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Church of the Holy Family
Photograph: Eric Allix Rogers courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Center

The best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Find the best things to do in Chicago this weekend with our guide to concerts, exhibitions, festivals and more.

By Zach Long and Emma Krupp

If you didn't explore Chicago neighborhoods during Open House Chicago last weekend or catch a movie as part of the Chicago International Film Festival, you're in luck. Both events are back this weekend, though you'll need to squeeze your strolling and streaming in before Sunday when they end. It's also a great time to enjoy Halloween events in Chicago, whether you prefer watching scary flicks at the Music Box of Horrors drive-in screenings or sipping drinks at a The Shining-themed pop-up bar. And if you're brave enough to venture outdoors (it's not that cold), pumpkin patches, a beer gardenOktoberfest and socially-distanced comedy shows await! Don't wait until all of the colorful fall foliage is on the ground—check out the best things to do in Chicago this week.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Chicago right now

Things to do this weekend in Chicago

St. Jerome, Open House Chicago
Photograph: Eric Allix Rogers

1. Open House Chicago

Things to do Festivals Various locations throughout Chicago,

The annual architecture event will still take place this October, but the 2020 edition of Open House Chicago will be reimagined to address the safety guidelines and social distancing measures that have been passed down by the city and the state, with an emphasis placed on admiring buildings from the outside rather than touring their interiors. Expanding to 10 days (October 16–25), Open House Chicago's programming encourages individuals, families and small groups to visit more than 20 neighborhoods throughout the city, where they can see significant buildings and learn more about each area's history.

Sen Morimoto
Photograph: Courtesy the artist

2. Sen Morimoto

Music Rap, hip-hop and R&B Various locations throughout Chicago,

A saxophonist, singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist who has become a driving force and go-to collaborator in Chicago's independent music community, Sen Morimoto celebrates the release of his self-titled sophomore release with a streaming performance hosted by Audiotree. Strewn with chopped up beats, taut vocal harmonies, surreal lyrics and appearances by Chicago musicians like NNAMDÏ, Kaina and Joseph Chilliams, Morimoto's latest project reflects not just his personal growth as a musician, but the community that has flourished around him. Snag a copy of Sen Morimoto on October 23 and then tune in to the STAGED series to hear the live debut of Morimoto's genre-blending tracks.

One Night in Miami
Photograph: Patti Perret

3. Chicago International Film Festival

Movies Various venues, Loop

Film buffs get a chance to see the hottest movies on the festival circuit at the Chicago International Film Festival, which presents a lineup of more than 50 dramas, documentaries, comedies and foreign films, plus nine short film programs. And instead of heading to an indoor theater, this year you'll be able to stream films of your choice from home or catch a series of outdoor screenings at the ChiTown Movies drive-in in Pilsen.

Highlights of this year's lineup include the world premiere of the documentary Belushi, which chronicles the rise and untimely fall of Second City alum and Saturday Night Live star John Belushi, and the Chicago premiere of Ammonite, a period drama in which Kate Winslet portrays British palaeontologist Mary Anning. Other notable films on the lineup include Dear White People director Justin Simien’s horror satire Bad Hair, Werner Herzog's latest doc Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds and Regina King's directorial debut, One Night in Miami.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

4. Chicago Craft: A Collective Grip Pop Up Shop

Shopping Pop-up shops Cobra Lounge, West Loop

Cobra Lounge and Jeppson’s Malört have teamed up to present an ongoing pop-up, bringing together goods from local creators as well as fresh beer from area breweries. Hosted inside the Cobra Lounge, you'll find vednors selling everything from soap to hand-knitted goods, alongside beer from All Rise Brewing, Half Acre and On Tour. You can also take home bottled cocktails made with barrel aged Malört. In attempt to provide as much support to local businesses and artists as possible, the pop-up will run from Thursday through Sunday indefinitely. Capacity is limited and face masks must be worn when inside Cobra Lounge.

Neo-Futurists 45 Plays for 45 First Ladies
Photograph: Courtesy The Neo-Futurists

5. 45 Plays for America’s First Ladies

Theater Experimental Various locations throughout Chicago,

Kicking off its 32nd season of programming, Chicago-based experimental theater company the Neo-Futurists collaborate with ensembles in New York and San Francisco on a series of plays that examine the "honorary" office of First Lady. Much like the Neo-Futurists' signature show The Infinite Wrench, its latest creation 45 Plays for America’s First Ladies is made up of 45 miniature plays (no longer than five minutes) with varying styles and tones that chronologically explores how women and other marginalized individuals have made their mark on America throughout history. With the Neo-Futurarium closed for live performances, this fast-paced production is only available to stream online before Election Day.

Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Botanic Garden

6. Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns

Attractions Parks and gardens Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, IL, Suburbs

Get in the holiday spirit at this annual ghoulish makeover of the Chicago Botanic Garden. The event brings together more than 1,000 real pumpkins carved by artists for the New York-based Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns (some take up to 15 hours of work). The LED-lit creations are staged along the garden's pathway, where other entertaining characters and activations await visitors. This year, the trail will be mask-mandatory and one-way to encourage social distancing, and pumpkins will be spaced farther apart from one another (don't worry—you can still get up close to view their intricate designs). 

Hubbard Street Dance
Photograph: Talia Koylass

7. A Tale of Two

Dance Contemporary and experimental Various locations throughout Chicago,

Hubbard Street Dance company member Rena Butler kicks off the virtual season with the streaming premiere of "A Tale of Two," which was created, filmed and scored in Chicago this summer. The 25-minute work reflects on Butler's experience growing up in the city and the way that summertime felt markedly different in neighborhoods where gunshots were common and in the Loop. With the help of Hubbard Street dancers, Butler's choreography is set against various parts of Chicago, exploring why it's a place that so often feels like two cities in one.

Lloyd the Bartender at Room 237
Photograph: Alexandra Buhrow

8. Room 237

Things to do Morgan Manufacturing, River West/West Town

All work and no play makes Jack (and you) a dull boy—get away from it all for a bit with the help of this The Shining-themed popup, returning to Chicago in a spacious warehouse fit for the social distancing era. Developed by Morgan MFG operations director Amy Teri and Chicago DJ Heaven Malone, this multi-room experience takes guests through a miniature version of the Overlook Hotel, from a giant hedge maze to The Gold Room. Along the way, you'll spot familiar, photo op-friendly props like Jack Torrance's typewriter, the Redrum door and more.

Each $35 ticket comes with a complimentary drink, but if that's not enough to wet your whistle, sidle back up to the Gold Room for a drink from Lloyd the bartender; on the menu, you'll find creepy concoctions like the vermilion-colored Redrum made with ruby port, Brugal Anejo rum, pomegranate juice, honey syrup and rosewater mist. Strap on a mask and get ready for some eerie fun. 

 Jo Ractliffe
© Jo Ractliffe. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

9. “Jo Ractliffe: DRIVES”

Art Photography Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park

The stark, black and white imagery of South African photographer Jo Ractliffe takes the spotlight in this new Art Institute of Chicago survey of her work. Ractliffe's images confront the aftermath of apartheid, the legalized form of racial discrimination that exisited in South Africa until the early ‘90s. Depicting barren landscapes and literal debris, her photos and video installations document places and people that are reckoning with the consequences of forces beyond their control.

Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Fall Family Fest

Things to do Austin Harvest, Austin

Bring the whole family to this community event featuring fresh produce from Austin Harvest—a youth-led farmers market in its namesake neighborhood—and tons of fall-releated fun, from live music to pumpkin decorating. Local businesses like The Lighthouse Cafe and Two Sisters Catering will be on hand to offer their wares, and you'll be able to scoop snacks and drinks on site.  

Black Lives, Black Words
Photograph: Tanisha Pyron

11. Call for the Wailing Women

Theater Drama Various venues, Loop

Performed by the Chicago-based activist theater company Black Lives, Black Words, this take on ancient Greek playwright Euripides' tragedy The Suppliants moves the setting to modern day and transforms into a story of two mothers fighting for their respective sons' honor in different ways. Written by Chicago playwright Katrina D. RiChard, Call for the Wailing Women will be streamed live from the home of actors Allyson Brown and Bianca Laverne Jones. The performance is part of the Black Lives, Black Words company's “Plays for the People” streaming series, which highlight performers of color speaking honestly about their communities.

Kurt Elling
Photograph: Anna Webber Studio

12. Kurt Elling Cocktail Hour

Music Jazz Various locations throughout Chicago,

Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling takes over the Green Mill's stage every Friday night throughout the month of October, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Blue Note debut Close Your Eyes with a series of streaming concerts. Elling performs a matinee and evening show every Friday, streaming via the Mandolin platform. Each night has its own theme, including a career retrospective, a tribute to pop heroes like U2 and Stevie Wonder as well as a radio-style music drama. You can choose between a ticket to stream the show and a special merchandise bundle featuring a show poster and T-shirt.

Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up
Photograph: Courtesy Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up

13. Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-up

Things to do Festivals Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up, River West/West Town

Returning to a two-acre plot of land just west of Goose Island, Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up saves you a trip to the suburbs by bringing a corn maze, thousands of pumpkins and an array of carnival games to the city. This year's edition of the outdoor event takes a safety-first approach (mandatory timed reservations and masks, no cash transactions, no food and beverages onsite—the list goes on), but you'll still find classic standbys like a full corn maze, fall-themed photo ops and plenty of plump pumpkins. 

Replay Lincoln Park Alley of Darkness
Photograph: Courtesy Replay Lincoln Park

14. Replay’s Alley of Darkness

Attractions Arcades and amusements Replay Lincoln Park, Lake View

There's no need to get out of your car at this drive-in haunted experience, which takes place in the alley behind Replay Lincoln Park. Park your vehicle, take in a short drive-in movie and then steel yourself for 30 minutes of scares, as a cast of spooky zombies, demons and angry spirits use fake blood and realistic props to create a horrifying 360-degree show. Don't have a car? You can rent a sanitized vehicle for an additional $25.

Green Mill
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

15. Saturday Night at the Green Mill

Music Jazz Various locations throughout Chicago,

Live from the Green Mill, it's Saturday night! The beloved Uptown venue hosts a series of streaming concerts every Saturday evening, bringing some of the city's most innovative jazz performers to the stage in front of a small, socially-distanced audience. Jazz singer Kurt Elling hosts each night, and may sit in on a few songs during each set. While you can't attend the shows in-person, you can buy a ticket and stream them live on the Mandolin platform.

October 10: Marquis Hill
October 17: Lizz Wright
October 24:
Makaya McCraven
October 31: 

Kerry James Marshall
Photograph: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

16. “Alien vs. Citizen”

Art Contemporary art Museum of Contemporary Art, Streeterville

Inspired by the United States' merit-based immigration policies (notably, the way citizenship can be awarded to "aliens of extraordinary ability"), this exhibition includes a collection of works that explore how individuals are valued in this country. Organized in sections that correspond to themes of citizenship, work and personal relationships, "Alien vs. Citizen" includes works by Kerry James Marshall, Robert Rauschenberg and Gillian Wearing.

Photograph: Shutterstock

17. JoJo’s Pumpkin Patch

Things to do Quirky events JoJo's Shake Bar, River North

Snag a treat and some decorative gourds at the month-long JoJo's Pumpkin Patch pop-up, on the patio of JoJo's Shake Bar in River North. You'll be able to take home pumpkins and enjoy the decadent Pumpkin Patch Shake, topped with a slice of Pumpkin Pie, taffy apple, roasted marshmallow and a Reese's pretzel. Access to the patio is restricted to groups of six or less, first come, first served.

Ryan Tova Katz and Almaz Yigizaw chat as part of Reflections: An Edgewater Art Experience
Photograph: Courtesy Edgewater Chamber of Commerce

18. Reflections: An Edgewater Art Experience

Art Various locations throughout Chicago,

Take in more than 20 new and existing outdoor sculptures, murals, mosaics and other works at this month-long neighborhood art walk, which winds through the streets of Edgewater to highlight local artists and businesses. Visitors are encouraged to follow a self-guided tour (avaiable on the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce's website) to explore the works; a QR code will be posted at each location so you can scan for info about the art and artist behind the work. The exhibit is free, but feel free to toss in a donation on the Chamber's website. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street
Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros

19. Music Box of Horrors at the Drive-in

Movies Horror Chi-Town Movies Drive-In, Lower West Side

The Music Box of Horrors is usually a 24-hour marathon of frightening, thrilling and chilling movies at the Music Box Theatre, but this year the celebration of scary films will take over a drive-in theater for an entire month. You can expect late-night screenings and double features throughout the entire month of October at the Chi-Town Movies Drive-In, accompanied by specialized intros, pre-show content, filmmaker Q&As vendor and more spooky surprises. The schedule includes mainstream fare like A Nightmare of Elm Street and Carrie alongside more obscure selections like the 1933 Mexican horror flick La Llorona and ‘70s blaxploitation classic Blacula. Check out the complete schedule.

Begyle Brewing
Photograph: Laura Rote

20. Oktoberfestiversary: Beer Garden Edition

Things to do Festivals Dovetail Brewery, North Center

Dovetail Brewery and Begyle Brewing usually team up for an outdoor bash in their shared parking lot in celebration of Oktoberfest, but this year's festivities are adapting to the times. Oktoberfestiversary will be spread out over the month of October, taking place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in each brewery's respective beer garden. You'll need to make a reservation at either Dovetail and Begyle and then show up to enjoy beer, food truck fare and other Oktoberfest surprises. A portion of proceeds from the event benefit the Friendship Center food pantries.

Central Perk
Photograph: Marc Berry

21. The ‘Friends’ Experience Chicago

Things to do The Shops at North Bridge, Magnificent Mile

Longing for a time when you could curl up on the couch and binge-watch Friends for hours on Netflix? This experiential pop-up—originally conceived as a tribute to the sitcom's 25th anniversary—might be an even better way to indulge your nostalgia for the show. Visitors will have a chance to roam around the pop-up's 12 rooms, take photos and check out iconic show memorabilia like Rachel and Monica's purple door, a reconstruction of Central Perk (orange couch and all) and tons of other nostalgic highlights—there's even a glass case dedicated to the evolution of Rachel's haircuts. Once you've had your fill of photo ops and Friends-related trivia, you can visit the pop-up's gift shop full of exclusive show-themed swag. And as for COVID-era safety precautions, expect social distancing and mask requirements in addition to temperature checks; the exhibit will also be routinely cleaned and sanitized. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to My Block, My Hood, My City, the youth-based Chicago community organization. 

Whiskey Business rooftop movies
Photograph: Courtesy Whiskey Business

22. Whiskey Business Rooftop Movie Night

Movies Whiskey Business, Wicker Park

Don't have a car (or a friend with a car) to park at Chicago's drive-in theaters? You can still catch an outdoor flick at Whiskey Business, which is screening classic Halloween movies on its Wicker Park rooftop every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in October. The films are projected on two 120-inch screens and everyone in the audience is issued a set of headphones, so you won't have any problem making out your favorite lines. The schedule includes movies like Child's PlayHocus Pocus and The Craftplus, every ticket includes a bag of popcorn. Check out the Whiskey Business website to snag tickets and take a look at the latest lineup of films. All films screen twice, once at 5:30pm and again at 8:45pm.

Bruce Davidson
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

23. “What Does Democracy Look Like?”

Art Photography Museum of Contemporary Photography, Loop

In anticipation of the 2020 election, the Museum of Contemporary Photography invited seven Columbia College Chicago faculty members to dig through the institution's collection of 16,000 images, selecting photographs that what democracy means to them. The resulting exhibition reflects different interpretations of the prompt, from a close-up photo of a weathered penny to historical scenes of American life. In keeping with the civic theme, visitors will be able to register to vote on-site at the museum.

24. The Stoop Comedy Show

Comedy Stand-up Various locations throughout Chicago,

There aren't many places in Chicago where you can see live comedy at the moment, especially if you're not comfortable sitting in a club. The Stoop Comedy Show brings comics from throughout the city outside, staging a weekly showcase on a stoop in Logan Square. You can spring for a ticket to laugh in-person (face masks are required) or tune into a live broadcast via Twitch. Check out the Stoop Comedy Show's Instagram page to see the latest lineup.

Ken Saunders Gallery, On Neon
Photograph: Courtesy John E. Bannon

25. “On Neon”

Art Contemporary art Ken Saunders Gallery, United Center

The humble neon sign gets its due in a new exhibition at Ken Saunders Gallery, showcasing a collection of signs informed by the kitschy, nostalgic and eye-catching glow of vaccum sealed glass tubes. "On Neon" features flourescent creations from artists like John Bannon, Sarah Blood and Jacob Fishman, all of which find ways to channel and elaborate upon the functionality and aesthetic charm of these traditionally commercial beacons. A timed reservation is required to view this exhibition.

Crypt Run
Photograph: Courtesy Crypt Run

26. Crypt Run

Sports and fitness Running Various locations throughout Chicago,

Go for a jog in your Halloween costume by signing up for the virtual edition of the Crypt Run, an annual 5K and 10K run or walk that raises money for the Illinois chapter of the Best Buddies program. Participants have all of October to run their own route or follow a provided course through Lincoln Park, which once served as the city's primary cemetery. All crypt runners will receive a T-shirt, face mask and LED spinner light.

Eric Fischl, Just Connect
Photograph: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

27. “Just Connect”

Art Contemporary art Museum of Contemporary Art, Streeterville

In the midst of a period of history in which basic connection with others is increasingly difficult, the MCA presents an exhibit featuring works that celebrate the bonds we share. Featuring a variety of works from the museum's permanent collection, “Just Connect” includes photographs by Francesca Woodman, a painting by Hollis Sigler and a drawing by Chicago-native Wesley Willis—all building on the theme of considering what we have in common with one another, even when so many of us are separated.

Scarecrow Trail
Photograph: Courtesy the Morton Arboretum

28. Scarecrow Trail

Things to do Morton Arboretum, Suburbs

Take a self-guided tour around the Morton Arboretum's Meadow Lake to see a zany collection of scarecrows created by local school groups and scout troops, with designs ranging from the traditional (classic hatted scarecrow) to more eclectic (like a Charlie Brown-themed creation). Make note of any standouts, because at the end of the path, you'll get to vote for your favorite scarecrow online. 

Monet Poppy Fields
Photograph: The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kimball Collection.

29. “Monet and Chicago”

Things to do Cultural centers Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park

The Art Institute of Chicago hosted Claude Monet’s debut U.S. solo show in 1895 and was the first American museum to buy one of his paintings. "Monet and Chicago" acts as an homage to the city's special connection to the “father of Impressionism,” showcasing a mixture of major works as well as rarely seen sketches and landscapes sourced from local collections.

Porchlight Music Theatre
Photograph: Courtesy Porchlight Music Theatre

30. Broadway by the Decade

Theater Various venues, Loop

Work your way through Broadway's winding history—from the late 19th century to today—with the help of this multi-song performance, available for virtual streaming from Porchlight Music Theatre. Porchlight actors will perform selections from Show BoatFunny GirlChicagoLes MiserablesWaitress and more, tracing the legacy of the musicals' most iconic songs and the decade-by-decade evolution of the art form. Access to the video stream is pay-what-you can (from $15–$50), but $50 is the recommended ticket price. 

Farmers Market
Photograph: Shutterstock

31. Vegan Paradise: A Vegan Farmer’s Market

Things to do The Plant, New City

Vegans and omniovires alike will appreciate the novelty of browsing this all-vegan outdoor market—which showcases plant-based foods, cruelty-free crafts and other sundries—at Back of the Yards' The Plant, the sustainable business incubator housed at the site of a former meatpacking factory. Visits to the market are timed, so be sure to register online to snag a free spot. 

Garfield Park Conservatory
Photograph: Brian Kinyon Photography

32. “The Flowers of Monet”

Things to do Exhibitions Garfield Park Conservatory | Chicago, IL, East Garfield Park

Presented in tandem with the "Monet and Chicago" exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Garfield Park Conservatory transforms its Artist's Garden into a display inspired by the works of Claude Monet. Visitors will be able to take in some of the asters, dahlias, nasturtiums and rose standards that populated Monet's canvases, as well as a living wall inspired by the "Water Lilies" series.

Runners get doused with powdered color at the Color Run 5K through Grant Park on June 8, 2014.
Photograph: Mark Wright

33. 'Go Run Chicago

Sports and fitness Running Multiple venues

The Chicago Park District and Chicago Area Runners Association present this free series of timed 5K and one-mile runs, which have resumed under new social distancing guidelines and capacity limits. 50 participants can register for each run via the 'Go Run Chicago website, meeting on Saturdays at 9am in Chicago parks for a timed 5K or one-mile run.

Malangatana Ngwenya
Photograph: Malangatana Valente Ngwenya Foundation, Maputo, Mozambique.

34. “Malangatana: Mozambique Modern”

Art Painting Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park

African painter and poet Malangatana Ngwenya (who was mostly known by his first name) spent his career blending elements of European modernism with the folklore and tradition of Mozambique. "Mozambique Modern" marks the first solo exhibition of a modern African painter at the Art Institute, presenting more than 40 of his surreal, colorful paintings and drawings, highlighting the late artist's contributions to modern African art.

The Neo-Futurists
Photograph: Ricky Kluge

35. The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral

Theater Experimental Various locations throughout Chicago,

The Neo-Futurists’ flagship show adapts to a world where social gatherings are restricted, launching new works with the funding of subscribers. Pledge a monthly donation to the The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral Patreon campaign and you'll have weekly access to recordings of 30 plays performed in 60 minutes (larger donations give you access to even more content from the Neo-Futurists). It's a creative way of keeping the long-running show alive—and now you can watch it on demand!

RGB exhibition
Photograph: Courtesy Illinois Holocaust Museum

36. “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg”

Things to do Exhibitions Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Skokie

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes the spotlight in an exhibition that her life through a variety of interactive displays and a treasure trove of memorabilia. Each section of the exhibit is named after a Notorious B.I.G. lyric, beginning with her childhood in Brooklyn and continuing with an examination of her career as a lawyer fighting for equality. Guests will be able to view a recreation of Ginsburg's childhood apartment, put on a robe and sit on a replica Supreme Court bench or view a model of the desk houses in Ginsburg's Supreme Court chambers. "Notorious RBG" also features one of Ginsburg's Supreme Court robes and the National Portrait Gallery's official portraits of Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court.

Sleeping Village patio
Photograph: Victoria Sanders

37. Order a drink in a Chicago beer garden


When the weather in Chicago cooperates, there's no better place to spend a sunny afternoon than clutching a cold glass beneath an umbrella in a beer garden. Many of these outdoor drinking locales are known for their scenic patios, with some hiding behind dive bars, set up in taproom parking lots or on rooftops. Once you've snagged a table (you may need to make a reservation), you can order burgers, barbecue or frites to enjoy while you sip beer from Chicago breweries.

Photograph: Shutterstock

38. Find the perfect jack-o'-lantern pumpkin


Whether you're looking to pick up supplies for carving jack-o'-lanterns, see fall foliage in Chicago or just want to enjoy a brisk hayride, pumpkin patches are a one-stop shop for fall fun. Outfitted with acres upon acres of pumpkins ripe for picking—plus other fall attractions like cider mills, spooky corn mazes and tractor rides—these farms provide an entire afternoon worth of activity all within a two-hour drive from downtown. Trying to find the perfect patch? We've rounded up a list of the best pumpkin farms in the Chicagoland area. 

apple picking
Photograph: Shutterstock

39. Go on an apple picking excursion

Things to do

The transition from summer to fall can be a bittersweet one, but apple orchards are here to ease some of your seasonal woes. Head to the suburbs and surrounding countryside for crisp early fall air and tons of apple orchards brimming with more varieties of the classic fruit than you'll find even in the fanciest city grocery store. Pick a bushel of fruit and don't forget to grab some apple cider doughnuts on the way out when you visit the best apple orchards near Chicago.

Drive-in movie theater
Photograph: Shutterstock

40. See a film at a drive-in theater

Things to do

Fill up a car with your friends and watch a movie beneath the stars at pop-up outdoor theaters in and around Chicago. Expect a slate of classic films (The Blues BrothersThe Goonies, etc.) and some of your favorite theater concessions.

Field Museum lobby
Photograph: Courtesy the Field Museum

41. Visit a reopened museum


The Art Institute, the Field Museum, the MCA and more beloved cultural institutions will be reopening in the coming weeks, allowing visitors (wearing face coverings) to take in exhibitions while following new social distancing guidelines.

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