Fun Fall Activities Across the Chicago Area

The temperatures are dropping and the faint scent of pumpkin spice wafts from every coffee shop you cross. It’s fall in Chicago and there are festivals, parties and parades to keep you busy through November.

Here are plenty of fun things to do throughout the season.


Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest

The fifth annual fall returns featuring a Ferris wheel, corn maze, corn pool, a pumpkin patch and more.

When: Sept. 27- Oct. 27

Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.

Oktoberfest Chicago 

Sample 20 different craft beers, wear a pretzel necklace and take home a souvenir glass from inside a spirited German beer hall.

When: Sept 27-28

Where: St. Alphonsus Church, 1429 W. Wellington Ave.

 The Edgewater Arts Festival

Old and new art lines the street at this annual festival on the North Side.

When: Sept. 28-29

Where: E. Granville Ave.



Celebration at the water park featuring pumpkin decorating, costume parades and monster bash dance parties.

When: Oct. 1-31

Where: Great Wolf Lodge

Jack's Pumpkin Glow

 A family-friendly 1/3 mile trail filled with over 5,000 hand carved jack o’ lanterns. Select dates through Oct. 27, including an early evening sensory-friendly show Oct. 6.

When: select dates Oct. 3-27

Where: Sensory Garden Playground, 2751 Navistar Dr., Lisle

Fall Bulb Festival

As fall starts, experts help you plan for your spring garden.

When: Oct. 4

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe


 An annual apple festival including games, apple food court, hay rides, storytelling and more. The fee is $5 per child payable at the park entrance.

When: Oct. 5

Where: Women’s Park

Lincoln Square Ravenswood Apple Fest

Local musicians, apple cuisine and dozens of different vendors participate at Apple Fest. There is also a kids zone on Leland Avenue.

When: Oct. 5-6

Where: Lincoln Ave between Lawrence and Eastwood

 Nature Nuts: Fall Edition 

Three and four-year-olds can take part in a session focusing on animals in autumn.

When: Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28

Where: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr, Chicago

Kendall County Fairgrounds Fall Fest

Food trucks, handcrafted market, trunk or treat and other activities for visitors.

When: Oct. 12

Where: Kendall County Fairgrounds, 10826 IL-71, Yorkville

Campfire Festival

Chase Park will be transformed into a fall spectacular, including The Great Pumpkin Patch, the Chicago Park District's only professional haunted house attraction "The Attic" & the Chicago Campfire Festival.

When: Oct. 12-30

Where: 4701 N Ashland Ave, Chicago

Windy City Harvest Festival

Weekend celebration including food, a farmer’s market, games, craft beer and live music with other fun activities for the family.

When: Oct. 19-20

Where: Benito Juarez Community Academy, 1450 W. Cermak Rd.

The Promenade Bolingbrook Fall Festival

More than 50 vendors with arts, crafts and food for mall visitors. Vendors will also have candy to hand out to kids while supplies last.

When: Oct. 25-27

Where: 641 E Boughton Rd, Bolingbrook

Harvest Festival 

Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois hosts an evening with music, live auction, an open bar and more at City Winery.

When: Oct. 25

Where: City Winery 1200 W. Randolph St. Chicago

West Loop Families Halloween Parade 

 A not-too-spooky gathering at Mary Bartelme Park featuring games and activities from local businesses.

When: Oct. 26

Where: Mary Bartelme Park, 115 South Sangamon Street, Chicago

Congress Plaza Haunted Hotel Ball 

A costume party held at one of Chicago’s most haunted hotels.

When: Oct. 26

Where: 520 S. Michigan Ave.


Halloween Friday Night Booze Cruise 

Views of the city, a costume contest, live DJs and dancing during a halloween-themed cruise on Lake Michigan.

When: Nov. 1

Where: Anita Dee II Boarding at Dusable Harbor, 200 N. Breakwater Access, Chicago 

Pumpkin Smash and Bash

Bring your carved pumpkin to the Smash and Bash at Flick Park Sled Hill. for a pumpkin roll competition. Then, smash your pumpkin to create compost for plants in the spring.

When: Nov. 3

Where: 3600 Glenview Rd.

No Fail Thanksgiving Cooking Class 

Not sure what to make for Thanksgiving? Don’t know how to do it? Whole Foods Market Lincoln Park is hosting a cooking class to help.

When: Nov. 16

Where: Whole Foods Market, 1550 N Kingsbury Street, Chicago

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Kick off the Holiday season with musical performance, live concerts and a tree-lighting parade along Michigan Avenue.

When: Nov. 23

Where: Along Michigan Avenue to Millennium Park

The Turkey Crawl

 A black Wednesday bar crawl through Wrigleyville before relaxing with family during Thanksgiving the next day.

When: Nov. 27

Where: Various locations through Wrigleyville

Turkey Trot Chicago 

Warm up a Thanksgiving appetite running the Annual Turkey Day run. Besides running, there is also turkey bowling, cornhole and a costume contest.

When: Nov. 28

Where: Lincoln Park

Thanksgiving Day Parade 

Gigantic balloons, marching bands, festive floats and incredible performances parade through the city to celebrate Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season.

When: Nov. 28

Where: State Street

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