FALL 2018 – You may have noticed a nip in the air, more people wearing sweaters and flannels and that it’s starting to get darker earlier. Yes, we are squarely in the midst of autumn, which means leaves have stopped producing chlorophyll, giving way to vibrant colors of gold, yellow and red. Fall foliage is truly a wonder to behold and, no, you don’t have to drive up to Wisconsin to take it all in. You have plenty of spots right here in Chicago to soak up all the beautiful fall colors, like photographer @jackiegreaney captured above! You just have to know where to look — and from where to see it all.
Take the elevator up to Cindy’s at the top of the Chicago Athletic Association hotel. From our wide terrace, with a warming cocktail in hand, you can take in all the gorgeousness that spreads out in front of you. The terrace overlooks Millennium Park, Grant Park and parts of the Museum Campus with the city’s skyline and Lake Michigan serving as backdrops. Trees cover this entire area and the leaf-watching opportunities abound.
Chicago Helicopter Experience
You may think of leaf peeping as an exclusively on-the-ground experience, but when you get to see vibrant colors all clustered together over the city from a helicopter, well, that kind of beats everything. Chicago Helicopter Experience offers a variety of daytime (and nighttime, but then you can’t see the leaves) experiences that take off from their heliport in Pilsen and flies out to Lake Michigan and over the Museum Campus, Lincoln Park Zoo, Belmont Harbor and other iconic Chicago locales. Prepare to snap plenty of pictures and have your breath taken away.
Chicago’s largest park stretches from the Gold Coast up to Edgewater so you have incredible chances of seeing gorgeous foliage. Make a day of it and walk along the lakefront or ride a Divvy to see different trees in various areas. Walk around North Pond just north of Fullerton Avenue or take a stroll around Lincoln Park Zoo. Pop up for drinks and bites at rooftop spot The J. Parker and take it all in from above.
While many people visit the lakefront path, the 606, Chicago’s elevated park that runs through Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park, offers a unique view of homes and tree-lined streets in fantastic neighborhoods. Go for a walk along the 2.7-mile path and take it all in.
While at first it may feel a bit morose, strolling through the North Side’s Graceland Cemetery actually is a beautifully serene experience, especially when all the leaves are in full color. Enjoy a quiet fall walk as you visit with some of Chicago’s most notable people like Daniel Burnham, Potter Palmer, Edith Rockefeller McCormick, Marshall Field and Ernie Banks.
The South Side has numerous parks in which to see fall foliage, but you can have wondrous experiences in Jackson Park, where you can stroll through Wooded Island and Japanese-influenced Garden of the Phoenix. Or pop to the east side of Lake Shore Drive to Promontory Point, where you’ll not only have exposure to beautiful leaves, but also one of the best views of the Chicago skyline. And if you’re feeling scholarly, there’s no better way to get enmeshed in the fall feeling than walking through the hallowed spaces of the quad at the University of Chicago. Its gothic structures covered in ivy and surrounded by countless trees will surely help you check fall leaf peeping off your bucket list.