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The best apple picking near Chicago

Apple picking near Chicago is plentiful at these easy-to-reach farms, where you can enjoy all the best things fall has to offer

Photograph: Nathan Hulsey
By Time Out Chicago editors |

Most Chicagoans will insist that summer is the city's best season, but we'd argue for fall. As the temperature drops and the leaves change colors, everything starts to slow down. We trade in iced coffee for hot chocolate and music festivals for Blackhawks games. But if you're looking to experience the best of the season, you'll have to head just outside of Chicago to a nearby apple orchrard to pick some fruit. From September through October, the area's top orchards showcase their apple varieties—from Gala and Honeycrisp to Golden Delicious and Fuji. Plan a day trip to one of these farms to start picking.

RECOMMENDED: The best fall activites in Chicago

The best apple picking near Chicago

Things to do

Prairie Sky Orchard

From Chicago: 60 miles northwest
Open daily, this orchard specializes in apples (15 varieties) and Asian pears. Expect to walk away with at least one peck, a 10-pound bag of apples, the minimum for a group of one to four. Before you pick, stop by the farm's Koffee Kiosk for coffee and a slice of pie to get you in the mood.

Photograph: Courtesy Honey Hill Orchard

Honey Hill Orchard

From Chicago: 65 miles west
This orchard is worth the 90-minute drive—and it's not too far from Shabbona Lake State Park if you want to make a day of it. You'll find more than a dozen types of apples avaiable for U-Pick and in the country store. Youngsters will love the petting zoo and climbing bales of hay. Parents will love the fact that the orchard doesn't charge admission. That's right. Entry is free, and so are all of the activities.

Photograph: Scott Curty

Apple Holler

From Chicago: 65 miles north
You'll want to clear an entire day to wander around this massive Wisconsin orchard. Beyond housing apple-filled trees, the property includes a restaurant, bakery, gift shop and family farm, which means there's no shortage of family-friendly activities. Come fall, be sure to check out the events calendar so you don't miss hayrides and festivals.


County Line Orchard

From Chicago: 40 miles southeast 
Forty acres of U-pick apples await at this Northwest Indiana orchard, but there's a lot more to do here. Visit the petting zoo, run through the corn maze, munch on doughnuts from the on-site bakery and roast s'mores at the campfire. Every weekend, there's a stacked lineup of local musical performers who play indoor and outdoor shows as part of the Baryard Jams program.


Jonamac Apple Orchard

From Chicago: 70 miles west
Hot apple cider, fresh-baked doughnuts and 35 varieties of apples are what you'll find at Jonamac. Little ones will love the mix of activities, too, from exploring the barnyard and petting zoo to trying to conquer the corn maze. Before you go, hit up the Cider House, where you'll find an impressive selection of apple wine and hard cider to take home.

Heinz Orchard
Photograph: Anthony DeMoon

Heinz Orchard

icon-location-pin Suburbs

From Chicago: 40 miles north
There's no hoopla at this small family-run orchard, so don't expect hayrides, hot chocolate and a sprawling corn maze. You're here for the apples, after all, and there are plenty of those. A word to the wise: Be sure to check the farm's website before you visit for upcoming hours and possible closures.


Kuipers Family Farm

From Chicago: 55 miles west
Take a hayride to the orchard, where visitors fill baskets with more than 20 varieties of apples, including McIntosh, Jonathan and Granny Smith. The return trip drops you at the general store stocked with pies, caramel apples and cider doughnuts.

Photograph: Debbie R

Plank Road Orchard

icon-location-pin Wicker Park

From Chicago: 60 miles northwest
Located about 30 minutes from Elgin, this low-key spot offers plenty of U-Pick apples, cider and, on the weekends, yummy baked goods. If you're looking for tons of other activities for the family, this probably isn't the spot for you, but if all you need is some good, old-fashioned apple fun in a friendly atmosphere, it's a safe bet.

All Seasons Apple Orchard, Woodstock

All Seasons Apple Orchard

From Chicago: 65 miles northwest
Surround yourself with more than 10,000 apple trees at this beautiful orchard. You can head straight to the fields for picking apples, check out the petting zoo, catch a magic show or grab your place in line for the corn maze. Apple cannons, pumpkin cannons and pony rides may be available for an additional fee on holiday weekends. 

Photograph: Courtesy Royal Oak Farms

Royal Oak Farm

From Chicago: 80 miles northwest
Royal Oak has more than 12,000 trees and 26 varieties of apples, plus late-summer raspberries. The orchard provides containers for pick-your-own types, and the store features doughnuts, caramel apples, pies and a Royal Oak specialty—apple-cider slushees.