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20 Fun Places to Spend New Year’s in USA

Fireworks display at night in Miami, Florida.

Ring in the New Year with a bang! 

Celebrate in style at one of the many places hosting exciting events happening throughout the United States at this time of the year- from celebrations at Times Square in New York City to the fireworks in Las Vegas.

To help plan your trip, this guide explores some of the best places to spend New Years in USA featuring activities that will keep you entertained.

The destinations mentioned below are sectioned into cities and states where they are found for easier navigation.

For an ultimate list of things to do in the US, read our USA bucket list.

Eastern United State Cities to Visit for New Year’s

Check out the New Year’s Eve celebration happening around the East Coast.

From lively New York City to historic Philadelphia, there’s plenty to do and see. 

You may also like our guide to the best places to visit in December in the USA.

Times Square in New York on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve in the US has a lot of hype and excitement built up around it, so if you’re looking for one place to go this year, make it New York City.

Times Square hosts one of the most extravagant and exciting New Years celebrations in the world, and everyone should make the trip at least once.

The Annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square is a free event open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Arrive in the early afternoon at the latest to gain entry to the viewing areas before the evening, when festivities officially begin.

Enter Times Square from 6th Ave and 8th Ave, and celebrate all night with live performances, music entertainment, and ring in the New Year with the famous ball drop at midnight from the top of One Times Square.

If you’re hoping to escape the Times Square crowds, get on board an all-inclusive party cruise to ring in the new year!

For even more NYC ideas this New Year’s, check out our NYE getaway guide!

Niagara Falls New Year’s Eve USA

If Niagara Falls has been on your bucket list for places to visit in the US, take the trip this New Years Eve.

For the best New Year’s Eve fireworks display, head to Prospect Point in Niagara Falls State Park.

This is the prime viewing location for the fireworks display unless you would like to cross the border to Queen Victoria Park in Canada.

After watching the spectacular show, plan to stay overnight in the Comfort Inn, The Pointe (1 Prospect Pointe).

If you’re looking for a beautiful New Year’s eve destination in the USA, opt for Niagara Falls.

Niagara falls also features in our guide to the best places to visit in the US in May.

Niagara Falls and fireworks.

Philadelphia, PA New Year’s Eve

This city is one of the most accessible places to find lots of enjoyment on New Year’s Eve.

Philly is known for its open bars throughout the city, making it one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s in the USA.

Be sure to ring in the new year at the Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront, with shows at 6 pm and midnight.

For a luxurious (and pet-friendly) overnight stay, book a room at the Kimpton Hotel (117 S 17th St).

Fireworks at Philadelphia's City Hall on New Year's Eve.

Baltimore New Year’s Eve 

New Year’s Eve in Baltimore is filled with entertaining events.

Charm City Countdown‘s annual New Year’s Eve Charity Gala is one of the most anticipated parties with different themes every year.

There’s live music, food, drinks, and more.

For something kid-friendly, you can check out the  Maryland Science Center’s annual Midnight Noon celebration featuring a noontime ball drop with fun activities for the kids to enjoy.

If you want to experience something unique, drive 45 minutes from Baltimore and witness an annual Duck Drop celebration in Havre de Grace.

Every New Year’s Eve, a large wooden duck is dropped into the water followed by a firework display.

Annapolis New Year’s Eve

There is so much to do in Annapolis for the new year, but the fireworks display at the City Dock (Dock St) are particularly exciting.

For a fun family-centered event, visit the Anne Arundel County Public Library (269 Hillsmere Dr) for a Countdown to Noon New Year’s celebration.

Your special evening celebrating the new year deserves a luxury hotel- stay for a night or two at 134 Prince (134 Prince George St).

Washington, DC New Year’s Eve

You can do a ton around the city for relatively cheap on New Year’s Eve.

Millions of people come to Washington, D.C. every year for this special night’s celebrations, including the dazzling fireworks show seen from the National Mall.

There are so many upscale events to choose from on this night, including speakeasy-style gala at Hotel Washington (515 15th St NW).

Washington DC is one of the best cities to spend New Year’s in the US.

Fireworks at Capitol Hill and the Peace Monument in Washington, DC.

Knoxville, TN New Year’s Eve

If you’re looking for fun and music-filled places to visit for New Years in the USA, take a trip to Knoxville.

Tennessee is known for its bustling live music scene, and Knoxville is no exception.

Join in on the fun at the Sunsphere at World’s Fair Park (525 Henley St), where you can enjoy free activities and a firework show when the ball drops at midnight.

Atlanta, GA New Year’s Eve

Atlanta, Georgia is one of the best NYE destinations in the USA.

It is most well-known for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (3284 Northside Pkwy), the yearly football playoff event that takes place on New Year’s Eve.

For even more fun, grab your tickets for an All-Inclusive NYE Party at the Park Tavern (500 10th St), where drinks, music, and dancing are in abundance all night long.

After a wild night on the town, book a cozy night at the Omni Hotel (2625 Circle 75 Parkway) in downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta also features in our guide to places to visit in USA in January.

St Augustine, FL New Year’s Eve

The oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the US, St Augustine, puts on quite the show with a free fireworks from St. Augustine Beach.

There are multiple viewing platforms and a shuttle from St Augustine where the party continues at the restaurants and St George Street bars.

The festive Nights of Lights will still be running which is a delight for visitors.

Check out our guide to warm places to visit in the US in December for more.

Miami, FL New Year’s Eve

Miami has some of the best restaurants and forms of entertainment in the country, which makes it one of the best places to go for New Years in the USA.

Check out the Play Pool Party at Clevelander South Beach (1020 Ocean Dr) for a fun and wild celebration.

The fireworks in Miami take place in Bayfront Park (301 Biscayne Blvd), though the celebrations at the park start before 8 pm.

For extra water fun, book a ferry cruise in Biscayne Bay for an open bar and amazing views of the Miami fireworks and skyline.

Check out our guide to warm December destinations if you prefer the beach over bundling!

Fireworks display at night in Miami, Florida.

Key West, FL New Year’s Eve

Florida Key’s Key West is a happening city to visit all year round but it is particularly wild for New Year’s Eve.

While NYC has the ball drop, Key West has the conch drop at the legendary Sloppy Joe’s and the red shoe drop at New Orleans House.

Revelers love to catch the sunset at Mallory Square, and party the day and night away on Duval Street.

Best Central US Cities for NYE

From festive parties to spectacular fireworks displays, here are places to visit for some of the best central US cities for New Year’s Eve.

Chicago New Year’s Eve

There is so much fun to explore and you can find quite a few things to do for a pretty small cost.

Navy Pier hosts the most incredible fireworks display over Lake Michigan every year, but you can also catch them in the heart of downtown along a mile of the Chicago River.

If you’re looking for a quiet New Year’s Eve destination in the USA, head to Chicago’s own Kingston Mines (2548 N Halsted St), a classic blues club with a chill atmosphere and amazing music.

Fulfill your glamorous Chicago New Year’s Eve dreams by staying a night or two at the Palmer House Hilton (17 E Monroe St), a historic hotel with modern charm.

Christmas Tree Magnificent Mile Chicago

Omaha New Year’s Eve

You might not think that Omaha, Nebraska is one of the best places to visit for New Year’s Eve in the US, but it stands out for its comedy events, four-course meal parties, and more.

The fireworks are amazing, on view at the CHI Health Center (455 N 10th St) in Omaha.

For the best, most welcoming accommodations you can count on after a night of festivities, reserve your room at The Farnam (1299 Faram St).

New Orleans New Year’s Eve

NOLA is very easy to explore and get around, making it one of the best places for New Year’s in the USA.

The wildest party always takes place in Jackson Square, where the brightly-lit Fleur De Lis drops at the stroke of midnight.

Live music is playing throughout the city but stop by Frenchmen Street for a non-stop dance party.

Stay in a luxury, historic hotel like the Bourbon Orleans Hotel to complete your New Orleans New Year’s Eve experience.

Western Cities in the US to Spend New Year’s Eve

From Seattle to Los Angeles, there are endless opportunities on the West Coast to celebrate the end of the year.

Below are some of the western cities in the US to spend New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve in Seattle, Washington

You won’t believe how fun STL New Year’s Eve can be, year after year.

The Space Needle (400 Broad St) is the main attraction in this city: at midnight, fireworks burst all around the iconic landmark.

For an upscale event, pick up your tickets to the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party at the Hyatt Regency (808 Howell St).

Be sure to check out all the exciting events and activities at Seattle Center, including live music, dance parties, and more.

For more things to do in the city, read our Seattle itinerary.

Fireworks display near the space needle in Seattle during New Year's Eve.

Portland, Oregon New Year’s Eve

Portland is known for its unique New Year’s Eve celebration events.

Two interesting events happening on this holiday are the Champagne Ball and the Governor’s Ball, both black-tie parties.

For something a little less glam, head to the Eastside Bar and Grille (2530 NE 82nd Ave) for a night of punk music.

No matter how you decide to spend your New Year’s Eve, Portland is one of the best places for New Year’s in the USA.

You may also like to read our Portland itinerary to find more things to do during your stay in the city.

Portland Oregon sign at night

San Francisco, California New Year’s Eve

San Francisco is an amazing city to spend New Year’s Eve exploring because it is home to tons of restaurants, music venues, and more.

Watch the fireworks from the eastern waterfront and enjoy the gorgeous Bay Bridge in the background.

Pick a spot on the wide sidewalks to the south of the Ferry Building (1 Ferry Building) to watch the amazing show.

For a beautiful and historic accommodation for your New Year’s Eve celebrations, stay at the Handlery Union Square Hotel (351 Geary St).

For more things to do in the evening, you may also like our guide to San Francisco at night.

Firework show in the background of the Golden Gate Bridge

Los Angeles, California New Year’s Eve

Mark LA on your list as one of the many cool places to go for New Years in the US.

The whole family will love EVE by Universal Studios Hollywood (100 Universal City Plaza), a festive celebration featuring late-night entry, cocktails, and party locations throughout the park.

Marina del Rey (Bali Way and Admiralty Way) features two fireworks shows; one at 9 pm and the other at midnight.

For more things to do in LA, check out this guide.

Flashing fireworks and Lost Angeles cityscape in the evening.

Las Vegas New Year’s Eve

The US New Year is so spectacular in Las Vegas because of the amazing fireworks display.

Fireworks are a classic New Year’s Eve tradition in the USA, and the city of Las Vegas is truly over the top.

All 4 miles of the Vegas strip are closed off to car traffic in the evening to allow for free movement of foot traffic.

While rooftops are the best places to watch the fireworks, you will likely need a room key or a rooftop restaurant reservation at a place like Chateau Rooftop (3655 Las Vegas Blvd South).

A little-known secret: head to the top level of a parking garage to watch the show for free!

Welcome to Las Vegas sign at night

Salt Lake City New Year’s Eve

One of the most anticipated events in Salt Lake City every New Year’s Eve is the Last Hurrah, Utah’s largest countdown celebration.

The free event is held in downtown Salt Lake and features a fireworks display, live music, performances, pop-up bars, and more.

You can also find formal gala events in the city like the annual New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball.

Enjoy the night of dancing, great food, and meeting new people.

Snap great photos at their fun photo booth or get a chance to win prizes and giveaways.

Final Thoughts

We hope you find our list of places to spend the New Year in the USA helpful.

Tell us in the comments which destination you’ll be spending New Year’s Eve at- we can hardly wait to hear about all the amazing plans!

Illinois in Winter: Attractions & Festive Things to Do

Downtown Chicago winter view with frozen lake

Whether you’re looking for an adventure-filled winter vacation or a relaxing getaway, Illinois has something to offer during the season.

Winter in the state can be cold, with temperatures that can drop to 10°F in the north and upper 20s in the south.

You’ll find snow-covered grounds presenting a beautiful landscape, and there are plenty of winter activities to keep people busy.

To help plan your trip, this guide will explore the things you can do in Illinois in winter like skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, winter hiking, and some winter-themed events.

Things to do in Illinois in the Winter

The activities listed below are sectioned by regions where they are located.

So get ready to put on your layers and prepare for your next winter adventure in Illinois.

You may also like our USA bucket list which features Illinois.

Northern Illinois Winter Getaways

Start your winter getaway in Illinois by visiting the northern part of the state for some awesome activities like skiing, snowboarding, and holiday light displays.

The following list will feature destinations in Northern Illinois including the town of Galena, Campton Hills, and Rockford.

Visit the Beautiful Town of Galena

Galena is one of the best places to visit in Illinois in winter because it offers lots of activities you can enjoy during the season.

If you look forward to skiing or snowboarding, you can go to Chestnut Mountain Resort (8700 W Chestnut Mountain Rd).

It features a 7-acre terrain park and 19 ski runs.

For beginners, they also offer skiing and snowboarding lessons.

Once you’ve had your fill of skiing the slopes, book a room at the Chestnut Mountain Resort Inn.

Ski boarder at sunset on snowy mountain

Cross-Country Skiing at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa

For more things to do in Galena, Illinois in winter,  you can head to the Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa (444 Eagle Ridge Dr).

The resort features facilities where you can do ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, or cross-country skiing- and offer equipment rentals for these activities. 

Picture of snowshoes in winter

Winter Carnival

The best part of Galena’s winter season is the amazing Winter Carnival at Eagle Ridge.

There are arts and crafts activities, bonfires, ice carving, and more to enjoy.

Visitors can also find treats and drinks that are perfect for the season like hot chocolate and S’mores.

Ice Sculpting Contest in Rockford

For even more wintry wonder, make plans to attend the yearly Ice Sculpting Contest (1401 N 2nd St) in Rockford.

Located in the historic Sinnissippi Park, the Ice Sculpting Contest is a favorite event for locals and travelers alike.

For three days every January, the best sculptors from across the state go head-to-head to create the best ice sculpture.

Admission is free, which makes this an awesome winter activity for anyone.

Witness the Amazing Light Show in Elburn

Visiting the free Larsen Light Show (42W891 Beith Rd, Campton Hills) is one of the most festive things to do in Illinois in the winter.

From the end of November to Christmastime, you can stop by as soon as the sun sets and be amazed by a truly spectacular light display.

Be sure to enter by way of Route 38 or Route 64, as no traffic is allowed from the east on Beith Rd!

Wander Around the Morton Arboretum

Despite the bitter cold, winter in Illinois can be a magical time.

The Morton Arboretum (4100 Rte 53, Lisle) is open year-round and affords one of the best snowy walks in northern Illinois.

With 16 miles of trails and tens of thousands of trees, you’ll love strolling around the gardens and collections as the snow falls.

You won’t want to miss the winter event called Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum, so be sure to get tickets now!

Things to Do in Chicago in Winter

Even though Chicago is located in northern Illinois, there are too many things to do in the city that shouldn’t take away from other winter activities in Illinois’s northern region.

You may also like our guide to Chicago at Christmas.

Ice Skate at Maggie Daley Park

For the most magical and romantic ice skating date, head to Maggie Daley Park to skate around the Ice Ribbon (337 E Randolph St).

The Ribbon is open from November to March and can be pretty crowded, especially on the weekends and holidays.

Reservations are required, whether you need to rent skates or not.

Explore the Frozen Lake

Winter in Illinois wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Lake Michigan to check out the frozen shore.

While the lake never completely freezes over, you’ll be able to see ‘ice pancakes’ in the water, and the edge usually freezes solidly.

Only if it’s safe to do so, walk out a little bit onto the lake’s frozen surface and explore!

You might even see the spectacular waves of frozen shards that occur from time to time.

If you’re not into the frosty winter weather, you can visit Chicago in fall and find many things to do.

Downtown Chicago winter view with frozen lake

Shop, Drink, and Eat at the Christkindlmarket

There is almost nothing more festive than Chicago’s own Christkindlmarket (50 W Washington St)!

The yearly market is modeled after the 16th-century holiday market in Nuremberg, Germany.

You’ll love the beautiful gifts, delicious foods, and all the opportunities to make lasting holiday memories with friends and family.

The market truly is one of the best things to do in Illinois in winter.

Go Sledding at Soldier Field

The midwest can be hopelessly flat, which usually makes it tough to find a good sledding hill.

Luckily, Soldier Field (1410 S Museum Campus Dr) built a 220-foot sledding hill as part of their landscaping design.

Pull on your snow pants and a warm coat and sled down one of the biggest hills in the city.

Take a Speakeasy Cocktail Tour

If you’re wondering what to do in Illinois during the winter, you’ll probably find that bar-hopping is the simplest and warmest activity.

This 3-hour speakeasy tour is a luxury experience in Chicago.

Visit the most coveted speakeasies once visited by gangsters and bank robbers, and taste all the best cocktails the city has to offer.

Plus, you’ll hear the incredible Prohibition-era stories that make Chicago so unique.

Chicago Theatre sign and buildings

Things to Do in Central Illinois

If you’re wondering what to do in Illinois during winter, the central part of the state has small towns and mid-sized cities that offer plenty of activities for the season.

Featured below are towns like Springfield, Quincy, and Andalusia.

Head to Starved Rock for Unique Illinois Winter Activities

Starved Rock State Park is one of the best places in Illinois in winter.

If you are a more adventurous winter person, there are tons of opportunities for ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and hiking on miles of trails.

If you’re interested more in winter wildlife, Starved Rock State Park is a hot spot for bald eagles in the winter.

For the best Illinois winter getaway, you should not miss the #1 attraction in the state of Illinois!

Frozen waterfall in St. Louis Canyon, Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

Adventure at Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park

If you’re planning the perfect Illinois winter vacation, make sure you stop by Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park (9500 126th St W, Andalusia).

Some of the best winter sports are here, including skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and more.

The lift tickets and season passes are for sale on their website, so be sure to reserve ahead of time before you visit.

Check out the Soderstrom Castle

If you’d like to step back in time and explore the wintry wonder of a castle, including the Soderstrom Castle in your plans for a romantic getaway in Illinois in winter.

The stately towers, beautiful views, and charming atmosphere make the Soderstrom Castle a truly unique place to visit in Illinois in winter.

Visit the Historic Town of Springfield

Springfield is one of the best places to go in Illinois in winter because it’s a place for history buffs.

The hometown of Abraham Lincoln, many of the attractions in the town center around his life.

Even still, places like Custom Cup Coffee (319 E Monroe St) and Obed & Isaacs Microbrewery (625 S Second St) are fun spots to visit when you’re passing through.

Make sure to visit the Dana Thomas House (301 E Lawrence Ave), designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, before you leave!

Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield at sunrise.

Visit the Washington Botanical Garden

Located in Springfield, Illinois, the Washington Botanical Garden (1740 W Fayette Ave) is a little oasis in the middle of winter.

The star of the garden is definitely the Conservatory, a 50-foot glass dome that houses more than 150 species of rare and exotic plants.

Enter the Conservatory to feel the warm air, enjoy a bright burst of greenery, and escape the winter’s chill.

Explore the Quaint Town of Quincy

Quincy is actually called “Gem City,” and for good reason.

This small, cozy town is a perfect place to go in winter in Illinois because the downtown area is gorgeous.

There are multiple historic areas of Quincy that you should explore when you visit: the Downtown Quincy Historic District and the South Side German Historic District.

As small as this town may be, you’re still in for a treat if you book a room at the cozy Stoney Creek Inn (3809 E Broadway St), perfect for winter!

Dark wood interiors, an indoor pool, and a sauna are all featured at the inn.

Quincy Memorial Bridge in winter, Quincy,IL.

Southern Illinois Winter Getaway

Southern Illinois, also known as the ‘’Little Egypt’, is home to many historic and cultural sites as well as beautiful sceneries.

And despite the winter weather, this region of the state has plenty of activities to offer that you can enjoy during the season.

Dine at the Oldest Cafe on Route 66

Illinois in the winter can be a brutally cold place.

That’s why you should make sure to get out of the cold and duck into Ariston Cafe for a hot coffee and a hearty sandwich.

Ariston Restaurant (413 Old Rte 66 N, Litchfield) is one of the oldest restaurants on the historic Route 66 highway.

Enjoy a delicious sandwich at this iconic American cafe.

Visit Cedarhurst Center for the Arts

Another great place to see in Illinois in winter is  The Cedarhurst Center for the Arts (2600 Richview Road, Mt Vernon),  a 33,000-acre cultural center that comes with art galleries, a learning center, and a performance hall.

If you go here during the winter, especially in December, you’ll be able to catch The Lights– an annual event featuring around one million holiday lights. 

The whole area transforms into a winter wonderland and you can enjoy lots of family-friendly activities like a holiday movie showing, photos with Santa, art activities, games, and more.

Photograph Mary’s River Covered Bridge

Lots of people prefer covered bridges in the fall, but of all the places to visit in Illinois during winter, covered bridges are some of the best.

Mary’s River Covered Bridge (US Rte 50) is located between Briarhill Rd and Surman Ln.

It was built in 1854 and was key for tolls and agricultural transport.

The covered bridge is a historical site and has a lovely picnic area to rest and set up the perfect photograph!

Hike in Giant City State Park

Winter hiking is some of the best and most serene hiking, especially if you come prepared with enough layers.

One of the best spots to hike in Illinois in winter is at Giant City State Park (235 Giant City Rd, Makanda).

This southern Illinois natural area is a treat to explore in the winter.

Find miles of trails, wildlife sightings, and so much more in this amazing state park.

Have a Tasting at Blue Sky Vineyard

A chill winter’s day is a perfect time to indulge in a glass of local wine.

Blue Sky Vineyard (3150 S Rocky Comfort Rd, Makanda) is a staple of the southern Illinois wine country.

Visit the vineyard, sample some of the best wines in the region, and even take a few bottles home with you as souvenirs!

This winery is a ‘true taste of Tuscany,’ even in the dead of winter.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide helps you discover what to do in Illinois in winter for your next trip. 

Feel free to share your experience or favorite places in the state in the comments below.

Prost!! 20 Best Oktoberfests in the USA

Oktoberfest couple with beer

Prost to the best Oktoberfest in the USA, which will get your lederhosen dusted off this year?

Our guide features the most popular best Oktoberfest beer in USA and lesser-known, more intimate events.

Below you’ll read about the longest-running festivals, the biggest in terms of footfall, alpine villages, music, food, and of course beer!

You may also like our guide to the best places to visit in October in the US, the best things to do in October, and which national parks to visit for fall.

Helen Oktoberfest, Georgia

If there is one Oktoberfest in the US you need to visit, make it Helen Oktoberfest, the longest-running fest in the country.

Hosted by the Helen Festhalle, you can visit most weekends in September and October for an amazing time.

The most notable feature of Helen Oktoberfest is that the town is actually designed as a German-style alpine village.

You get to explore throughout the whole town, not just fairgrounds like other Oktoberfests.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

Of all the Oktoberfests in the US, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the biggest Oktoberfest in the USA.

More than half a million visitors congregate in Cincinnati every year in September to celebrate; in 2021, there were 700,000 guests.

This Oktoberfest is presented by Samuel Adams and features tons of amazing authentic German cuisine.

It is located on 2nd and 3rd Streets, between Elm and Walnut Streets downtown.

Dozens of restaurants, hours of music, and glass after glass of cool beer make this one of the best Oktoberfests in the United States.

Trapp Family Oktoberfest, Stowe, Vermont

One of the newer Oktoberfests in the country, the Trapp Family Oktoberfest in Stowe, VT features a more exclusive, upscale version of the traditional German festival.

Germans settled in Vermont in the late nineteenth century to support Vermont farmers.

This rich history inspires the locally-grown and fresh German food on display at the Von Trapp Brewing Prost for the festival.

Today, the Vermont-based descendants of the von Trapps, a famous Austrian family, host this Oktoberfest.

You’ll love the local and global beers, fresh fare, music, and contests at this yearly festival.

Wooden building Trapp-Family-Lodge-Stowe-Vermont-USA.-An-Austrian-style-named-after-the-Von-Trapp-Family-inspiration-of-the-famous-movie-The-Sound-of-Music

Oktoberfest USA, La Crosse, Wisconsin

The amazing festivities La Crosse put on for their Oktoberfest put them on the map for a 1961 All-American City Award.

If you can believe it, 42% of Wisconsin natives claim some amount of German heritage.

Local industries, small businesses, and hundreds of volunteers bind together every year in La Crosse, Wisconsin to put on an amazing Oktoberfest for locals and travelers alike.

The chamber of commerce, or the town’s governance, has always been the sponsor of this event, making it hyper-local and originally built for its citizens.

Live music, fresh beer, and events and competitions make this one of the best Oktoberfests in America.

Visiting this October? Don’t miss our Wisconsin in fall article.

Saint Paul Oktoberfest, Minneapolis

St. Paul Oktoberfest is hosted at the Germanic-American Institute.

There is a packed line up of cultural activities such as keg tapping, maypole dancing, and live music.

The two-day celebration includes favorite German food like Gerhard’s bratwurst and BBQ!

Fredericksburg Oktoberfest, Texas

Celebrate Fredericksburg, a town founded by German immigrants in 1846, in their Fredericksburg Oktoberfest activities every year at the beginning of October.

With dozens of authentic german beers, amazing continuous live German music, arts and crafts booths, hours of shopping, and more, you won’t be surprised that Fredericksburg Oktoberfest is one of the best US Oktoberfests.

More than 40 years running, this Oktoberfest takes place on the 100 block of W. Main St in Fredericksburg, TX.

Try your hand at a yodel contest or a lederhosen contest; whatever you choose, you’re sure to have an amazing time.

Check out our Texas road trip guide for more on Fredericksburg.

Hats Headquarters High Street Fredericksburg Texas

Addison Oktoberfest, Texas

Known as one of the most authentic Oktoberfests outside of Munich, Addison puts on quite the show.

Featuring polka bands, traditional entertainers, multiple stages, interactive games, and the Dachshund Dash.

This award-winning Oktoberfest is aimed at all ages.

Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, Michigan

The Frankenmuth Oktoberfest is the first festival in the US that was officially blessed by Munich mayor, which means it’s just about as authentic an Oktoberfest as you can find.

Plus, an actual German brewery, Hofbrauhaus, sponsors the festivities every year.

The festival starts on the same day as the official start date of the traditional Munich Oktoberfest, which means you can start celebrating in September!

The star of the weekend are the wiener dog races, which take place on one day during the fest and features 100 star wiener dogs.

Be sure to explore the festival and make the most of one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the US.

Chicago German-American Oktoberfest, Illinois

Every year in mid-September, Chicago hosts one of the best Oktoberfests in America.

Located in Lincoln Square, at the corner of Lincoln and Western, you’ll love the traditional German hospitality that will greet you in the third largest city in the U.S.

From authentic German food to traditional German drinks and live music, you’ll be in awe when you visit Oktoberfest Chicago.

You’ll love the classic German dance performances and the silly carnival games in the historic Logan Square in Chicago.

Be sure to arrive on time for the incredible Oktoberfest parade!

You may also like out guide to Chicago in fall.

Tinley Park, Illinois

Tinley Park Oktoberfest takes place over three days.

The extended weekend event features three days of music, food and beer vendors.

There is also a family-friendly carnival.

The Oktoberfest team encourage Bavarian dress styles to keep in tradition!

Downers Grove, Illinois

Another Illinois favorite is Downers Grove Oktoberfest.

The two-day festival welcomes adults and kids.

Knackwurst and bratwurst, Bavarian soft pretzels, chicken schnitzel with gravy, roasted corn, German chocolate cake, and apple strudel can be enjoyed during the event.

Previous beers have included Sam Adams Oktoberfest, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Revolution Oktoberfest, Tangled Roots Vermillion River Weiss, Hacker Pschorr and Miller Lite.

Tulsa Octoberfest, Tulsa, Oklahoma

For the one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the US, be sure to visit Tulsa Oktoberfest.

You might not believe it, but thousands of people congregate every year to celebrate Oktoberfest in Tulsa.

Traditional and authentic Bavarian music, cuisine, and arts and crafts make this event truly special.

With more than 200 taps featuring German and local beers, you won’t want to miss one of the five top Oktoberfests in the USA, according to USA Today.

Plus, this particular Oktoberfest in the US lasts 6 days instead of a single weekend.

New Ulm Oktoberfest, Minnesota

For 40 years, the New Ulm Oktoberfest in Minnesota has been dazzling locals and travelers alike.

Even though you might not expect it, New Ulm is one of the best places to celebrate Oktoberfest in the US.

The Germanic-American Day Parade steals the show every year, with dozens of floats and local businesses showing their support.

Plus, Oktoberfest activities take place all over town, making this a city-wide Oktoberfest celebration!

Be sure to check out the full schedule on their official website.

Denver Oktoberfest, Colorado

Over the course of two weekends, Denver, Colorado transforms into one of the top Oktoberfests in the USA.

Located at Larimer and 21st in the Ballpark District, you’ll love this rowdy display of German heritage pride.

Keg bowling, stein drinking, live music, and silly games and competitions make this festival one of the best in America.

Elevate your experience with a VIP ticket, which includes All You Can Eat and Drink and so much more!

You won’t want to miss the exclusive beer and wine offerings, the private bathrooms, and a special Sunday Boozy Brunch.

Four Peaks Oktoberfest, Arizona

If you’re looking for the best Oktoberfest songs in the US, make sure you visit Four Peaks Oktoberfest in Arizona for amazing polka music all weekend long.

The best part of Four Peaks Oktoberfest is that it is a fundraiser for an incredible international exchange program.

Ticket funds go towards hosting international students in Four Peaks, and it funds the travel for Four Peaks students to travel abroad.

This incredible cause makes the festival that much more amazing!

You’ll love this traditional German festival; but if your family is getting a bit bored, they’ll certainly appreciate the carnival full of games and rides.

You will have to pay for an admission ticket, but with your entry, you receive amazing perks and can fund an international trip for students!

Sierra Vista, Arizona

Sierra Vista also puts on an Oktoberfest event in Arizona.

The two-day festival is suitable for all ages.

The line up includes Der Biergarten and Sun Valley Rides Carnival.

Live music will be played at the main tent and on the main stage.

Mount Angel Oktoberfest, Oregon

If you’re looking for a truly authentic Oktoberfest experience, travel to Mt Angel, a town founded by Germans.

Mt Angel Oktoberfest attracts more than 300,000 visitors every year, earning it the title of one of the largest Oktoberfests in the US.

You’ll love the dozens of food stands, traditional German arts and crafts, authentic German architecture, races and competitions, and so much more.

Plus, most events at Oktoberfest are free!

Check out our guide to Oregon on fall too.

Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, Southern California

If you don’t like the pressure of having all the Oktoberfest fun in a single weekend, visit Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest in southern California.

For almost 10 consecutive weekends in September and October, you can enjoy the magic and festivities of Oktoberfest in southern California.

Running until November, you can choose to stop by on one weekend or a few!

Both German and German-American bands share the musical stage to provide you with nonstop festive tunes to dance, eat, and drink to.

Order tickets and check availability on their ticketing website.

For more on California in fall, click here.

Alpine Village Oktoberfest, California

One more amazing California Oktoberfest: Alpine Village Oktoberfest is an incredible and fun-packed experience you can’t miss this fall.

Alpine Village puts in so much effort to make it a truly authentic experience, which means you are in the right hands when you visit this town!

Traditionally built as a Bavarian market, you’ll love exploring the shops and restaurants during Oktoberbest.

The best part of Alpine Village Oktoberfest is that it is located very close to the beaches; take a quick beach trip once you’ve had all the fun you can at the festival.

Leavenworth Oktoberfest, Washington

One of the most classic Oktoberfests in the US, Leavenworth Oktoberfest focuses on the best bratwursts and brews.

Usually taking place over three separate weekends, you can explore two full venues with live music, fresh food, and some of the best Oktoberfest beers in the US.

This festival has been running for just about a quarter century, and it takes the extra effort to import only the best German beers every year.

Levenworth is one of the best places to visit in the US in December for its alpine-style architecture which won’t disappoint for Oktoberfest!

Check out our Washington bucket list too.

Fall in Oregon: Places to Visit, Foliage, Hikes & Festivals

Photo of an aerial tram and scenic view of Portland, OR in the fall

Oregon is known for its natural marvels—from the scenic Columbia River Gorge in the north to the beautiful Crater Lake in the south.

And fall is one of the best times to visit.

The state is known as one of the greenest in the country, so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the changing leaf colors along with the crisp autumn air.

To help you plan your trip, this guide will explore the exciting activities during fall in Oregon, including the best spots to see the foliage, trails for fall hikes, downtown area tours, a visit to wineries and vineyards, autumn festivals, and more!

Most of the destinations and activities listed below are divided into cities or towns where they are found, starting from the north.

So whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for a fun fall getaway, read on to learn more about what Oregon has to offer.

Oregon also features in our USA bucket list.

Northern Oregon in the Fall

We’ll start with the northern part of Oregon where you’ll find some of the best sites for leaf peeping, hiking, and wine tastings.

Portland, Oregon in Fall

Foliage in Portland

For a perfect combination of shopping in downtown Portland and checking out the beautiful fall colors in Oregon, make sure you head to NW 23rd Avenue.

The streets are lined with trees turning red, orange, and yellow, and the local shops and restaurants make for a fun and entertaining afternoon.

Take a ride on the Portland Aerial Tram (OHSU) which connects the waterfront with the university to catch a bird’s eye view of the foliage.

If you want to discover more things to do in Portland that are mostly free, check this guide.

Photo of an aerial tram and scenic view of Portland, OR in the fall

Haunted Tour in Portland

Ready for something a little spookier?

Make sure you schedule a haunted tour of Portland, Oregon this fall.

On this tour, you’ll visit some of the historic sites and haunted spots in downtown Portland like the Lan Su Chinese Garden (239 NW Everett St) and the Old Town Pizza (226 NW Davis St).

Staying until winter? Read our guide to festive things to do in Portland.

Art in Portland, With Fall Colors

If it’s your first time visiting Portland, OR, you’ll want to get a fall framed photo of the iconic neon sign and the Keep Portland Weird sign, naturally!

Portland, OR slightly behind a tree in fall colors

Oregon Multnomah Falls

The Multnomah Falls Trail is 2.4 miles and is located near Bridal Veil, Oregon.

This moderate-level adventure is an amazing hike for anyone who is ready to see a hundred-foot waterfall.

It should take about an hour and a half to complete, but if you stop and eat lunch, it could be longer.

The trail is open to dogs, though they have to be kept on a leash.

Scenic view of Multnomah Falls in Oregon with the fall colors around it

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is huge; it spans 80 miles and is up to 4,000 feet deep.

Exploring the gorge by way of set trails is a better idea than trying to take it all in at once.

Set out on the Dog Mountain Trail (hard), the Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail (moderate), or the Wahclella Falls Trail (easy) to get started.

If you’re ready to get out into nature but you aren’t exactly a seasoned hiker, don’t worry!

Head out on a 4-hour tour to the waterfalls of Columbia River Gorge and enjoy one of the most photographed natural scenes in the country with an experienced guide!

Mt. Hood Scenic Byway in Fall

The Mt. Hood Scenic Byway is a great chance to enjoy the best of Oregon’s fall foliage without having to hike for miles and miles.

On your trip, you’ll be able to pass by the communities of Hood River, Government Camp, Zigzag, Sandy, and Troutdale.

It would take about 3 to 4 hours to complete the entire byway, which is 105 miles long.

The scenic loop follows this path: Historic Columbia River Highway to Hwy 26 to Hwy 35.

You’re essentially traveling around one of the most spectacular glacial mountains in the Cascade Mountain Range.

Mt. Hood is an unforgettable peak that you’ll see from all angles as you travel around its base.

Willamette Valley Wine Country in Fall

For the wine lovers in Oregon this fall, you’ve got to visit Willamette Valley.

There are more than 600 wineries and 800 vineyards in the valley, and so many wineries host events in the fall as well.

The Willamette Valley is known for its pinot noir, a type of dry red wine, so make sure you taste a few of them while you’re there!

For a seated wine tasting experience, you can visit Bailey Family Wines (10660 SW Youngberg Hill Rd) in McMinnville, Sidereus Vineyard & Winery (5195 SW Hergert Road) in Cornelius, or Elk Cove Vineyards (27751 NW Olson Road) in Gaston.

Vineyard in autumn colors in Willamette Valley, OR

Central Oregon in Fall

If you’re looking for some fun outdoor activities in the fall, check out what Central Oregon has to offer.

The area has countless hiking trails as well as rivers, falls, and lakes that are nice for exploring in the autumn.

Salem, Oregon in Fall

If you’re looking for lovely fall foliage in Oregon, look no further than Salem, Oregon.

The tree-lined streets offer beautiful fall colors without ever leaving the downtown area.

Salem, OR Parks To Visit in Fall

If you’re hoping to spend a bit more time outdoors, there are three parks to visit: Orchard Heights Park, Straub Nature Park, and Brush College Park.

Each of these parks has winding trails, thick woods, and a perfect opportunity to enjoy the season.

State Capitol Building in Salem, OR in the fall

Silver Falls State Park, Oregon in Fall

Silver Falls State Park is known for its collection of breathtaking waterfalls along its trail systems.

It is one of the best places to visit in Oregon in fall because of its densely forested areas, waterfalls in a rocky canyon, and overnight camping sites open year round.

Among the most popular routes to see the falls up close is the Trail of Ten Falls, which features a moderately difficult 7.2-mile loop- with South Falls Lodge Trailhead being the popular starting point.

If you prefer a shorter route, you can hike the Silver Falls Canyon Trail, which measures about 5.6 miles but from a separate access point.

For those planning to camp, reservations for campsites can be made up to 6 months in advance.

Views of the waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park in Oregon in fall

Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne

Deep river canyons and miles of hiking trails in Smith Rock State Park make this a perfect place to do some fall hikes in Oregon.

Some of the hiking trails to explore include the Misery Ridge Loop at 3.7 miles, 1.8- mile Homestead to North Point Loop, and the Canyon to Rim Loop at 3.4 miles- all of which are round trip distances from the park’s Welcome Center.

Enjoy some of the best natural areas and Oregon fall foliage the state has to offer.

You also might be able to spot golden eagles, prairie falcons, or mule deer in the park!

The park is also open for camping for most of the fall season, so plan to stay overnight if you’d like to be immersed in autumn in Oregon.

Smith Rock Ranch, Terrebonne

One of the most popular fall activities in Oregon is the festivities at Smith Rock Ranch (1250 NE Wilcox Ave).

Open only for the month of October, you’ll need to purchase tickets to experience the fun at the ranch.

Find a sprawling pumpkin patch, a corn maze, an amazing harvest market, and more at this iconic Oregon fall experience.

Bend Oregon in Fall For Nature

There is so much to do in Bend, Oregon this fall.

Whether you’d like to get out on an adventure or stay close to town, you’ll find a perfect fall activity in Bend, Oregon.

For festival fun, check out the Bend Fall Festival (more below in the Festivals section).

Fall Tours In Bend, OR

If you’d like to get outside, try a half-day guided canoe tour to explore the stunning high-elevation lakes in the Cascade Mountains- plus a chance to learn about the area’s ecosystem.

You can also take a half-day guided volcano tour to visit an ancient volcano in Central Oregon as well as experience the lava fields while a professional naturalist guide helps you discover more about the site’s natural history.

Tumalo State Park

Tumalo State Park is a part of the Deschutes River Trail and features golf courses, trout streams, alpine lakes, and miles of hiking trails- making it an excellent place to spend a day during fall in Oregon

The park offers 2.4 miles of hiking trail along the Deschutes River and connects to the Riley Ranch Nature Reserve trails to the south – where you’ll find additional trails.

Camping is open year-round in this park and you can book sites up to 6 months in advance.

Tumalo Falls in Oregon

Southern Oregon in Fall

The fall season in southern Oregon offers a bounty of natural wonders and scenic outdoor adventures. 

From Klamath County’s Crater Lake to Ashland’s Lithia Park, there is so much to see and do. 

You may also like our guide to the best coastal towns in Oregon.

Crater Lake National Park, Crater Lake

Formed almost 8,000 years ago, the Crater Lake at the Crater Lake National Park (1 Sager Building) is a scientific marvel and one of the best places to visit in Oregon in fall.

The lake is the deepest in the U.S. and is considered one of the most pristine lakes on the globe.

You’ll be able to enjoy this incredible sight from the top of the Cascade Mountain Range, along with the amazing Oregon fall foliage.

Aside from the lake, the Crater Lake National Park also features hiking trails like the Boundary Springs trail measuring 5 miles at a round trip distance, and an easier 2-mile Plaikni Falls trail.

If you’re taking your pets with you, a pet-friendly walking path can be found at the Rim Village- just be sure to put them on a leash.

Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway in Fall

If you’re hoping to find the best Oregon fall foliage, look no further than the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway.

The entire byway is 172 miles long and would take about 7 to 8 hours to complete.

You’ll find the town of Roseburg on one end and the town of Gold Hill on the other.

The road follows this path: State Highway 138 east from Roseburg to SR 230 to SR 62 to SR 234.

You’ll go into the Cascade Mountains and travel what is known as the “highway of waterfalls.”

The byway offers the perfect chance to see the best fall colors in Oregon so you can’t miss out on this incredible journey.

Butte Falls in Fall in Oregon

If you’re visiting the town of Butte Falls, you will enter a town with less than 400 full-time residents.

You can visit its two restaurants- the Butte Falls Cafe (443 Broad St) and My Little BBQ (443 Broad St) as well as the Butte Falls General Store (415 Broad St) I.

Or you can take a scenic drive along Butte Falls Highway to the beautiful Butte Falls Waterfall.

You’ll find it if you head north on Crater Lake Hwy and turn left on Butte Falls Hwy- the road to the waterfall will be on the left.

Red leaves by Upper Butte Creek Falls Oregon

Ashland Oregon in Fall

There is so much to do in this little Oregon city this fall.

Besides the yearly Oregon Shakespeare Festival (more below in the Festivals section!) you’ll be in the heart of wine country!

Three of the best wineries in the area are Dana Campbell Vineyards (1320 N Mountain Ave), Irvine & Roberts Vineyards (1614 Emigrant Creek Rd), and Long Walk Vineyard (1800 N Valley View Rd).

Siskiyou Mountain Tour

If there’s one thing you have to do in Ashland this fall, it is to take a guided sacred nature hike through the Siskiyou Mountains.

During the tour, you can learn about meditation and energy healing from a spiritual guide as well as enjoy a quick dip in the cool waters of Ashland’s creek after the hike.

Lithia Park in Fall

Visiting Lithia Park is one of the best things to do in Ashland, Oregon in fall.

Within these 93 acres, you’ll find breathtaking fall foliage, winding trails for hiking, ponds, fountains, and an amazing Japanese garden.

You’ll also find pickleball courts and a playground perfect for the little ones.

Fall colors in Lithia Park, Oregon

Fall Festivals in Oregon

Check out the following list of fall festivals and events to look forward to on your next visit to Oregon.

Check out our guide to Oktoberfest in the US, which features Mount Angel Oktoberfest in Oregon.

St. Josef’s Grapestomping Festival, Canby

Grape stomping in beautiful Willamette Valley wine country sounds like a dream, and you get to partake this fall in the St. Josef Grapestomping Festival!

Located at St. Josef’s Winery (28836 S Barlow Rd), this iconic tradition dates back to the ancient Romans.

Reconnect with history and help St. Josef make their wine at this fun September.

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire, Kings Valley

Step back in time–500 years, in fact–when you visit the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire (Grant Rd) this September.

Wander through more than 125 artisan stalls and interact with 1,000 costumed players at this snapshot in history.

There is something to do at the fair for everyone, including kids and seniors!

Corvallis Fall Festival, Corvallis

If you’re looking to celebrate fall with a massive art festival, make sure you make a stop at the Corvallis Fall Festival (582 SW Adams Ave).

This wholesome fall festival takes place at the end of September every year and makes for a wonderful art viewing experience.

Check out drawings, paintings, ceramics, glass, jewelry, photography, textiles, woodwork, and much more at this incredible event.

Bend Fall Festival, Bend

Crafts, art, and music unique to the Pacific Northwest all gather in Bend, Oregon every fall to commemorate the Bend Fall Festival.

This free festival takes place at the beginning of October and spreads across several streets in downtown Bend.

You’ll love the fine art booths, the Harvest Market, and the Oregon Lifestyle Marketplace, as well as the fundraisers for good causes and live music all weekend.

Bandon Cranberry Festival, Bandon

Well-known as the longest-running festival on the Oregon Coast, the Bandon Cranberry Festival (3225 Beach Loop Rd) celebrates local cranberry farming with all sorts of education and entertainment for every age.

Every year in September, the city of Bandon welcomes visitors from all over to enjoy the wonder of local cranberry harvests.

As many as 15,000 people come to Bandon to take part in the festivities, markets, and vendor booths all weekend long.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland

Even if you weren’t a fan of Shakespeare in high school or college, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (15 S Pioneer St) is guaranteed to change your mind.

You’ll love the classics reimagined, the fascinating new takes on the originals, and even musical productions this fall at OSF.

The festival runs through October, so make sure you plan ahead and grab tickets.

Check out the season brochure and browse tickets on their website.

Final Thoughts

We hope you find this guide helpful in planning your next visit to Oregon in the fall.

And don’t forget to tell us about your own favorite spots or activities in the comments section.

22 Fall Activities in Chicago: Fall Colors, Food & Attractions

Orange fall trees with Buckingham Fountain Grant Park in Chicago

Spooky tours, fall colors, and seasonal events, there are so many fall activities in Chicago for visitors and locals to enjoy.

This guide reveals how to spend the shorter days in the Windy City, which are the best fall things to do in Chicago.

It features ghost tours, nature walks for leaf peeping, and festivals that only occur during the fall months.

We’ve also included autumn activities close to Chicago, so if you’re local and have done everything in the city, you can still learn a few new tips for this fall to keep the family entertained!

You may also like our 3-day Chicago itinerary and Christmas in Chicago guide.

Fall Things to do in Chicago

Take a Ghost Tour

One of the best fall things to do in Chicago is to get familiar with the ghosts and spirits in the area.

You’ll need a local guide to introduce you to the popular ghosts and haunted buildings; luckily, we can recommend a few amazing tours in Chicago.

The Gangsters and Ghosts Walking Tour is a 2-hour trip around the Loop District at the center of downtown Chicago.

This Wind and Souls Adults Only Ghost Tour is a truly frightening walking tour of some of the most chilling sites and stories from Chicago’s past.

Some of the best ghosts and gangsters from the darkest parts of Chicago’s history will come to light in any of these iconic tours.

Open House Chicago

Every fall, the Chicago Architecture Center (111 E Wacker St) hosts Open House Chicago, a free public event that allows anybody to take a self-guided architecture tour through the most iconic buildings in the city.

It’s a perfect thing to do in Chicago in the fall for architecture enthusiasts because you have some of the best access to the inner workings of the most significant sites in the area.

Adventure through architecture and history trails, take advantage of talks and programming by experts and get incredible behind-the-scenes access to amazing buildings.

Still want more architecture goodness?

Check out this 2.5-Hour Architecture Boat Tour for an exciting overview of the best architecture along the Chicago River!

You may also like our guide to unique things to do in Chicago.

Cloud Gate silver Chicago Bean with reflections of skyline and skyscrapers behind it

Check Out the City’s Skyline at Night

As gorgeous and breathtaking as the city can be during the day, one of the best activities in Chicago in fall is riding downtown at night.

Bundle up and climb aboard the Big Bus Open-Top Panoramic Night Tour.

You’ll travel from the iconic Magnificent Mile all the way down Michigan Ave, with a tour guide explaining every beautiful sight along the way.

There’s almost nothing like watching the Buckingham Fountain‘s impressive spray at night.

You’ll also get to see the spectacular Chicago Theatre (175 North St) lit up just like it was during its glory days, one of the more historic yet fun things to do in October in Chicago.

Chicago Theatre sign and buildings

Explore the Downtown Area

While the busiest time of year for the city is definitely the spring and summer, you can still check out the historic downtown area in the fall.

One of the best ways to learn how to get around the city is to follow a local around their favorite spots.

The History, Culture, and Architecture Walking Tour is a foolproof way to get around and see the sites in autumn in Chicago.

Art Institute of Chicago

Want a little behind-the-scenes look at the Art Institute of Chicago (111 S Michigan Ave) without the lines and crowds?

You can enter the museum 30 minutes before it opens and take a Guided Tour Led by an Art Expert.

Lion statue at Art Institute of Chicago

Fall in Love With Chicago’s Food Scene

Chicago is known for its amazing food and was even voted the Best Restaurant City of the Year in 2017.

Get a taste of Chicago in fall with three of the best food tours in the city.

The Chicago Food Tour: 2.5 Hour Guided Walking Tour will allow you to sample all the classic Chicago fare while being led around the city by an expert guide.

The Taste of Chinatown Food Walking Tour will take you through the most exciting Asian cultures and food inspirations you can find in the city.

Finally, the Chicago Underground Donut Tour will take you to four donut shops around the city to give you a taste of all the most delicious treats the city offers.

No matter which tour you choose, you can rest assured knowing you’re getting an authentic taste of the best Chicago fare.

Deep Dish Chicago Pizza

Corn Mazes In Chicago

Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up (1267 W Le Moyne St) and Konow’s Corn Maze (16849 S Cedar Rd, Homer Glen) both have corn maze activities in autumn.

Pumpkin Patches In Chicago

Head to J4K Pumpkins (3539 E 95th St) is a fun day out for pumpkin picking and inflatables!

Running throughout the month of October, big kids and wee ones welcome.

Kid. Pumpkin. Fall USA-4

Visit Farmers Markets Across the City

Did you know there are 49 farmers’ markets across Chicago?

One of the most fun fall activities in Chicago is to check out all the amazing markets across the city.

Almost all the markets go through September, and many are ongoing for most of October.

Some even go into November for all the late-fall visitors.

Stock up on fall vegetables, dried flowers and garlic, and speciality items like honey, granola, and more.

There is almost nothing better than a farmers market in summer than a farmers market in fall, so make sure you check out the markets that dot the city, such as The Lincoln Park Farmers Market.

Vegetables at Farmers Market

Fall Events Chicago

Pier Pumpkin Lights, Navy Pier

You won’t want to miss Pier Pumpkin Lights on Navy Pier (600 E Grand Ave), a fantastic display of Halloween spirit in the fall in Chicago.

Wander among almost 1,000 jack-o-lanterns throughout the month of October.

You’ll get to experience pumpkin-themed pop-ups, pier-specific deals and sales, and general Halloween-themed festivities throughout the month.

Check out their website closer to October for more details!

Chicago Food Truck Fall Festival

Food trucks are a staple in the Chicago food scene.

One of the best ways to appreciate the variety and abundance of food truck options in the city, make sure you check out the Chicago Food Truck Fall Festival (LaBagh Woods).

Every fall, the Food Truck Festival brings together all the corners of the globe to serve you classic and unique dishes straight from the trucks’ windows.

You won’t want to miss this incredible taste experience and thing to do in Chicago during fall.


If you love German beer, food, and culture (or if you’re curious to learn more), check out Chicago Oktoberfest (Lincoln Square)!

Oktoberfest usually takes place in mid-September, but make sure you check the website for any date changes or updates.

Submerge yourself in German culture under two hospitality tents all weekend long; sip on beer, taste unique food, and listen to live bands playing through the day and night.

If you’re looking for true merriment in fall in Chicago, make sure you stop by the iconic Oktoberfest.

Check out our guide to the best Oktoberfests in the US.

Oktoberfest couple with beer

Where to See Fall Colors in Chicago

Did you know the Chicago Park District manages almost 9,000 acres of green space, making it the largest municipal park manager in the nation?

If you’re hoping to enjoy the fall colors in Chicago, you’ll be able to see them at every corner!

Plus, there is a public parks in every single neighborhood throughout the city, so no matter where you are in Chicago, you’ll be able to stroll through incredible changing leaves throughout the fall season.

Make sure you check out the Illinois Fall Color Report for a day-by-day update on the best fall colors in Chicago.

For even more free things to do in Chicago, check out our comprehensive guide!

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is a community area on the North Side of Chicago which features Chicago’s largest park, Lincoln Park.

During fall, you can see the leaves changing with the skyline in the background.

It has 1,188.62 acres that can be explored by foot, and some of the park is located by the lakefront.

There are several Chicago attractions in the park, including the Chicago History Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, and the North Pond Nature Sanctuary.

Fall colors at Lincoln Park with Chicago skyline

Grant Park

The famous Buckingham Fountain is located at the center of Gran Park and has enjoyed this pride of place since the 1920s.

During fall, the fountain pops against the orange trees of the park.

Orange fall trees with Buckingham Fountain Grant Park in Chicago

Garfield Park Conservatory

Visit Chicago’s “landscape art under glass” the Garfield Park Conservatory ( 300 N Central Park Ave) during fall to see the trees change in one of the largest botanical conservatories in the US.

With 184 acres to explore, which feature a swimming pool, fishing lagoon, athletic fields, and tennis courts, you can easily spend half a day here.

Pond with reflections and fall colors at Garfield Park Conservatory Chicago

Humboldt Park

Humboldt Park (1400 North Sacramento Ave) is located on the west side of the city and boasts of 207 acres.

The park was named after the German naturalist and botanist Alexander von Humboldt.

It is also home to the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.

You can learn more about the park during this free audio tour.

Building reflections in water at Humboldt Park in Chicago

Stroll Through the (Spooky) Rosehill Cemetery

For the ultimate spooky fall scenery experience, pay a visit to Rosehill Cemetery (5800 N Ravenswood Ave) and wander among the historic grounds of the largest cemetery in Chicago.

Rosehill is known for its elegant architecture, ornate marble monuments and sculptures, and rolling hills; it was featured in. 

This place has so much dark history and is a site of such importance that you have to pay it a visit in the fall.

While this is an off-the-beaten-path fall activity, there are tons of other unique things to do in Chicago.

Fall Activities Near Chicago

Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns, Glencoe

Ready to head out of the city for a bit to enjoy the fall weather?

The Chicago Botanical Garden (1000 Lake Cook Rd) hosts a Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns every year in October over the weekends.

Just a 20-minute drive from the city, the Garden boasts an incredible collection of 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins, some of which weigh up to 150 pounds!

Wander around the paved path, enjoy light fare and drinks, and greet the costumed professionals there to entertain the kids.

Make sure you check the website before you visit for updates, parking passes, and official event dates.

Apple Picking Near Chicago

Why not visit a nearby farm for fall activities near Chicago?

Work for your food at Heinz Orchard (1050 Crest Rd, Libertyville).

This family-run orchard invites visitors to pick apple varieties including Empire, McIntosh and Jonathan.

Kid. Pumpkin. Fall USA-4

Walk or Bike Along the Illinois Prairie Path, DuPage County

If you’re wondering where to find fall colors near Chicago, look no further than the Illinois Prairie Path.

Prairie ecosystems are in danger from urban and suburban development, but the Illinois Prairie Path has set out to protect them and help grow a deep appreciation for them.

One big bonus: you get to enjoy these incredible landscapes, and they’re just a 40-minute drive west from the city.

Walk or bike through the area and take in the incredible fall colors while they last.

Crabtree Nature Preserve in Illinois

Crabtree (3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills) is a nature preserve on 112 acres of woodlands and wetlands.

It is open all year round but boasts of fall colors in autumn.

Path Through the Prairie Grasses in the Fall in the Crabtree Nature Preserve in Illinois

Take a Fall Camping Trip, South Holland

Some of the best, quietest camping takes place in the fall.

If you don’t mind the cooler weather and are ready to avoid the summer camping crowds, take a 40-minute drive south to South Holland to stay at Camp Shabbona Woods (15810 S Torrance Ave).

Part of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, you can enjoy protected outdoor spaces while staying in a cabin or in your own tent.

Enjoy the fall colors and the beauty of nature, all while staying close to Chicago.