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Summer in Chicago is pretty incredible—it's hard for any season to compete with the beaches, street fests and summer concerts that make this city shine in the warmer months. But fall shouldn't be overlooked (winter should be, though, let's be real). It's when the best exhibits, movies, albums, arts performances—really, the best of Chicago culture—happen. So if you're lamenting the end of summer, here are 33 reasons to cheer up and wear a scarf already.
RECOMMENDED: Complete guide to fall in Chicago
1. Lincoln Park Zoo when the leaves are changing. Even the squirrels seem pretty stoked to be hanging out there.
2. So long to the empty-headed summer blockbusters, fall is the time for brainy films, especially if you're hitting up the Chicago International Film Festival.
3. Curling up on the couch with a blanket and the remote control: all your favorite TV shows are coming back!
4. Those few short weeks when you need neither your heat nor your AC, just the cool breeze from your open windows.
5. We have so many bars with fireplaces. This will get old once February hits, but drinking a cider in front of a fire seems downright delightful right now.
7. Feeling no guilt whatsoever about staying inside and watching movies all day.
8. Wearing scarves! Everyone looks better in a scarf.
9. Not having to get a pedicure every two weeks.
10. The BO stank on the El is slightly less intense.
11. The lakefront path pretty much clears out of lunatics on roller blades.
12. Drinking a hell of a lot more brandy and bourbon.
13. The informal costume parade that is riding the CTA on Halloween. Especially as your bus or train approaches Boystown.
14. Naked pups are finally clothed again. Our four-legged friends love fall fashion, too.
15. Facial hair is sprouting up everywhere. No town in the Midwest rivals Chicago in beards, mustaches and goatees.
16. You can start taking shortcuts through alleys without having to smell your neighbors' trash baking in the heat.
17. So what if you packed on a couple extra pounds this summer with greasy street-fair food, outdoor-concert drinking and barbecues? It's nothing that a cozy sweater can’t hide.
18. Autumn is the best time of the year to bust out your running shoes. Come to think of it, that’s probably why the Chicago Marathon is in October.
19. Brave souls can still dine "al fresco" and actually get a table.
20. The summer music drought has come to an end and the floodgate of fall releases has been opened, including new records from Jeff Tweedy, Zola Jesus, Flying Lotus and more.
21. Most of the artists and bands who skipped the summer festival circuit are stopping through town during the fall concert season.
22. Oktoberfest. Bring on the giant pretzels and liters of beer.
23. Two words: crockpot chili. Everyone thinks they have the best recipe but, truth be told, it's all good.
24. You have a better chance of snagging a Divvy bike now that all the fair-weather cyclists have hung up their helmets for the year.
25. Chilly fall days are the ideal time to stay cozy by taking a trip to a museum or gallery. The Bowie exhibit isn't going to be at the MCA forever.
26. Fall contains two of our favorite holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t like feasting on candy and comfort food with family and friends?
27. Eating soup, ramen or stew for lunch or dinner just feels right.
28. Pumpkin patches, apple orchards and haunted houses provide the perfect excuse for a trip to the suburbs.
29. The Sleep burger will soon return to Kuma's Corner. Stoner metal fans and turkey burger aficionados, rejoice!
30. You have plenty of options if you're looking for a good book (or three) to read on the train.
31. You can buy pumpkin pie and eat it at every meal.
32. The Chicago Humanities Festival packs its fall schedule with more fascinating talks, performances and personalities than any one person could hope to attend. Good problem to have.
33. Chicago is always the best. Unless we're trapped in a polar vortex.