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.
One slice of deep-dish pizza at Gino’s East (trust us, that’s plenty) and you’ll see why it’s a Mag-Mile legend. The secret recipe crust is golden and flaky. The sauce is chunky and tangy. The cheese is creamy and gooey. And the toppings cover the entire surface of the pie, so you get all the flavors in every forkful.
Learn about this Chicago staple’s deep culinary history and discover the best places in the city to try a pie.
Even the food in Chicago embraces the vibrant colors of fall. Take the Chicago-style hot dog from Portillo’s for example. It sports rich red tomato wedges, a splash of vivid yellow mustard, a burnt orange frank, and an earthy poppy seed bun. It also sports neon green relish, which while not a fall color, adds a bit of tangy sweetness.
Hear the story behind the Chicago-style hot dog and learn what condiments go on and in what order and which never, ever do.
Revolution Brewing brews their Oktoberfest Lager during the steamy dog days of summer. Then they cold store at a frosty 32ºF for 4 weeks until fall arrives and it’s time to celebrate the harvest or a night out in the amazing city. This robust German-style beer is full-bodied and balanced, malty and toasty, with a crisp bitterness and earthy spice.
It’s the fall drink dilemma, order a hard apple cider or a fall beer? The beer craftsmen at Scorched Earth Brewery have made it an easy choice. Both. In one glass, their Barrel #12 beer blends the rich, complex spicy notes of a Belgian ale, with the crisp tartness of a hard apple cider, and some subtle fruity grape flavors.
Raise a glass to all the amazing wine, beer, and spirits makers in the great state of Illinois.
You can tell by its clever name that the Hoodie Weather Lager from Forbidden Root Brewing Co. is all fall. The beer is aged in oak barrels, which gives it a bold, complex taste. This smooth lager has slight caramel-like flavors and a woodsy aroma reminiscent of an October bonfire. And its copper color perfectly complements the changing leaves’ hues.
If you’re in the mood for a different beverage aged to perfection in an oak barrel, check out Chicago’s best places to drink whiskey.
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 miles from the ocean, but it’s still the habitat of several belugas. The underwater galleries at Shedd Aquarium offer fish-eye views of these amazing marine mammals. After your oceanic voyage, take a quick walk through the Museum Campus to the Field Museum. You’ll be able to explore millions of years of natural history and take selfies with dinosaurs.
Explore the rest of Chicago and spend an epic day full of activities and more in the Second City.
There’s no more exhilarating way to take in the city’s iconic skyline than from Skydeck Chicago. Even if you’re not afraid of heights, your heart is sure to race as you step out onto the glass ledge 1,353 feet in the air. Once your heart rate settles down, check out the interactive attractions celebrating the history of the Willis Tower.
As the city that invented the skyscraper, Chicago has no shortage of supertall buildings. Here’s a list of the 11 you can’t miss on your next architecture tour.
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 few decades, Kingston Mines and Buddy Guy’s Legends have been keeping the passion alive. Nearly every night, the clubs host a number of live sets by contemporary or old-school blues artists. Their authentic, relaxed atmospheres have won them won a number of local and national excellency awards.
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. The 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. Please note that Cloud Gate is closed through Spring 2024.
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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