13 things to do on Columbus Day in Chicago

The kids have a day off from school, now what? Make the most of your day with these activities and events happening on Columbus Day in Chicago. Find more fun things to do with kids in Chicago, North/Northwest Suburbs, South Suburbs and Western Suburbs in October.

Columbus Day Chess Workshop


Where: Edgebrook Lutheran Church, 5252 West Devon, Chicago


Instruction, one-on-one coaching and supervised play time sponsored by Chess-Ed. Students will be instructed with opening theory, middle game planning and combinations, and winning endgame technique. Students are grouped according to skill level: beginner/novice players, intermediate/ continuing players and advanced/tournament players.


Bicentennial Corn Maze


Where: Richardson Adventure Farm, 909 English Prairie Rd., Spring Grove


Richardson Adventure Farm corn maze honors the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with two astronauts, the Columbia, the Eagle, an American flag, Earth, stars and the words “Apollo 50,” “Richardson Farm” and “Next Giant Leap.”


Theater in our Parks Fest


Where: Theatre on the Lake, 2400 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago


In celebration of the Year of Chicago Theater, Theater in Our Parks celebrates the power and impact of theater in our parks. This one day festival will feature performances and workshops from across the city. Theater in Our Parks is a yearlong exploration of community theater and performance featuring critical conversations, a performance festival, and a documentation series.


Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up Columbus Day Family Fest


Where: Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up, 1465 N Elston Ave., Chicago


Enjoy a corn maze, carnival games, axe throwing, pumpkins, fortune tellers and more. Kids ages 12 and under receive a free apple donut while all ages enter at a reduced rate.


Girls Just Wanna Have Fun at Merrimac


Where: Merrimac Park, 6343 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago


Girls ages 9-13 will participate in arts & crafts, sports, dance, fitness, and CPR training.


Columbus Day Open Gym at Fosco


Where: Fosco Park, 1312 S. Racine Ave., Chicago


When school is out, parks are in. Youths ages 6-12 will enjoy open gym in the West Gym while ages 13-17 will play in the East Gym.


Columbus Day Parade


Where: State Street from Wacker to Van Buren, Chicago


The Columbus Day parade celebrates Christopher Columbus’ historic voyage to America and Italian-American culture.


Lockwood’s Pumpkin Fest


Where: Lockwood Park, 5201 Safford Rd., Rockford


Activities include Pick Your Pumpkin, carnival rides, corn maze, wagon rides, pony ring rides, pumpkin-themed games and activities, Native American Village, scavenger hunt, build a scarecrow, seasonal food favorites, and more. Plus, Lockwood Park has 15 miles of scenic trails for hiking, biking, or horseback riding.


The Scarecrow Trail


Where: The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle


Artistically decorated scarecrows from local Girl and Boy Scout troops are on display around Meadow Lake.


Indigenous Peoples’ Day


Where: Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 3001 Central St., Evanston


Throughout the day visitors can enjoy games and DIY craft activities. Participants can color totem poles from the Northwest Coast, make a model tipi from the Plains cultures, or construct a mini-lacrosse stick from the Iroquois Nations. At 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., Carol Kramer, Ojibwe, will present cultural stories.


Fall Fest


Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago


This fest features ticketed attractions throughout the zoo: corn maze, fun slide, inflatable obstacle course and more. Fall Fest also includes animal chats, musical entertainment, a pumpkin patch with pumpkins for sale, pumpkin carvers and fall-themed enrichment.


Columbus Day Outdoor Discovery


Where: Emily Oaks Nature Center, 4650 Brummel St., Skokie


Kids can spend their day off in the fresh air at Emily Oaks, exploring the natural world, going on adventures in the woodland and around the pond, and finding wonders and treasures. Recommended for ages 5-9.


Pumpkin Fest


Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 Gary Ave., Wheaton


Rides, a corn stalk tunnel and more await kids, in between the thousands of pumpkins scattered throughout the zoo’s lawn. Pumpkins, apples and cider are amongst the many available fall items to purchase.



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