Chicago is a great location year round, but there are a few annual events that make autumn a great time to live in the area. From museum discounts to a weekend dedicated entirely to apples, there’s plenty of fall fun to be had for the whole family!
Oktoberfest Chicago: This weekend, kick off the fall celebration with a Chicago spin on the traditional Bavarian holiday. There’s even a 5k on Thursday evening (the Brat Trot) with bratwurst and beer waiting at the finish line. Kinderfest, the family friendly portion of the weekend, is from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5, and tickets for the craft beer tasting on Friday and Saturday are $40. For more information, visit their website (you can also purchase tickets for the beer tasting).
Long Grove Apple Fest: If you’re up for a bit of a drive in the name of apples, head to Long Grove for their annual Apple Fest. Local businesses create a variety of apple inspired goods, from apple cider donuts to carmel apple lattes. There will be bands playing and other activities to participate in throughout the weekend, and tickets are $5 for the day (or $10 for a 3-day pass!). For more information and directions, you can visit their website here.
Chicago Museum Week: Starting on October 13th to 23rd, participating museums in the city will offer special programming and 25% discounts on admission for Illinois residents. Participating museums include Adler Planetarium, Chicago History Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Shedd Aquarium. For a full list of participating museums, you can visit their website here.
Chicago International Film Festival: Back for its 52nd year, the Chicago International Film Festival presented by Cinema/Chicago is scheduled for October 13-27th. The festival began in 1964 as a way to ”provide an alternative to the commercial Hollywood movies that dominated the city’s theaters.” The full list of screenings is on their website here.
Open House Chicago: For 48 hours, you can tour some of Chicago’s historic buildings for free (although some require an RSVP). Some of the buildings include the Elks National Memorial, Big Monster Toys, Ernest Hemingway’s Birth Home, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, Firehouse Chicago, and many more. Tours begin October 15 through October 16, and you can plan out what buildings you want to see on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s website.
The Halloween Gathering: The Halloween Gathering is returning for its second year! Brought to life by the Chicago Cultural Mile Association, the afternoon festival begins at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 22nd and includes many local businesses and institutions. The Spectacle Parade is later that evening, from 6-8 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, you can visit the Chicago Cultural Mile Association’s website (and stay up to date with their other events).
Chicago Day of the Dead: The National Museum of Mexican Art celebrates its 30th annual Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, on October 30th. This is a celebration for loved ones who are no longer with us. You can submit a photograph of your loved one on their website, and it will be projected on the exterior of the museum. Submissions are free, and portrait-style images are preferred (as opposed to group or candid photos).
Whether your favorite part of fall is the changing leaves, chilly air, delicious food, or the fact that Halloween is just around the corner, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season here in Chicago!