HEAD DOWNTOWN CHICAGO THIS FALL Visiting pumpkin patches and picking apples at the orchard are the staples of fall fun in the suburbs, but don’t forget all that downtown Chicago has to offer this time of year, too. There is truly something for all ages!
The Metra (www.metrarail.com/maps-schedules) is an affordable and relaxing way to get to the city, but I also found using Spot Hero (www.spothero.com) or similar apps with new customer discount codes make city parking super cheap. I parked at the Millennium Parking Garage (www.millenniumgarages.com) for 10 hours for just $9! Once you arrive, travel to your next stop in Fall style by taking a Second City Tuk Tuk (www.chicagopedicab.org). You will love the view from your open air seating and it’s a great way to beat the traffic while taking in the sights.
We chose to head to the completely revamped Chicago Riverwalk (www.chicagoriverwalk.us)! So many new outdoor restaurant venues inclusive with patio heaters designed to make Fall weather conditions comfortable and enjoyable, while fully appreciating front row seats to the river boating activity. We hung out at Island Party Hut (www.islandpartyhut.com) for lunch and enjoyed free live music, giant Jenga, Bags, and ping pong. Very casual, awesome ambience and best yet – open throughout the entire Fall season!
Just a 10 minute walk from our lunch spot, our next adventure took us on a bike tour with Bike and Roll Chicago (www.bikechicago.com). Since they are opened till the end of October there are plenty of opportunities to tour the city both formally and informally – with or without kids – rent bikes or take a guided tour via the bicycles or Segways. I love the family friendly options like the Lincoln Park Bike Adventure which includes the Lakefront, Navy Pier, North Avenue Beach, Lincoln Park Zoo and the Conservatory – easy riding and fun for all ages. They have tandem bikes, Burley Cubs, Yepp Maxi bike seats for babies, Gazelle Cabbies, and Trek Tagalongs. Of course, having teens myself, I always have to make it extra exciting to get them to join me, so we chose the Bike at Night Tour (seasonal). Having an unexpected downpour just led to more laughter and squeals, proving that no matter what the Fall weather brings – a poncho and a flexible tour guide can keep the festivities going! Although the night tours are seasonal, you can still rent the bikes to see the Buckingham Fountain Lights
(www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/clarence-f-buckingham-memorial-fountain) through mid-October or the Navy Pier Fireworks (www.navypier.com/fireworks/) on October 28! They even provide great maps so you won’t get lost (www.bikechicago.com/map).
If heading downtown, and biking or Segways are not your thing, some other great ideas include fall events at Lincoln Park Zoo (www.lpzoo.org/events) or dinner and hot chocolate at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate Restuarant & Dessert Bar on North Damen (www.hotchocolatechicago.com). Perhaps make a day of searching for treasures at Randolph Street Market (www.randolphstreetmarket.com) or join the Chicago Bears Ultimate Tailgate Party two and half hours before each game located on the Stadium Green and Southwest Lawn. In October, fans will also enjoy special Halloween-themed activities and decorations (www.chicagobears.com/events/ultimate-tailgate.html).
As you can see, there’s lots of fun to be had downtown Chicago this fall season. Enjoy and Happy Fall. -Kristen Kucharski