The Very Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the Chicagoland Area

Now that summer is over, it’s time to close down the swimming pools and tuck away our summer clothes. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be celebrating the end of hot, humid weather and welcoming the cooler months, Halloween, and pumpkin-flavored everything. Even if you’re not a fan of fall, you simply cannot deny how spectacular the gorgeous fall colors and outdoor scenery are, especially in Illinois.

When we’re not at Aronson Advertising producing the very best work we can, our team members love to get out and explore the most scenic areas Chicagoland has to offer, places you definitely should not miss in the fall. Here are some of our favorite spots—in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs—where you can see the most extraordinary fall foliage. Whether you’re a Chicago native or visiting for the weekend, these vibrant destinations are not to be missed.

Starved Rock

Up for an adventure? Located on the Fox River in the small town of Deer Park Township, Starved Rock State Park is a forest preserve staple for Illinoisans. Featuring 13 miles of hiking trails, as well as stunning rock formations and waterfalls, you can spend as much time as you’d like at Starved Rock. Although the landscape is incredible no matter when you visit, you won’t want to miss the fall colors draped along the river. If you get thirsty or hungry, there’s a bar and restaurant in the main lodge. And if you’d like to make it a weekend trip, book a room at the lodge hotel.

Lincoln Park

Head just north of downtown Chicago and you’ll run right into the neighborhood of Lincoln Park, home to some of the most beautiful parks in the city. If you visit when fall foliage is at its peak, you can enjoy the Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory, and Lincoln Park Cultural Center, along with a great view of Lake Michigan, and bright fall colors all in one trip.

Chicago Botanic Garden

One might assume the Chicago Botanic Garden is located in Chicago, but it’s actually in a suburb north of the city bordering Wisconsin. Regardless, it’s an easy trip from the city and one that’s totally worthwhile. The Botanic Garden features 24 incredible landscapes, including a Japanese garden, waterfall garden, and an expansive prairie. With so many different areas to explore, you’re sure to get your fill of fall foliage here.

Millennium Park

Known to many as “the place where the Bean is,” Millennium Park actually has a brilliantly designed space filled with abstract art and gorgeous gardens and trees. If you’re dying to explore Michigan Avenue, we highly recommended stopping by Millennium Park to take a break and explore one of the city’s most beautiful spots. You can also pop over to Grant Park—located directly south—to explore more of the urban nature Chicago has to offer.

Morton Arboretum

If you’re looking for an all-out fall foliage experience, the Morton Arboretum, located in the Western Suburbs, simply cannot be missed. As one of the most serene landscapes in the Chicagoland area, you’ll feel at peace once you’re fully surrounded by the property’s 4,200 types of trees. Because the Morton Arboretum’s foliage truly shines in the fall months, there is a huge calendar of events to check out, like the Craft Beer Festival for adults and Garden Story Time for the little ones.

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