Ah, Chicago. The city that is second to none. While in the City of Big Shoulders, or just because you’re nearby, take advantage of an exciting array of things to do near Chicago. From first-class attractions and world-renowned museums, to world-class events and award-winning wineries, all of Northern Illinois is easily accessible from Chicago.
While not the definitive guide of everything to do near Chicago this fall, our list of 10 things to do near Chicago represents some of the very best that Chicago and Beyond has to offer:
1. Jonamac Orchard and Corn Maze, 19412 Shabbona Road, Malta
Partake in family activities such as apple picking, racing through a challenging corn maze, taking the kids to the interactive play area, and tasting fresh picked apples will keep you busy. Pick a pumpkin, or ten, taste fresh cider, indulge in donuts, pies, and many other goodies. The orchard holds special events most weekends from September through October – including a new corn maze this year. Give them a call at 815-825-2158, or visit them online at: jonamacorchard.com.
2. Illinois Railway Museum, 7000 Olson Road, Union
The Illinois Railroad Museum is entirely dedicated to the restoration and preservation of railroad and related transportation equipment. The museum provides visitors with a fun and educational experience and provides rides on restored equipment. All aboard at 815-923-4000 or online at irm.org
3. Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin
Here is the rare opportunity to experience legendary entertainers and world-class performers in an intimate setting. This 1,200 seat theater is sure to please you and your friends while having unmatched access to the stars. Tickets go fast considering the size of the venue, so hit them up at 847-931-5900, or get online with them at hemmens.org.
4. Woodfield Mall, Golf Road & Route 53, Schaumburg
Really, did you think we were going to suggest someplace else for a shopping trip that rivals the best anywhere? With nearly 300 distinctive stores and restaurants, and a variety of entertainment options, Woodfield Mall will satisfy the call to shop for everyone in your girlfriends’ getaway group. If you need more information, give their concierge a call at 800-847-9590, or visit them online at shopwoodfield.com.
5. Woodstock Farmers Market & Woodstock Square, 11319 North Route 47, Woodstock
The Woodstock Farmers Market, now in its 29th year, is located on the Historic Woodstock Square. The market is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 am – 1pm. In addition to the wonderful Farmers Market, Woodstock Square is very much alive with the famed Woodstock Opera House, the Old Courthouse Arts Center, distinctive shops, unique restaurants and coffee shops, and comfortable lodging. Hook it up at, 815-338-5164 and get a sneak peak of everything fresh at woodstockfarmersmarket.org
6. Fever River Outfitters, 525 South Main Street, Galena
Get your outdoors out with a fall getaway to Galena in Northwest Illinois. While in Galena make sure you visit Fever River Outfitters, located just outside the famed floodgates. Fever River rents canoes, kayaks, bicycles, scooters, snowshoes and ice skates, and also sells quality boats, sports gear and apparel. Want to take a unique tour while on your Galena getaway? Bike and scooter tours are available at Fever River too, including their famous Scooter tour to Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery – it’s a one way trip with a van ride back to town, so that you can indulge a bit on the wine while you’re there. Give Deb a call at 815-776-9425, or visit her online at feverriveroutfitters.com
7. Rockford City Market, Water Street & State Street, Rockford
Rockford City Market is kind-of like a farmers market on steroids. Rockford City Market, offers a family-friendly environment with weekly activities, including live music and fun for children, families, happy-hour enthusiasts and getaway couples. This is a farmers market and much more featuring farm-produced fruits and vegetables, plants, cheese, bakery goods, breads and grain, coffee and tea, flowers, local wines and craft beers. 3pm-7pm, Fridays until October 12. For more information visit them online at rockfordcitymarket.com, or give them a jingle on the landline at 815-977-5124.
8. Lena Mercantile Company and Eatery, 101 West Railroad Street, Lena
You won’t just be dining when at the Lena Mercantile Company and Eatery. Here you’ll find a wide assortment of antiques, collectables, gifts, Amish furniture and accessories. You can also finish off your meal with candy, and country store items. The Mercantile Eatery serves delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, homemade desserts, and freshly ground and roasted coffee. Lunch is served Monday – Saturday. Reservations are not necessary, but you might want to give them a call anyway, 815-369-9955.
9. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, 444 Eagle Ridge Drive, Galena
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa is continually recognized as one of the best resorts in the Midwest. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa features 63 holes of championship golf, unmatched fall color, an award-winning spa and the best brunch in Chicagoland, as awarded by Open Table members. Lodging options include inn rooms, vacation villa townhouses and distinctive vacation rental homes with 3-6 bedrooms – enough for the entire family. Learn more and make your reservations online at eagleridge.com.
10. Starved Rock State Park, Route 178 and Route 71, Utica
VOTED THE #1 ATTRACTION IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS –Starved Rock State Park is a world apart from anything else in Illinois! You will know it the minute you enter the park, as you wind your car through the towering trees. Amazing waterfalls are active in the fall. You’ll find over 13 miles of trails to explore, plus, the Illinois River offers fishing (ice fishing too beginning in late fall), boating, extraordinary views and great places to relax. Want a preview? Explore online at starvedrockstatepark.org
You are sure to be amazed by Northern Illinois this fall. Where ever you choose to spend your fall getaway in Chicago and Beyond, you will enjoy Illinois at it’s very best.