Festive fall fun is everywhere in Chicago this weekend. Kick off autumn by grabbing a pumpkin at a harvest fest, a brew at an Oktoberfest or slip into your cowboy boots for a fest in the wild west. Better rest up — that’s a lot of Fests to get through. Read on for our Editor’s picks for finding smiles.

photo: Jason Williamson via flickr



Bubblespalooza at Bubbles Academy
Bubbles Academy is turning 15 . . . can you believe it?! . . . and they’re celebrating in a big way with the Bubblespalooza Music Festival. Join them for an afternoon of music, bounce houses, kids’ activity tables, food and drinks from local restaurants, and all sorts of silly festival fun. Sat. Event details.


Have Big-Top Fun at Midnight Circus in the Parks
Chicago’s offbeat and totally entertaining circus takes its act on the road, performing in parks in all corners of the city. The troupe does high-wire acts, juggling, clowning and acrobatics. It’s all for a good cause: The tour raises money to improve public parks and playgrounds. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Giggle Overload at Storytown Improv
From superheroes to undersea adventures, princesses to dinosaurs, Storytown takes you on an interactive, fully improvised adventure. The actors use audience suggestions and ideas to create a different story every week. Kids design the setting and help shape the story. When the possibilities are endless, no two stories are ever the same. Sat. Event details.

The Loop

Kid’s Baking Class at Sugar Bliss
Take your sweet sugars for hands-on baking instruction and demonstrations. They’ll get an apron and chef’s hat to wear during class, recipes and baked goods to take home, and a Sugar Bliss tote bag. Sat. Event details.


Get Physical with the Oui Run 5k
The Lycée Français de Chicago invites the community to participate in its second annual “Oui” Run 5K that features kid-sized races and a post-race breakfast. ​Sun. Event details.



Create Memories at Shades of Autumn Festival
Take a little drive for more than 25 family friendly attractions at the Shades of Autumn Festival. You’ll find the traditional hayrides, pumpkin picking and petting zoo. But, the little ones will be wowed by the pumpkin cannon, hamster track, semi-truck slide, trikes for tikes, scrumptious apple cider donuts and so much more. Sat. & Sun. Event details.


Bring the Kids in on the Oktoberfest Fun at Hofbräuhaus
In a grand dining hall packed with communal tables, you can get excited about a rotating array of European musicians that play oompah music on stage (brace yourself for the chicken dance) and kids’ parades and games. Come hungry for traditional german fare. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Tackle Fall Like It’s Done in the Wild, Wild West
Don your best cowboy boots and get ready for an autumn Wild West adventure via Donley’s Wild West Town, a family themed park with loads of things to see and do. Pan for faux gold, take a vintage canoe ride and see a show. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Fall in Love with Autumn

(1) Take your sweets apple picking and bake the first pie of the season.

(2) Check every single one of these Harvest Festivals off your list.

(3) Take a colorful stroll or hike before the temperatures take a dip.


(4) Get lost and found in a corn maze for hours.

(5) Swing by one of these pumpkin farms and get a jump start on fall decorating.

— Maria Chambers

Outdoor Adventure Awaits in Door County, Wisconsin
Harvest Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss
Field Day! 8 Local Corn Mazes to Get Lost In

. . . and check out our Events calendar for even more suggestions.