fall In Every Region

As soon as fall hits, it’s like a light switch flips and we’re suddenly ready to go apple picking, jump in piles of leaves, and enjoy pumpkin spice-flavored everything. We’ve teamed up with Starbucks to share the different ways people ring in fall from coast to coast — plus, which of their fall coffee blends you should add to your seasonal routine, even if you’re doing “fall from home.” Tap or click the map regions to explore fall flavors across the U.S.

map of the western US
map of the southwestern US
map of the southwestern US
map of the northeastern US
map of the midwestern US

Illustration by Sunny Eckerle

The West

seafood spread

The Tastes

Living near the water means there is plenty of reason to grill fresh seafood, whether that’s a pile of fish tacos, blackened shrimp with farmers’ market vegetables, or fresh-picked fruit like California peaches. For those who would rather do the cooking inside, though, baked apples are never a bad idea, especially with Washington-grown Fuji and Gala varieties.

Starbucks pumpkin spice coffee

Pumpkin Spice is arguably fall’s flavor mascot. For a photo-worthy dessert inspired by the West Coast and made with Starbucks® Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee, check out this decadent treat from Seattle native and pie artist Lauren Ko.


The Traditions

Whether you’re having a picnic at the beach, camping in the sunny mountains, or hiking nature trails to get fresh air — there’s a little something for everyone along the West Coast. Having a cold cup of home-brewed iced coffee in hand can help kickstart the day before riding a bike down the boardwalk of the Santa Monica Pier or hiking through the trees and caves of Cliff Nature Trail in Kerby, Oregon.

ocean hike

The Scenery

Soaking up the sun in wide open spaces is easy to do, whether it’s at the stunning Olympic National Park in Washington State or in the sand at Mission Beach in San Diego. Even when it gets hot, there’s often a nice breeze (and not much humidity!), and you can spend a lot of time soaking up some necessary vitamin D in this region’s many beaches, mountaintops, or scenic cliffs. 

The Southwest


The Tastes

Smokey chili-spiked meats and vegetables make up the classic southwest fall meal. Whether throwing it all into a stew or eating it off the bone, anything custom-grilled leads to a proud and hungry southwesterner. And to balance out all that savory, sauce-topped goodness, mix up some homemade Starbucks® Fall Blend cold brew for a smooth, refreshing treat.


The Traditions

Barbecuing isn’t the same without a group of family and friends to enjoy it with. This time of year, southwestern backyards fill with music and laughter for hours of beer-drinking and brisket-devouring. Or for some, checking out a state fair (in the before times) and eating a big ear of corn on a stick, slathered with butter, is a sure sign of fall. Eating outdoors is the key to happiness in an area where “chilly” means 70 degrees and sunny.

desert scenery

The Scenery

Unlike the northeast, which has changing color leaves that eventually fall, the cacti in the southwest stay the same all year. Desert plants come in all shapes and sizes, and can be spotted in and around beautiful canyons and rock formations throughout the region. Hikers, photographers, and general adventurers will enjoy exploring some of the southwest’s famous slot canyons (high-walled canyons made from water rushing through rock and splitting it over time). Buckskin Gulch in Kane County, Utah, is the largest at 21 miles for those who want to spend time camping, while Pastel Canyon (which is pink and yellow) is a mere half a mile in the Valley of Fire in Nevada. Plus, to cool off after a canyon hike, you could stand near one of the many windmills in the southwest and pretend it’s a giant fan.

The Midwest

pear cake

The Tastes

There’s nothing better than a big slice of casserole like hotdish (a tater tot-topped wonder) or a bowl of Cincinnati chili over spaghetti (an Ohio specialty). Okay, maybe there is: a slice of warm pear cake a la mode or a not-on-Thanksgiving piece of pumpkin pie make for some nice fall treats — but they’re made even better with a Starbucks® Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee on a lazy afternoon.

pumpkin patch

The Traditions

Midwest corn in the summer is such a treat, but midwest corn mazes in the fall are the best part of the year. Getting lost in one or fighting your way out of one are both traditions to uphold in the middle of the country — just remember to bring a friend. An ideal trifecta of fall activities is going to a pumpkin patch to pick a prized pumpkin for the scariest Jack O’Lantern, hitting the cider mill for a cold cup of freshly-pressed apple goodness, and then getting spooked senseless at one of the many haunted houses. (There are 131 in Ohio alone!) Halloween may only be one day of the year, but people in the midwest definitely take the most fun holiday of the year very seriously.


The Scenery

Sitting around the fireplace at a lake house or a bonfire in someone’s backyard are ideal ways to unwind in this part of the country (and otherwise, no doubt). The area is covered in unexpected nature scenes, making fall the season to gather with your people. Although large family gatherings aren’t as easy to make happen these days, even a group phone call with a warm cup of cider can make you feel closer to home.

The Southeast

pecan pie and coffee

The Tastes

In the fall, the smell of pecan and sweet potato pies will fill kitchens across the south, especially if someone needs to test drive an old family recipe. As soon as the holiday season rolls around (and probably long before), you can count on a consistently full plate with a mug of hot coffee on the side.

Starbucks maple pecan coffee

In the land of pecans and pies, there’s nothing like pairing a dessert plate with a warm cup of dessert coffee. For an experimental take on a traditional indulgence, check out the recipe for this mouth-watering treat from Miami native Valentina Mussi. Spoiler: it’s all about the Starbucks® Maple Pecan Flavored Coffee.

a front door decorated for fall with jackolanterns

The Traditions

As you travel farther down the East Coast, the weather and the hospitality get warmer. It’s common to see neighbors chatting from their front yard gardens, families spending an evening together on their porch swings sipping sweet tea, and pumpkin carving contests throughout neighborhoods. Though football season is not happening right now, friends and strangers alike would normally be gathering to tailgate, firing up the grills in parking lots. Kids may seem more excited about the hayrides and pumpkin patches… but secretly, even the adults are eager to kick off the season before getting their yards prepared for Halloween decorations.

fall oak trees in a field

The Scenery

The best time to spend getting cozy under a blanket inside is when thunderstorms are making a ruckus outside, causing the branches of sprawling oak trees to sway in the wind. But when the storm clears, there will be plenty of time for chili cook-offs with the neighbors, or driving out to the nearest beach along the Atlantic. 

The Northeast

apple cider donuts in a stack in front of a paper bag

The Tastes

One of the best ways to warm up on a cool fall day is with an over-the-top brunch of apple cinnamon pancakes paired with a hot latte. Or, if you’re feeling something more savory, an omelette stuffed with sharp cheddar, apples, and bacon. With just a light cardigan on (did somebody say cottagecore?), outdoor dining is an ideal way to spend the last of the breezy, crisp, just-chilly-enough days before winter hits.

Starbucks fall blend coffee

Cozy coffee is a necessity during fall in the Northeast. For an over-the-top take on classic cold brew, check out NYC native Jeremy Jacobowitz’s whipped coffee recipe made with Starbucks® Fall Blend.

two people walking on a fall day

The Traditions

Hiking up the Adirondacks in upstate New York is a choice and peaceful fall activity, whether you’re solo or with friends. Or maybe a smaller trail, like up to Mount Philo State Park in Vermont, is more your speed (and height, at just 968 feet tall) with breathtaking views of those colorful leaves from the top. If you go toward the end of the fall, you may be able to jump in a pile after you finish on the trails.

fall foliage in the mountains

The Scenery

Watching the leaves change to vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange while exploring the small towns scattered from upstate New York to coastal Maine. Many have apple orchards to pick your own fruit to bake many pies, simmer homemade applesauce, or even try your hand at making apple cider donuts from scratch. (Or maybe you’d rather buy them at the local cider mill and save yourself the deep-frying. They’re delicious either way.)