Say it isn’t so?! Yep, It’s time to bid a sweet farewell to a pretty fabulous summer — one for the books, actually. Luckily fall brings about its own host of activities, both indoors and out, that’ll ease the pain and make you forget for a minute that (brrrrrr!) winter is coming. Read on for ideas on making the most of another great season to be a Chicagoan.

photo: courtesy of Sarah Lenssen

(1) How can we not start this list with apple picking? Get those apple pie recipes ready! Grab your buckets, your wagon and your favorite apple picking partners and hit up these farms ripe for the picking!

(2) You’ll be amazed at the level of intricacy and creativity that go into these awesomely amazing corn mazes that make it easy to play a little game of lost and found with the family.

photo: Starved Rock


(3) No need to start hibernating just yet! Low-key hiking trails perfect for little legs help you keep the outdoor fun rolling into autumn.

(4) For those days it gets a bit nippy, grab your mini stroller jockeys and hit up a guided museum tour.

Photo: The Garden of the Phoenix

(5) Reds, oranges, yellows . . . every shade of brown you can imagine. You won’t want to miss a second of the leaves changing color. Seek out a prime spot that maximizes frolicking in the fall foliage. (Don’t forget to take a cool shot for the family holiday card!)

photo: Lincoln Park Zoo

(6) Around every corner you turn in Chicago, you’ll find a fall festival to stock up on pumpkins, bump around on a hay ride and sip cider while you get a sweet taste of autumn. Oh, and be sure to let your nose guide you to freshly baked apple cider donuts that are in abundance this time of year.

(7) Speaking of pumpkins, nothing says “I love fall!” like a nice festive pumpkin on your stoop. Find the perfect jack-o-lantern at one of these pumpkin patches in and around the city.

(8) Nosh on a bit of traditional German fare while you watch a rotating array of European musicians playing oompah music at Hofbräuhaus Chicago’s Oktoberfest.

photo: courtesy of Brittany Randolph via flickr

(9) Temps dropping is the perfect excuse for staying in bed and cozying up with a book. Stock up on the newest titles getting all the buzz and the oldies, but goodies at these Indie bookstores . . . some even have regular storytimes!

(10) If you’re trying to stick to the great outdoors as much as possible before that first flake falls, check out nature centers with wild perks for kids or farms that let you get up close and personal with the animals.

How do you plan on making the most of fall this year? Tell us about it in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers