Happy First Day of Fall, Chicago.
If you were up early this morning, I hope you got a good look at “Chicagohenge” as the sunrise lined up with the city’s East-West grid. You can check it out again at sunset, in cased you missed it, but it only happens twice a year.
Fall is my favorite season in Chicago, and I know I’m not alone saying so. Sure it means “Winter is Coming“, but it’s more like opening a fresh jar of peanut butter than it is scraping the bottom of one.
So what makes Fall worth loving? I’m glad you asked…
1. Sweater Weather and Flannel
Sweater Weather is so good that The Neighborhood recorded a song about it…Some of us are much more in our element with long sleeves and a cool breeze.
Has fashion ever blessed us with anything better than the hoodie?
I think not…
And when else is Al Borland’s getup ever sexier?
mmm…checker patterns and stripes.
While sweaters and flannel are fantastic on their own, they both pair perfectly with the always lovable “puffy” vest. At least you’re getting ahead of the curve for Star Wars: Episode VII.
“I love you.” / “…I know.”
2. Them Leaves
Fall foliage is a thing in Chicago. It may be the most stunning part about living in a region with four seasons. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Loop area, you can get lost in the changing of the leaves around Grant Park. Perhaps take a walk around Lincoln Park as the zoo tigers are camouflaged with the trees. I’m also looking forward to the views along the new 606 Trail and West Ridge Nature Preserve.
If you’re looking for a nice getaway from the city, take an hour and half trip west on Rt. 80 toward the Illinois Valley and see what Starved Rock is all about. The hiking is fantastic and nearby are the greatest wings ON THE PLANET at Skoog’s in Utica.
While you’re already heading west, go see what the Quad Cities are all about. The first half of my college years were certainly highlighted by the unbelievable view at Augustana College walking the Slough Path to class.
Hey now…You can take a train from Chicago to Rock Island, so it counts.
3. Sports, baby…Sports.
I know, Bears fans. Not the start to a season that anybody wanted…but when did that ever stop you from throwing on your blue and orange and fill up Soldier Field? Seriously. Those games are always sold out…At least you have Fantasy Football and tailgating, right?
It won’t be too long before the United Center tenants are back at it making 1901 W. Madison into a Madhouse again. The Blackhawks drop their new Stanley Cup banner and set to defend it starting with the New York Rangers Oct. 7th, and the Bulls tipoff with their season against LeBron James and the Cavs on their NEW home floor Oct. 27th.
It also looks like there WILL be October baseball in Chicago. Even though not all of us are Cubs fans *cough* me *cough*, it’s hard not to appreciate the fun they’re having on the north side. I don’t know how long the run will last, but you can’t help imagining how insane the city will be if a certain team hoists a certain trophy in a certain ballpark…
…and don’t forget Northwestern Football. Coach Pat Fitzgerald won’t let you.
4. Gone Pickin’…
According to my Facebook feed around this time each year, couples and families LUV to go apple picking. For those of you interested in this sort of thing, here’s a helpful directory for you.
For those less inclined to do free manual labor on the weekends, might I recommend APPLE FEST in Long Grove? Starting this Friday, Sept 25th through the weekend, all the fun shops and vendors in tiny and quaint Long Grove gather to share apple treats and all the joy Fall can bring. There’s music, cider doughnuts, apple sangria, and I hear the Confectionary is making white chocolate and cinnamon sugar candy apples.
Can someone please try to recreate this photo and post it to the Facebook page? Thanks!
Why yes, yes that is Daley Plaza…
While you’re not glued to your television being “Shawshanked” into an AMC Marathon of bad slasher franchise sequels, you’ll probably notice all the Halloween popup stores in what used to be your favorite nearby businesses. (*Skypoint* Blockbuster)…
Quick remedy? How about a trip to your nearest terrifying Haunted House? For years I’ve been trying to gather friends (and the nerves) to try the Statesville Haunted Prison. If you’re interested, just Tweet at me.
If you’re less than willing to have the begeezes scared out of you, I would recommend doing what I have for the past few years…hit up a Bulls game and count how many “Where’s Waldo” costumes you find. It’s absurdly entertaining.
6. Fall Beverages
I know, Pumpkin Spiced Anything is the fad this time of year…but so are several seasonal adult beverages. The patios are still open across the city, and what’s better than a “warm apple pie” or some other warm cocktail while siting along the the Chicago river walk?
I’ll sit and wait for your response…
That’s what I thought.
If you happen to have some recipes for excellent Fall-coholic beverages, please feel free to share them on the Facebook page and I’ll post them to the site as well!
7. Fun Runs
You may be like most of us who didn’t train for the Chicago Marathon, but still want to feel like you accomplished something fitness-wise this Fall. FEAR NOT! Here’s a schedule for the remaining “run for fun” races, including various Thanksgiving Turkey Trots and the famous Hot Chocolate Run…
That totally looks worth running a 15k or 5k.
8. ALL THE PEANUTS SPECIALS
Not necessarily something Chicago-centric, but it’s the F’ing Peanuts. Who didn’t grow up on Snoopy and all the holiday specials? With the new movie coming out in November, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be a ton of fun promotions around the city for it.
9. Indoor Concerts – Big and Small
Festival season is over, but the music lives strong in Chicago year-round.
From the big stadium venues like the United Center and Allsate Arena…
To concert halls like House of Blues, The Riviera, The Metro, The Vic, and The Aragon Ballroom…
and small venues like The Beat Kitchen, Reggies, Double Door, and Bottom Lounge. You never know who’s going to show up…