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Sunflower City
Photograph: Courtesy Lannon Sunflower Farm

The best sunflower fields near Chicago

Visit these sunny fields and mazes for a perfect summer day trip from the city

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Written by
Emma Krupp
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Want to plan a unique day trip from Chicago that satisfies the itch for natural beauty? Hop in your car and head straight to the nearest sunflower field. Tall and preternaturally cheerful, their blooms envelop visitors in a golden canopy, stretching out in acres of lemon-colored dots into the horizon (and better yet, you can snip some to bring a bit of the sunshine back to your kitchen counter at home). Fortunately, you don't have to travel far to seek out one of these sunny patches—with so many options in the suburbs and just over the border in Indiana and Wisconsin, we can practically count these fields among Chicago's best attractions. Sunflower season generally runs from late July until early September with rotating cycles of blooming periods, so be sure to visit the websites of each location to make sure you're catching peak bloom potential.

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The best sunflower fields near Chicago

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Driving time from Chicago: About an hour

This huge Wisconsin sunflower patch is studded with four million sunflowers spread out over several fields, so come prepared with clippers and a jar to prepare for a long day of roaming and picking. Visitors are welcome to clip up to six flowers each and get free entry into the farm's giant corn maze.

Daily 10am–7pm. $12 adult, $6 child

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Driving time from Chicago: About an hour

Book your ticket online ahead of time to ensure access to this Minooka, Illinois farm, where sunflowers and zinnias abound. A ticket nets you access to both fields and all other farm activities (like corn and soybean mazes), plus one sunflower to take home. Want pick even more sunflowers? Spring for add-ons like "De Bucket," ($20) which includes a pail that you can fill with as many sunflowers that will fit inside. 

Select dates through September 19 from 10am to 7pm. $12 per person, children 2 and under free. 

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Driving time from Chicago: About an hour and a half

A maze of sunflowers awaits you at Von Bergen's Country Market in Hebron, Illinois, where 30 acres of sunny flowers have been planted sequentially to ensure maximum blooming time throughout the season. Take a tram out to the maze for an afternoon of wandering; once you've made your way through, circle back for ice cream and to trim your own flowers at a u-pick zinnia and snapdragon field. Don't forget to snag a bundle of pre-cut sunflowers to take home before you leave.

Monday through Thursday, 9am–6pm: $8 adults, $6 children 3–12, free for children 2 and under. Friday and Sunday, 9am–8pm: $12 adults, $10 children 3–12, free for children 2 and under

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Driving time from Chicago: About two hours

Pack cash, a clean jar and a pair of clippers before driving up to this Wisconsin sunflower farm, where you can pick up to 12 sunflowers from a three-acre field while supplies last (the season is expected to extend into September this year). While you're there, explore a wildflower butterfly garden and two corn mazes manicured into the shape of flowers.

Daily 7am–7pm. $20 per car, cash only

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Driving time from Chicago: About 50 minutes

Wander through a u-pick sunflower field at one of this Hobart, Indiana-based farm’s Sunflower Fun Farm Weekend days (held September 11, 12, 18 and 19 this year). The farm also features train rides, duck races, an obstacle course and tons of other family-friendly activities to enjoy after you've plucked your fill of flowers.

8am–6pm. $9 per person, children under 2 free

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Driving distance from Chicago: About an hour and 45 minutes

Though some of its previous summer sunflower fields have already been plowed, South Bend’s Thistleberry Farm will once again erupt in a three-acre sea of sunflowers and zinnias starting in mid-September.

3pm–9:30pm Monday through Wednesday, 10am–9:30pm Saturday and Sunday; last admission half an hour before close. $7 per person, children 2 and under free

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