The perfect fall day in Chicagoland

Is there anything better than a beautiful fall day in Chicagoland? The humidity is gone, the yellow jackets that ruin our summer picnics are finally dead and the entire Chicagoland community can come together to support the same sports team every Sunday. And if you are looking for some places and activities that will not only impress your kids but also your Instagram followers, be sure to check these out.

A place to eat

Fall is all about pie. Sweet, savory … it’s all delicious. And I mean, shouldn’t you go around Chicagoland checking out all of the pies imaginable before scooping one up for Thanksgiving? While on your pie tasting journey, be sure to stop by Bang Bang Biscuits and Pie in either Logan Square or Ravenswood, as well as Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Evanston. Oh, and be sure to wear elastic pants.

A place to play

The Chicago Botanic Garden is the absolute perfect spot to take in the fall colors of the Midwest, and now it is even more fun for the kids thanks to their brand new Learning Center and Nature Play Garden. Highlights include an open area of mounded landscape for running, jumping and rolling (it’s impossible to not join in on the fun), as well as the interactive Children’s Growing Garden.

A place for a rainy day

One of my family’s favorite ways to spend a rainy fall day is curled up together in a cozy nook with a great book. Luckily for us, there are tons of great local bookstores that cater to readers of all ages and interests. If you are in the suburbs, be sure to stop by the family-owned Book Bin in Northbrook or the Book Market at the Glen Town Center. City options include Open Books in the West Loop or Pilsen (and bring some books to donate while you are at it), as well as Women and Children First.

A place for adventure

The perfect fall day should be spent outside in order to take advantage of every moment until Old Man Winter comes and forces us inside. One of the best places to take a hike and enjoy the beautiful autumnal colors is Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL. Spend the entire day at this free state park, observing the breathtaking canyons, waterfalls and fall foliage. You can even stay overnight at their hotel, rustic log cabins  or pitch a tent and camp the night away if you are feeling adventurous.

A place to learn something new

There is something about fall that makes me want to whip up a dish with as many carbs and calories as possible. You too? Then head to a cooking class and learn a new recipe that will impress even the crabbiest of guests at Thanksgiving dinner. Dave’s Specialty Foods in Mount Prospect has great classes for a fun date night out or you can head to The Kids’ Table (Lakeview and Wicker Park locations) for a cooking class geared towards the entire family. The Chopping Block and The Wooden Spoon are also great city spots to pick up a few new cooking skills.

A place to relax

If all of the Christmas decorations in your favorite stores didn’t already warn you, the holidays are coming fast and furiously. So before the mad dash of shopping and socializing begins, take some time for yourself and relax sans kids. Egea Spa in Evanston and Kohler Waters Spa at Burr Ridge are my favorite places to forget where I am and what day it is.

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