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Fall Activities in Chicago

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For 50 years, Automatic Appliance Parts has been a proud part of the Chicago community. Though we're happy to provide the appliance parts that make your home a warm and cozy place to be, we also love to spend time enjoying the many activities that come with each changing season. So when the heat of summer fades to the cool, crisp days of fall, here are some fun activities to do around Chicago.

Fall Foliage

Chicago's largest outdoor space, Lincoln Park, boasts some of the city's most beautiful fall foliage colors. Maple, ash, elm, and birch trees are painted in vivid yellow, orange, and red shades for a vivid display. Open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, you can enjoy the fall foliage at sunrise, sunset, and every hour in between.

Wandering through The Morton Arboretum in Lisle is a serene experience surrounded by fall foliage. Their tree preservation mission means you may see Midwest native species like swamp white oak and ironwood that might not be as familiar. Each year, they host various fall activities such as a 5k or a cider and ale festival, with samples to try along the walking paths beneath the fall foliage. The arboretum is accessible via public transportation from the city and has free parking if you choose to drive.

Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns

In October, the Chicago Botanic Garden hosts The Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns, where more than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins of all sizes light up a paved walkway. The pumpkins feature familiar images like superheroes, celebrities, or Chicago landmarks. Actors in themed costumes entertain along the path, and festive food and drinks are available for purchase. Tickets are available for advance purchase on the garden's website, so get them quickly because they sell out quickly!

Chicago Gourmet Food Festival

A fall weekend of food, drink, and great company awaits you at the Chicago Gourmet Food Festival. With large events held in Millennium Park, Chicago Gourmet pairs an impressive lineup of chefs with gorgeous views and cool weather. Events vary each year, but you can always expect delicious food tastings, thoughtful wine and spirits pairings, and food education. Some events have guests visiting hot dining spots all around the city for a true progressive eating experience.

Open House Chicago

Though architecture tours of the city happen year-round, fall brings Open House Chicago, a free public festival that celebrates Chicago's architectural history through self-guided trail walks and talks through a custom app. You'll be given behind-the-scenes access to culturally and historically significant sites in Chicago. Past sites have included the Hyde Park Art Center, The Museum of Science and History, and Roeser's Bakery. The tour is a perfect way to enjoy a cool fall day walking around the city. You can see as many sites as you have time and energy to experience.

Apple Fest

For over 30 years, the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce has hosted Apple Fest, an October weekend of food, beverages, entertainment, and family activities celebrating the apple season. So start your visit on Lincoln Avenue between Lawrence and Wilson, and be sure to come hungry! Local farmers and food vendors fill their booths with delectable sweet and savory apple dishes, like apple-topped funnel cake, apple bratwurst with apple fries, apple bread pudding, candied apple bacon, white cheddar grilled cheese with bacon jam and Honeycrisp apple slices, and so much more.

Local breweries bring out their best fall apple ciders with strong or subtle notes. Wine selections complement the many apple dishes, and there are plenty of nonalcoholic apple ciders to sample as well. Live music contributes to the lively atmosphere, and kids will enjoy games, face-painting, and carnival fun.

Apple Picking

If you'd rather take a trip out of the city and pick your own apples, there are many farms within an easy drive where you can pick a wide variety of fresh and crisp apples for eating or baking delicious fall desserts. Here are two nearby orchards:

Northwest of Chicago in Woodstock, a visit to All Seasons Orchard starts with a wagon ride to the orchard where 15,000 apple trees await. Varieties include Honeycrisp, Gala, McIntosh, Fuji, and Golden Delicious. A few varieties of Asian pears are also available for u-pick. Apple picking is $11 per person, including a 1/4 peck bag for holding the apples and the wagon ride. Make a day of it by adding barnyard activities for the whole family, like a corn maze, petting zoo, pony rides, and pig races.

Keller's Farmstand in Oswego, Illinois, opens late August/early September to pick Gala, Ruby Mac, and Ginger Gold apple varieties. As fall progresses, other varieties like Macoun, Red Delicious, and Rome come ripe on the trees. A bag for 1/4 peck (about 3 pounds) is $8. Everyone over age 4 is required to purchase a bag to enter the orchard. Be sure and stop by the farmstand for their famous apple cider donuts.

Ricardson's Adventure Farm

For a day out of family fun for kids of all ages, Richardson's Adventure Farm has all the activities associated with the fall and harvest season. Though it's a bit of a drive from the city in Spring Grove, Illinois, it's a doable day trip with plenty of fun once you arrive. There's a picnic area with campfires to gather and decide which of the activities suit your family: the world's largest corn maze, a 700-foot zip line, live pig races, giant slides, wagon rides, and a pumpkin patch where the kids can pick out their future Halloween jack-o'-lantern.

The farm is open Thursday through Sunday in the fall months, and admission includes access to nearly all the activities. Camp and picnic sites can be reserved in advance and can accommodate from 12 to 52 people.

So there you have our list of Chicago-area fall activities. We hope we came up with something to suit everyone, but we would love to hear from you if we missed anything! We love to find out about activities that make our community great.