Get the scoop on the best family activities in Chicago.

Harvest Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss

Pumpkins. Corn mazes. Hayrides. Adorable apple cider mustaches. It’s fall — and you can celebrate the best of the season at family festivals. From apple mania in Lincoln Square to an 1800s throwback in Schaumburg, we have you covered for the best places to get an awesome taste of autumn.

design-harvest-fest

photo: Design Harvest Fest

IN CHICAGO

Design Harvest Fest
A twist on your typical harvest fest, this one has an arty twist. The West Town neighborhood is a hotbed of home and garden designers and shops, and that shines through in festival’s pop-up tents showcasing the work of local talents. If you want to get right down to autumn business, head to the kids’ area for hayrides, mazes, pumpkin painting, build-your-own scarecrows and a petting zoo.

Saturday, September 20, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. & Sunday, September 21, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission: $5/person suggested donation
Grand Avenue, between Damen Avenue & Wood Street
West Town
312-850-9390
Online: design-harvest.com

Uncommon Ground Oktoberfest BBQ
This fall fling has live music by kindie-folk starlet Laura Doherty at 3 p.m. All that dancing should make you work up an appetite. You’re in luck: This is a full-fledged honky-tonk barbecue and the menu includes sausages, corn on the cob, watermelon, brownies and more.

Saturday, September 21, from 3-7 p.m.
Admission: Free; separate charge for food
1401 W. Devon Ave.
Edgewater
773-465-9801
Online: uncommonground.com

lincoln-square-apple-fest

photo: Lincoln Square Apple Fest

Lincoln Square Apple Fest
Whether you’re a Braeburn or Red Delicious kind of person — or just like to have a good time with the fam — this is your kind of fest. From apple cider to apple pizza, you can get your fix of everyone’s favorite fall fruit. There is also a kids’ zone full of children’s activities and live music by local singers and instrumentalists throughout the day.

Saturday, September 20, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Free
Lincoln Avenue, between Leland & Lawrence avenues
Lincoln Square
773-728-3890
Online: lincolnsquare.org

Cornucopia Fall Fest at Eugene Field
This isn’t your typical day at the park, but rather one filled with pony rides, pumpkins, a petting zoo and plenty of bouncy toys. If tummies start rumbling, don’t worry: Food trucks will be rolling by throughout the day.

Saturday, October 4, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Admission: Free
5100 N. Ridgeway Ave.
Albany Park
773-478-9744
Online: chicagoparkdistrict.com

North Park Village Nature Center

photo: sugarfrizz via Flickr

Harvest Festival at North Park Village Nature Center
Be one with nature at this well-loved outdoor paradise. Do nature-centric crafts, stroll the farmers market, listen to storytellers and jam out to live music. If you’re looking for a slice of peace, the nature preserve offers trails that wind through woodland, wetland, prairie and savanna.

Saturday, October 18 & Sunday, October 19, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Admission: Free
5801 N. Pulaski Rd.
North Side
312-744-5472
Online: chicagoparkdistrict.com

IN THE ‘BURBS

Homewood Fall Fest and Annual Chili Cook-off
Cold comforts are big draws to this community blast. From outdoor movies to horse-drawn wagons, and pumpkin patches to pony rides, it has something for the whole family. At noon, ScribbleMonster makes an appearance for a rockin’ comedy, music and interactive rock show.

Saturday, September 20, from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Admission: Free
Martin Avenue, from Hickory to Ridge roads
Downtown Homewood
708-798-3000
Online: homesweethomewood.com

donleys-gold

photo: Donley’s Wild West Town

Donley’s Wild West Town Annual Fall Festival
Ramble out to Union to spend a day at this throwback cowboy town where you’ll feel like you’re roaming the Wild West. Pan for faux gold, take a vintage canoe ride and see an old Wild West show. The fall is especially fun with added bonuses like a spooky tunnel train ride, a pumpkin painting station, hot chocolate and kids’ karaoke.

September 27-October 26 on Saturdays & Sundays, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission:
8512 S. Union Rd.
Union
815-923-9000
Online: wildwesttown.com

Long Grove Apple Festival
Welcome to heaven for apple lovers. From famous brown-bagged apple pies to hot apple cider, you’ll definitely get a taste of the season. The kiddies in your clan can enjoy pony rides, carnival rides and live music throughout the weekend.

September 26-28, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission: $5/person; free for kids under 12
Downtown Long Grove
Near Route 83 & Old Route 53
847-634-0888
Online: visitlonggrove.com

rehm-fest

photo: Fall Fest at Rehm Park

Fall Fest at Rehm Park
You’ll feel autumn in the air at this Oak Park party, featuring horse drawn hayrides, a pumpkin patch and a whole lotta scarecrows. There is live music from Jeanie B and a show that gets kids excited about science as well.

Sunday, September 28, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Admission: Free
515 Garfield St.
Oak Park
708-725-2000
Online: pdop.org

Autumn Harvest Festival at Heritage Farm
Time-travel back to the 1800s in Schaumburg. In the setting of a living history outdoor farm, you’ll witness demonstrations of the work of the frontier era (think cider pressing and blacksmithing) and do crafts. Save room for taffy apples and roasted ears of corn.

Sunday, October 5, from noon-5 p.m.
Admission: $5/person; $20/family of six or fewer, with additional members $5/person; children ages 3 and younger are free
201 S. Plum Grove Rd.
Schaumburg
847-985-2100
Online: parkfun.com

st.-charles-scarecrow-fest

photo: St. Charles Scarecrow Fest

St. Charles Scarecrow Fest
If the only scarecrow you’ve seen lately is in the Wizard of Oz, it’s time to widen your horizons. Head to this fest to see over 150 handcrafted scarecrows in one place. There’s also an arts and crafts show, petting zoo and carnival. Families can even make their own scarecrow to take home.

October 10-12, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday & Saturday & 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday
Admission: Free
Downtown St. Charles
Route 64 & the Fox River
800-777-4373
Online: scarecrowfest.com

Fall Festival at Cantigny Park
This 500-acre park and museum goes all out, each and every fall. At this fest you’ll enjoy goodies and games like a candy dive, pumpkin ring toss, book fair, face painting and more. At 2 p.m. there is a giant kids’ concert to dance the afternoon away.

Saturday, October 11, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Free with $5 per car parking ($2 per car after 4 p.m.)
Cantigny Park
1 S. 151 Winfield Rd.
Wheaton
630-668-5161
Online: cantigny.org

SONY DSC

photo: Wagner Farm

Wagner Farm Fall Harvest Festival
This outdoor living history museum gives you an inside look at farming and rural life in Glenview during the first part of the 20th century. For the harvest season, you can dive into a day of farm activities, arts and crafts, wagon rides and plenty of harvest treats.

Saturday, October 18, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: $5/person; kids under 2 are free
1510 Wagner Rd.
Glenview
847-657-1506
Online: wagnerfarm.org

Which fall festival are you headed to? Let us know in the Comments!

— Samantha Lande

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