Chicago gets cooler in the fall. And it’s not just the weather. A whole world of amazing autumn activities, delicious foods, and gorgeous colors awaits. Find them all on the map below and start planning your trip to the Second City.
From the moment you glimpse the lion statues and its stately Beaux-Arts façade, you’ll know this museum is special. Considered one of the world’s great art museums, the Art Institute of Chicago houses an unparalleled collection of everything from ancient sculptures to postmodernist paintings. Within its walls for your viewing pleasure live works by many of history’s preeminent artistic masters.
The Art Institute of Chicago may be world-renowned but these lesser known museums have amazing exhibits that make them just as worthy of a visit.
Chicago is hundreds of miles from the ocean, but it’s still the habitat of several whale species, like the beluga. The underwater galleries at Shedd Aquarium offer magnificent, fish-eye views of these marvelous marine mammals. Those looking to make friends with a beluga can participate in an interactive encounter where they can pet one and even teach it a few tricks.
Explore the rest of Chicago and spend an epic day full of activities and more in the Second City.
The Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier is as prominent a part of the Chicago skyline as the skyscrapers. This nearly 200-foot Ferris wheel gives riders amazing 360-degree views of the Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan in swanky, high-tech climate-controlled gondolas with movie theater-style seats. The wheel itself is adorned with lights that turn it into a dazzling display of color.
From zoos filled with exotic animals to historical sites with reenactors, Illinois has no shortage of places to have fun with your entire family.
During its storied 107-year history, the Green Mill Lounge has been a beer garden, a speakeasy, and a dive bar. Today, it’s a popular jazz club where you can relive the glitz & glamour of the Jazz Age. Live music plays 7 days a week and there’s a dance floor where you can show off those vintage, 1930s dance moves.
The only thing Chicago loves more than music is live music. Here’s a list of places to listen to the music of the city’s soundtrack in person.
Chicago was the city that electrified the blues. And for the past five decades, Kingston Mines has been keeping the passion alive. The club features two stages, which allows you to see twice as many contemporary blues legends in one night. Their authentic, relaxed atmosphere (and delicious barbecue) has won them won a number of local and national excellency awards. While you're in the area, enjoy free entry to connect with nature at the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory.
The mixture of rustic rhythms and urban grit of Chicago Blues flows through every corner of the city. Check out other blues venues that call Chicago their sweet home.
Though more famous for its artistic masterpieces, Millennium Park’s fall landscapes are equally amazing. Elms, hawthorn, and maples feature prominently throughout the grounds. Their deep reds and bright golds of their changing leaves juxtapose beautifully with the more muted colors of Michigan Avenue. Head to Cloud Gate at twilight and take a pic of the kaleidoscopic display of fall colors.
Learn all there is to know about Chicago’s front yard and see what else the city’s second largest visitor attraction has to offer.
The Magnificent Mile is one of the most underrated top spots to see fall colors in Chicago. Seasonal plant displays span along the median of Michigan Avenue enlivening the streetscape with fall flowers. Near its northern end, is Jane Byrne Plaza. This small oasis surrounding the Chicago Historic Water Tower features magnificent trees that cover the paths with vivid fall leaves.
The 13-block stretch of Michigan Avenue north of the Chicago River has so much to art, culture, and of course, shopping. Here’s your guide to mastering the Magnificent Mile.
As the largest park in Chicago, Lincoln Park has no shortage of trees bursting with fall colors. Maple, ash, birch, and elm trees paint the park’s picturesque grounds with a palette of fall reds, oranges, and yellows. After your stroll, you can check out some more exotic flora and fauna at the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Some of Illinois’ most beautiful landscapes are hidden in plain sight. Discover some of our state’s lesser-known natural treasures.
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