The blowing wind and the chilled, clear days are a subtle warning of winter's impending grip — soon to be sweeping across the Midwest. The days are getting shorter and colder, so while the weather only requires a jacket or windbreaker to stay warm right now, it's the perfect time to get outside and enjoy it before Jack Frost keeps us holed up indoors until spring. There are plenty of fall activities in Chicago to get you out and about. Try one (or all) of them soon!
Since most farmers markets are wrapping up for the season, it's a good idea to hit them up while they last. If you're in downtown Chicago and are looking for some fresh produce, artwork or plants, the Federal Plaza is still hosting its market every Tuesday until Oct. 25. The Daley Plaza farmers market is another place to go before it's too late. Located on the corner of Washington and Dearborn, there's only one chance left to get to this market in 2011: Thursday, Oct. 20.
For those looking for a market with a mission, check out the 61st Street Market
on the south side, where they offer a wide variety of foods to eliminate Westlawn's "food desert" label. This term was coined by Mari Galligher in a LaSalle Bank study
on the effect of unbalanced food-environments to communities, and residents of Westlawn felt it was reason enough to make a change. This market runs until Dec. 17.
The Green City Market
is one of the most prolific markets in Chicago and offers a diverse range of quality products. Its mission is to promote and support locally and sustainably grown foods. This market is the only one in the city that is open year-round. The outdoor season lasts until Oct. 29.
Corn stalks bundled together like columns, bales of straw stacked tall, fake spider webs stretched across a pseudo coffin ... fall seems somehow bleak without these decorations, just as it doesn't seem quite fulfilled without a trip to a pumpkin patch. Several neighborhood parks are hosting pumpkin patches including Skinner Park, Mt. Greenwood Park and Columbus Park. All of these parks are listed in the events section on Chicago Park District's website
Despite the growing cold, there is still an assortment of athletic-focused activities still available. Kayak Chicago
offers fall colors paddles, pumpkin paddles and even fall fireworks paddles. Each group outing encourages people to explore the city's waterways during a beautiful time of year, with no motors allowed.
Hiking is a great pastime during the fall season and being in the city doesn't mean you have to go without. Several parks in the city are too small to have hiking trails, but a short train ride to a suburb yields several options. Skokie Lagoons, a park north of the city, has a four-mile trail in the middle of the urban jungle. West of the city lies the Fullersburg Woods, a 222-acre forest just 20 miles west of the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago. Or, if you fancy a nice walk in the city itself, there is the Lakeshore Trail running north to south along Lake Michigan's coast.
The temperatures are changing but that doesn't mean we should be staying inside just yet. In fact, this time of year is a great excuse to enjoy the changing nature, taste delicious and seasonal goods, and explore the world outside of our homes or apartments before winter keeps us from the outdoors.