Things to do with your kids this fall in Chicago

Written by: Desiree Vargas Wrigley

Fall activities in Chicago

Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

Over the last year, I have read—well, listened to—two books that have changed the way I think about spending time with my children. The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabari is a great reminder to be present and grateful for the fortunate role we have as guides to our children on their journeys to adulthood. The second is called The Power of Moments, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, and is about how we remember moments in our lives because they elevate us, connect us with others, provide deep insights and make us feel proud.

As the school year begins and the chaos of shorter days and impossibly short weekends are upon us, I am trying very hard to make sure that of the 24 waking hours my husband and I have with our children each weekend are not filled, but are fulfilling. To me, that means creating moments of presence and intention, where we connect, laugh, learn and stretch our children to grow.

Here are a few of the activities we’re planning this fall:

Picnic on the South Side of Montrose Harbor Every year, we pack up the car with outdoor games, blankets, and yummy food and head over to the south end of Montrose Harbor. While the weather is warm, the boats are still out and you get one of the most beautiful views of the city.

Worth the drive: Michigan leaves and apple picking We love heading to Michigan for a day trip with the kids. In 60–90 minutes, you can be on beautiful beaches, in welcoming vineyards or exploring the dunes. We love to go in October to catch the leaves changing and hit one of the apple orchards. This year we’re headed to Harvest Fest at Jollay Orchards (during weekends through November). Keep in mind that you lose an hour on the way there, so leave early!

Family Day Bulls Games We’re not crazy sports fans, but we do love cheering on Chicago teams and want our children to grow up with hometown pride. Professional sports can be an expensive splurge, but the Bulls offer seven Family Days a season (the first is October 9). Tickets are $25 and include hot dogs, chips, and a drink.

Fall Festivals throughout Chicagoland From Fall Color Festival at the Morton Arboretum to Oktoberfest in Mount Prospect, we love to explore and celebrate with different suburbs around Chicago. Our favorites: BatFest in Batavia, Apple Fest in Lincoln Square and Oktoberfest at Naper Settlement in Naperville.

Desiree is mother to Griffin (6) and Aedan (4) and stepmother to Danielle (12). She is the founder of Pearachute, a family activity booking platform, and is married to John, a long-time Chicago police officer. 

Related articles:

The top fall family activities in Chicago

How to make Halloween healthier without being a killjoy

For kids with food allergies, teal is the new orange on Halloween

The NPN blog gives voice to our members' thoughts about parenting in the city, and the views expressed don't necessarily reflect our own. Want to write for us? Email laura@npnparents.orgwith your topic ideas.


Posted on September 18, 2019 at 2:27 PM