The Best Places to Take in the Fall Foliage in Chicago

Written by Selena Singh-Russell

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Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash

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Fall is here! You know what that means—time for pumpkin spice lattes, cozy knits and beautiful fall foliage. There’s something special about the leaves changing from green to shades of yellow and red.

While you can see fall foliage on just about any tree-lined street in Chicago, there are certain places where the views are truly worth seeing. These are the places that would likely make an appearance on your Instagram feed. They are filled with color, landmarks and an overall fall aesthetic that is easy on the eyes.

Keep reading to find out more about the best places to spot fall foliage in Chicago.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden is pretty any time of the year, but fall is a feast for the eyes. With the trees in the Botanic Garden’s collections and the native trees surrounding the garden, visitors can expect to see about 40,000 trees changing colours in the fall.

We’d recommend taking a walk from the Visitor Center to the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Center. You’ll see the native trees and shrubs of the McDonald Woods and the Marlott Japanese Garden.

You won’t want to miss the Japanese maples, in particular, as they turn a fiery red color. Another marvel is the filigreed sumacs, which turn a perfect mixture of orange, green and red.

University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is another place that’s pretty at any time of the year. But, it’s especially nice during the fall.

Around the time that students return to campus, the leaves start to change. The fall foliage looks amazing against the gothic architecture on campus. You’re bound to see red, orange and yellow ivy clinging to the buildings.

Even if you’ve been out of class for years, you won’t wanna miss fall on campus. If anything, you’ll be in good spirits knowing that you don’t have to be studying for fall midterms.

Lincoln Park

Of course Chicago’s largest park would be on the list of places to see fall foliage. The park has many types of trees, including red maple, ash, birch and elm. It’s a wonder to see them all change colors in the fall!

Lincoln Park is a great place to visit because of all the other amenities it has to offer, on top of its beautiful views. The park is located on the waterfront and has many playgrounds and a zoo. If the weather’s good, you can even bring along a picnic basket and make a day of it.

Morton Arboretum

Fall is the perfect time to go for a hike. The air isn’t yet too cold, and the views are always worth it. One of the best places to hike is the Morton Arboretum. It’s located just outside of Chicago—25 miles west, to be exact.

You’ll be surrounded by more than 4,200 types of trees in this arboretum. There is lots to see and explore here—from the many trails to the gardens and wetlands. Be sure to check out the East Woods, where Virginia creeper vines turn red and bur oaks drop their yellowing leaves.

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