Cooler temperatures and freshly fallen leaves signal that winter is right around the corner. Fall is so much more than a precursor to winter though, and here’s a list of activities that both you and your family can do to savor the season!

Farmers Market

Fall is arguably one of the best times to visit the Farmers Market, where you can pick out seasonal produce like squashes and gourds grown on local farms. Motivate your kids into cooking—and eating—dinner with your haul by following some of these kid-friendly recipes.

Pumpkin Patch

While you can find pumpkins at your local farmers market, pumpkin patches provide an extra bit of fall fun with activities such as hayrides and corn mazes. Once you get home with your pumpkins, have a jack-o-lantern carving contest. Be sure to save the innards to eat! Try this recipe for homemade roasted pumpkin seeds.

Hiking Day Trip

Load the family up and take a trip to a hiking trail. Being in nature has a host of benefits, and the cooler temperatures are ideal for taking a hike through the woods. Check out this list of trails that you can get to from Chicago in two hours or less!

Bike through a Forest Preserve

Getting the family together for a bike ride through a nearby forest preserve is a great way to exercise and enjoy nature close to home. Check out the Forest Preserves of Cook County website to find a trail nearby.

Apple Orchard

Apples are a crown jewel of autumn. Go to the source by taking the family to an orchard for a day of apple picking, and then make homemade applesauce with the apples you bring home!

Fall Picnic

Sharing an outdoor meal with your nearest and dearest by a lake or in a park is a great way to spend a sunny fall afternoon. Pack some warm apple cider in a thermos to keep you toasty!

Post-Dinner Walk

Many of the items on this list take forethought and time, but an after-dinner walk with the family is something you can do on a whim! It’s a great way to not only enjoy the changing leaves and fresh, crisp air, but a short walk can help with meal digestion. 

Raking Leaves

Falling leaves are inevitable. Raking them up can be tedious. Turn this chore into a party by getting the whole family involved! Do I have to suggest jumping into the piles? 

Volunteer

Doing acts of service for others builds character and teaches a host of positive life skills, which makes volunteering a choice activity to do together as a family! Here’s a guide to family volunteering in Chicago.

Family Meetup Activities

Tried everything on this list? Browse Meetup’s family category to see what other activities you and the family can get involved with near you!