Pumpkins that run the gamut, freshly picked apples begging for your bite, crisp walks in the jack-o-lantern-lit woods, what more could you want from a midwest fall weekend? Maybe visit bookshelf favorites on stage or in exhibit-form, take a brand-new journey with wndr Museum, or experience Day of the Dead themed activities.  Read on for our Editor’s picks on making your way around town this weekend.

photo: Very Hungry Caterpillar, credit Russ Rowland


Lincoln Park

Dive into Autumn at LPZ’s Fall Fest
Usher in the harvest season with your animal friends at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest, a family celebration complete with rides, sing-a-longs, activities and entertainment. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Participate in a Fun Run for Kids
Join in the fun for Kids Run This City’s fall race taking place in Chicago’s iconic Lincoln Park. Featuring a 1K, 2K & 3K, all runners will receive a race t-shirt, finisher’s medal and swag-bag and can celebrate at a family-friendly, post-run party. Sun. Event details

Navy Pier

Say Hi to Familiar Faces at a Mo Willems Exhibit
The Chicago Children’s Museum debuted a sure to be kid-favorite, The Pigeon Comes to Chicago! A Mo Willems Exhibit, inspired by the art and characters of the beloved children’s book author and illustrator. Fri.-Sun. Event details

New! Check Out the First-Ever Pier Pumpkin Lights
Explore a variety of pumpkin pop-up installations throughout the Pier and enjoy fabulous fall deals. From jack o’lantern towers to light displays, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination will be decked out for fall. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Last Chance! View the Ship of Tolerance
A conceptual free public art installation is docked in Navy Pier’s Polk Bros Park as a visual representation and vessel of tolerance and peace. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Enjoy All Things Apple at Lincoln Square Ravenswood Apple Fest 
Apples stand as everyone’s favorite fall fruit, and this fest celebrates them all: from apple cider to apple strudel and handcrafted items. There is also a kid zone full of children’s activities and live music throughout the day. Sat. & Sun. Event details

West Loop

Watch a Bookshelf Favorite Come Alive
Eric Carle’s beloved tale of an insatiable herbivore that munches its way to become a full-fledged butterfly takes wing in this charming Chicago Children’s Theatre’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Journey with wndr Somewhere Between Chapter 2 and 3
In A Hero’s Journey Through wndr, guests are encouraged to explore new installations and create their own stories through thought-provoking, multisensory, interactive experiences. Fri.-Sun. Event details


Glen Ellyn

Go Beyond the Mariachi with Sugar Skull
Enjoy a one-hour joyous, heartfelt adventure that delves into the rich, tuneful traditions of the Day of the Dead through music and dance. Fri. Event details


Choo Choo! Get Your Train Fix at Model Railroad Garden
Experience the delightful sights and sounds of miniature trains traversing high and low tunnels, across bridges and around buildings at Chicago Botanic Garden. Fri.-SunEvent details.


Hit Up Parkway Bank Park’s Family Fall Fest
The fourth annual celebration will feature a variety of free activities for families to enjoy including a petting zoo, bounce houses, pumpkin painting, balloon sculptors, face painting and magic acts. Families can also enjoy live music from interactive and energetic children’s band “ScribbleMonster.” Sat. Event details.


New! Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Discovery
Things are about to get spooky with spell-binding scavenger hunts, giant Halloween models, and meet-and-greets with LEGOLAND‘s LEGO Shark & Police Officer. 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


Keep It Free or Cheap in Chicago This Fall

Ideas Big and Small to Honor Hispanic Heritage Month in Chicago

Chicago’s Themed Restaurants You HAVE to Try at Least Once

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