CHICAGO (CBS)–Some say summer is Chicago’s best season, but there’s plenty to love about fall–aside from pumpkin spice lattes and Ugg boots, of course.
As gray skies offset by pretty fall foliage replace the city’s sunny beach days, why not embrace all there is to love about autumn by making the most of all the Chicago area has to offer this season? Here are a few ways to enjoy autumn around Chicago and the surrounding rural areas.
Bears Tailgates: The Chicago Bears host the New England Patriots on Oct. 21 at Soldier Field. Can’t make it to the game? CBS has all the action. Other home games this fall include the Oct. 28 game against the New York Jets, Nov. 11 versus the Detroit Lions and Nov. 18 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Apple and pumpkin picking: October is prime apple-picking season. Here are some of the best spots reachable via a short road trip.
Plank Road Orchard: Located about 30 minutes from Elgin, in Sycamore, this family-owned orchard has 16 types of apples for picking and offers freshly-baked apple cider donuts, pies and turnovers on weekends.
Edwards Apple Orchard: A two-hour drive from the city, Edwards Apple Orchard offers the best of fall. Pick your own pumpkins from the vine, feed farm animals and grab a spot at a picnic table in a barn to enjoy apple slices covered in caramel and other fall snacks. Don’t leave Edwards without waiting in line for a well-worth-the-wait bag of a dozen homemade cinnamon donuts.
County Line Orchard: This Hobart, Indiana apple-picking spot will treat beer-lovers on Nov. 3 to a special farm-to-table event where Off Square Brewing will offer pour a special craft brew inspired by the orchard’s homemade donuts. On other days, the orchard also has apple-picking, antique tractor rides, a petting zoop and a corn maze.
Apple Holler: Fall in Wisconsin feels a little more homely than being in Chicago. This apple picking destination is about a 65 mile drive up north to Wisconsin, but the trip is worth it. The orchard has a farm-to-table restaurant, a bakery, gift shop, and guests can pick pumpkins, peaches pears and of course apples.
Latino Music Festival: Presented by the International Latino Cultural Center, the month-long Chicago Latino Music Festival produces performances and promotes awareness of music from Latin America and Spain, ranging from the colonial period to the 21st century, according to the event’s website. Performances are scheduled at venues all over the city starting Oct. 17, from Columbia College’s Music Center to the Art Institute’s Fullerton Hall and the Pritzker Auditorium.
Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest: Take the kids to Lincoln Park for the fourth annual Fall Fest, family-friendly event running through Oct. 28. On Fridays through Mondays, the zoo has a ferris wheel, a corn maze, a corn pool, fun slide and an inflatable obstacle course. Music, a pumpkin patch and professional pumpkin carvers will also be on hand to entertain the whole family.
Jack’s Pumpkin Nights: This pop-up bar inside a corn maze proves adults can have just as much fall fun as kids. Located in a vacant lot near Goose Island (1467 N. Elston), Jack’s Pumpkin Nights. The beer and cider bar is hidden inside the maze, so guests will have to wind through the corn stalks to find the brew. Kids can attend with their parents until 7:30 p.m. when the bar opens. Tickets are on sale online starting at $20. The event runs through Nov. 3, Thursday through Sunday each week.
Far & Away: The Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace in Millenium Park will host this event Oct. 13 showcasing top U.S. breweries offering tastings of highly-coveted beers. A portion of the proceeds will support the Intonation Music Workshop, which connects Chicago youth with music education. Two sessions are scheduled for Saturday, from 12 to 4 p.m. or 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is $88.