Fall is a magical time in Chicagoland. Between our blazing-hot summers and icy-cold winters, we get milder temperatures, a gorgeous display of leaves changing color, and a bountiful harvest of local produce. Midwesterners know that the season is all too short, so we make the most of the days!
This guide is our round-up of all our resources to help you find family-friendly fun in town, around the suburbs, in the city, and at the farm. We’ll be updating our guides throughout the season to keep you updated as events change and grow. Happy fall!
Local Fall Activities for Kids in 2023
This one contains all of the fall fun in the western suburbs to enjoy with your family. Find out about fall festivals, Oktoberfests, and activities by date and throughout the season!
Where to pick apples, complete with a map to locate an orchard near you. We’ve compiled start dates, phone numbers, hours, admission/parking fees, and descriptions.
All of the pumpkin patches within an hour of the western suburbs of Chicago below with descriptions, admission prices, and hours. Some spots have apple picking, so we’ve added all of those details this year, too.
Walk around the block or through the forest preserve and use the free printable found in this one to search and hunt for common found tree leaves in our area.
Enjoy the beauty of autumn at one of these kid-friendly places. It’s especially magical to visit these places first thing in the morning or in the evening before dusk, but they are beautiful all day! This year, we’ve added an interview with a local tree expert to help you make the most of the season.
We’ll be updating these articles for 2023 in early September, so keep a look out for news on all the spookiest, silliest celebrations in the area!
Decorate pumpkins, watch Halloween-themed movies, take a hayride, listen to a storyteller, enjoy Halloween treats and games, and more. Mark these down on your calendar and celebrate the season all throughout the month!
You can also visit our Halloween guide for spooky fun, including the best decorated houses this season and haunted forest walks, trunk-or-treat events, and other not-so-scary options.
Ways to Explore Outdoors
Interact with adorable barn animals, pick seasonal fruits and veggies, learn about the pioneer days, and enjoy attractions such as carousels and wagon rides. We have descriptions for all the local farms that are open to the public.
Locations within three hours to take your kids camping!
Whether it is a weekend trail ride, on-going lessons, a birthday party or summer camp you seek, horse enthusiasts will love this list.
Want to take a walk outside, but don’t know where to go? Kidlist readers voted these as the best for kids!
Ponds to go fishing, where to buy kid-sized fishing poles, how to tie the hook to the line, where to buy bait, and how to cast your line. Basically everything you need to know to go fishing with your kids.
We compiled all the fun places to play miniature golf! Some may have closed at the end of summer, but many remain open throughout the fall. With waterfalls and windmills, you’ll want to check out this list will all the features, prices, and locations of each.
There are so many beautiful natural areas to explore in the suburbs! Get the inside info on where to park and how to get to these waterfalls.
We keep tabs on all the construction and updates going on with our wonderful park district and playgrounds. Find new and coming-soon playgrounds near you.
A comprehensive list of local amusement parks and tips to make your day enjoyable for all ages. While will close after Labor Day, others are open through the fall.
Places to Go for Outdoor Fun
How amazing is it that we have a nationally renowned arboretum right in our backyard? We’ve got all the details on the Of the Earth exhibit going on right now, too. It’s worth the hike to visit all of these incredible sculptures.
This lakeside destination is home to two playgrounds, boat rentals, a walking path, a fishing pier, and more.
We love this spot for beautiful trails that follow Salt Creek, a waterfall, a nature education center, and a historic waterwheel gristmill.
This popular nature-themed playground offers one-hour play sessions to keep the crowds in check; visit the website for current hours and admission info. Besides the playground, the grounds are home to a nature center, Heritage Farm, and trails through Spring Valley featuring “play pockets.”
This picture-perfect spot offers paths for hiking and biking, gardens for exploring, a river for kayaking, and plenty of photo opportunities along the way. Find out where to park and where you can find the most beautiful spots!
Last year, Annie and her kids checked out the fall festival of this local farm and reviewed all the activities, including slides, a jumping pillow, farm animals, corn mazes, a haunted barn, and more.
Other Ideas for Fall Fun
Fall schedules are coming out, so find the shows your family wants to see this season!
Grab a warm beverage at these local coffee shops, then head to a nearby playground for a morning of fun.
Snag some good deals on all kinds of clothes, toys, equipment, and more at these sales at local organizations and schools. It’s also a great time to donate or sell things that you have moved on from as well.
We’ve searched far and wide for a great homemade caramel apple recipe and found it! Get the recipe and tips to be successful.
Check out our guide to fall fun for even more seasonal activities for families.