All the Best Family Fall Activities: Apples, Pumpkins, Fests, Photos, and More!

FallOutdoor Places to Go

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

Fall Festivals and Oktoberfests

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!

Apple Picking

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.

Pumpkin Patches (and Apple Orchards!) with Fall Activities

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.

Where To Take Fall Family Photographs

Some of our favorite photographers share gorgeous locations for photo sessions with examples.

Go on a Leaf Hunt

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.

The Most Amazing Places to Enjoy Fall Colors in the Suburbs

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.

Halloween Events

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!

Family-Friendly Halloween Events

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!

Halloween Guide

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

Local Farms to Visit with Kids

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.

Camping with Kids

Locations within three hours to take your kids camping!

Horseback Riding

Whether it is a weekend trail ride, on-going lessons, a birthday party or summer camp you seek, horse enthusiasts will love this list.

Best Forest Preserve Trails for Kids

Want to take a walk outside, but don’t know where to go? Kidlist readers voted these as the best for kids!

Parks with Paved Paths

Get a change of scenery at these parks with paved paths. The surfaces are smooth for the most part, making them perfect for strollers and rollerblading.

Where (and How) To Take Your Kids Fishing

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.

Local Mini Golf Courses

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.

Where to See Waterfalls Near Chicago

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.

New Playgrounds in the Western Suburbs

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.

Map of Fun Outdoor Places to Go with Kids

Want an overview of all the outdoor fun you can have this fall? Check out our gigantic map of fun!

Amusement Parks

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

The Morton Arboretum in Lisle

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.

Cantigny Park in Wheaton

With a large playground, beautifully-kept grounds, and of course, the tank park, Cantigny is a must-do this fall.

Lake Arlington Park in Arlington Heights

This lakeside destination is home to two playgrounds, boat rentals, a walking path, a fishing pier, and more.

Fullserburg Woods and Graue Mill and Museum in Oak Brook

We love this spot for beautiful trails that follow Salt Creek, a waterfall, a nature education center, and a historic waterwheel gristmill.

Peck Farm Park and Hawks Hollow Nature Playground in Geneva

Butterfly house, nature playground, sensory garden, and exploration room sound of interest? Check out this great overview of what you will find at Peck Farm Park.

Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground at Spring Valley in Schaumburg

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.”

St. James Farm in Warrenville

St. James Farm is a free local outing for families looking to stretch their legs, learn a little history, and enjoy the gorgeous outdoor landscaping. Get a preview of what you can explore there.

Local History Brought to Life at Naper Settlement

Explore this historical park as you learn about the history of our local towns.

Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva

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!

Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm in Lockport

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

Kid-Friendly Theater Options in Chicagoland

Fall schedules are coming out, so find the shows your family wants to see this season!

Local Coffee Shops with Playgrounds Nearby for One Great Outing

Grab a warm beverage at these local coffee shops, then head to a nearby playground for a morning of fun.

Fall Resales

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.

The Best Caramel Apple Recipe

We’ve searched far and wide for a great homemade caramel apple recipe and found it! Get the recipe and tips to be successful.

Fall Spice Play Dough Recipe

You are going to love this homemade play dough. It smells so good!

Check out our guide to fall fun for even more seasonal activities for families.

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