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: Donley’s Wild West Town


Museum Campus

Cling to Summer with Field Market Days
Enjoy fresh food, live music, and lakefront views at a monthly farmers market in The Field Museum’s own backyard! Shop local produce, prepared foods, craft beer and other goods offered by local businesses and vendors. Sat. Event details.

Near East Side

Schedule a Dinner & a Cruise to Remember
Lawry’s The Prime Rib is teaming up with the Chicago Architecture Foundation for an unforgettable cruise down Chicago’s famous river. Experience the architectural highlights on both branches of the river and then enjoy a three-course meal of Lawry’s The Prime Rib classics. Fri.-Sun. 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 (we run 5K) the features kid-sized races and a post-race breakfast. ​Sun. Event details.


Last Chance to Sunday with the Sox
The Family Sunday White Sox ballpark experience features special kid-focused activities throughout the concourse and the opportunity to run the bases after games. Sun. Event details.


Come One, Come All! 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  — this week’s venue is Lake Shore Park. 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.

Wicker Park

Strap on an Apron for a Family Cooking Class
Kids work side-by-side with their parents (or grandparents!) to make and then enjoy a delicious meal. It’s the perfect combo of a fun activity, hands-on cooking instruction, a delicious dinner and recipes so you can recreate the dishes at home. Fri. Event details.



Participate in a World Peace Day Fall Run/Walk
Kick off fall with Play for Peace. This family friendly event brings people together to celebrate World Peace Day, a global celebration recognized by the United Nations. The night includes an International Food Festival, music, face painting, cooperative games, raffles and silent auction. Fri. Event details.


Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America
Experience the delightful sights and sounds of miniature trains traversing high and low tunnels, across bridges and around buildings at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Model Railroad Garden. The exhibit features 18 garden-scale trains on 1,600 feet of track with vignettes of tiny people and animals that give it a storybook feel. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Long Grove

Show Your Love for Apples at an Apple Fest
Expect bushels of fun at Historic Downtown Long Grove’s 26th annual Apple Festival. Take in the beautiful fall outdoor ambiance of the charming village and participate in the many activities offered, including free live music, apple pie eating contests and more. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Keep Coming Back For this Fall-Long Festival
Take a little drive for more than 25 family friendly attractions at the Shades of Autumn Festival. Of course you have the traditional hayrides, pumpkin picking and petting zoo, but, the little ones are also going to be wowed by the famous pumpkin cannon, hamster track, semi-truck slide, trikes for tikes, scrumptious apple cider donuts and so much more. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Get the Kids in on the Oktoberfest Fun at Hofbräuhaus Chicago
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). There are also kids’ parades and games, and you might even see an aplhorn, a long horn used by Swiss mountain dwellers. 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.

Can’t get enough of those fests? Check out our story: Harvest Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss. For more ideas on how to spend this weekend, check out our Family Events Calendar

We’d love for you to get chatty about how you’re going to spend your weekend in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers