Fall Events in Chicago: 2018 Edition

This fall, savor the final weeks of gorgeous weather before Chicago's icy freeze takes over by experiencing the best the city has to offer. With tons of food and drink events, a breathtaking spectrum of autumn colors throughout the city, and some of Chicago's most beloved festivals, fall in the Windy City holds a special place in our hearts. During your visit, check out a neighborhood Oktoberfest, take a scenic stroll along the Lakefront Trail, or embrace the infectious energy of Bears season in Chicago.

Grab a warming latte, put on your favorite sweater, and experience Chicago like a local. Your autumn fun begins at Kinzie Hotel.

chicago during the fall

Take a Scenic Autumn Stroll

There's something magical about the way the city's spectacular skyline and vibrant fall colors come together along the Chicago lakefront. As the days begin to cool and the trees begin to change, Chicago offers some amazing opportunities to take in the sights, sounds, and aromas of the season.

Lakefront Trail

During your stay, embark upon a scenic adventure along the Chicago Lakefront trail! Grab a hot tea or a seasonal latte, take a stroll along the city's waterfront trails, and enjoy the scenery as leaves crunch beneath your feet and waves crash along the shores. If you're looking to cover a bit more ground, rent a Divvy Bike and head south towards the Museum Campus and Promontory Point or North towards Navy Pier and Lincoln Park.

Lincoln Park

For a beautiful, scenic afternoon, head to Chicago's Lincoln Park! Sip hot tea as you stroll through the city's free zoo and marvel at the park's vibrant oranges and reds. If you get chilly on the park's trails, pop into the park's phenomenal conservatory to warm up with some botanical scenery. Between the colors and the skyline, you'll have no shortage of Instagram-worthy moments.

chicago gourmet food festival

Bon Appetit Presents Chicago Gourmet

Embark upon a truly phenomenal gastronomical adventure during your fall getaway to Chicago at the 10th Annual Chicago Gourmet Festival! Featuring dozens of the city's finest chefs, Chicago Gourmet gives you a the unique opportunity to sample dishes from extraordinary chefs in extraordinary places across a series of a series of world-class culinary events. From the Hamburger Hop on the Harris Theatre Rooftop to the Chicago Gourmet Grand Tasting at Millennium Park to the Sweets & Beats dessert dance party at the Willis Tower Skydeck, the festival offers a truly outstanding (and delicious) introduction to America's greatest food city!

September 26 - 30, 2018 | Various Locations | $40.00 - $250.00

Chicago Gourmet Festival

hotel near chicago international film festival

Chicago International Film Festival

Do you fancy yourself a film buff? Don't miss the 53rd Annual Chicago International Film Festival! Held at the state-of-the-art AMC River East Theatre, located a half mile from Kinzie Hotel, the world-renowned film festival brings the world's best 2018 releases to Chicago for an amazing two-week celebration of all things cinematic. With a diverse schedule, the festival provides the perfect opportunity to discover new films, revisit your favorite pictures of the year, and participate in Q&A's with the world's most acclaimed filmmakers.

The Chicago International Film Festival offers single screening, 10-film, and 20-picture passes, which can be purchased in advance or at the theater.

October 10 - 21, 2018 | AMC River East | $15.00 for Single Screenings

Chicago International Film Festival

chicago jazz festival at millennium park

Chicago Jazz Festival

Every fall, the home of the blues curates one of the country's premier, free jazz festivals. Over Labor Day weekend, Millennium Park hosts an awesomely diverse lineup of world-class jazz performances on four stages.

This year, highlights include Dr. Lonnie Smith, an all star tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, and New Orleans' fun, funky, and energetic Rebirth Brass Band. Whether you're bouncing from stage to stage or just laying down a blanket and taking in the scene at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, you'll love the sights, sounds, and energy of the Chicago Jazz Festival.

August 24 - September 2, 2018 | Millennium Park | Free Admission

2018 Chicago Jazz Festival

hotel near chicago marathon

Photo Courtesy Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon

Cheer on the runners of the Chicago Marathon during your fall visit to River North! Located just two blocks from the three mile marker, Kinzie Hotel puts you in a prime location to witness the race, take in the energy of the event, and enjoy the cool fall weather. If you're looking for a fully immersive spectator experience, head to one of the marathon's designated cheer zones, which offer great skyline & race views along the city-wide route.

October 7, 2018 | Throughout Chicago | Free to Spectate

2018 Chicago Marathon

windy city wine festival at grant park

Photo Courtesy Windy City Wine Festival

Beer & Wine Festivals

Chicago has developed a phenomenal reputation as one of the nation's premier cocktail, craft beer, and wine destinations. This fall, some of our favorite beverage festivals return, celebrating the very best of Chicago's beer and wine scenes. From neighborhood Oktoberfests to the always fun (and weird) Lagunitas Beer Circus to the Windy City Wine Festival, you'll find no shortage of ways to taste your way through the beverage world's hottest trends.

Windy City Wine Festival

Sample from more than 300 world-class wines beneath the majestic Chicago skyline at the 2018 Windy City Wine Festival. Located in the iconic Grant Park, the WCWF acts as a final sendoff to Chicago summer. With cool lake breeze, upscale food vendors, and plenty of selfie opportunities in front of Buckingham Fountain, you'll absolutely love the Windy City Wine Festival.

September 7 - 8, 2018 | Grant Park | $45.00 - $50.00

Windy City Wine Festival

BeerHoptacular 2018

Self-described as "a celebration of American craft beer, Chicago beer culture and good (mostly) clean fun", the 7th annual BeerHoptacular brings more than 75 breweries and seven food trucks to Cinespace Chicago. Conveniently located next to Lagunitas Brewing Company, the BeerHoptacular creates the perfect excuse to start planning your fall beercation to Chicago!

September 22, 2018 | Vertiport Chicago | $49.00 - $99.00

Beer Hoptacular

chicago hotel near 2018 thanksgiving day parade

Thanksgiving Parade

Traveling to Chicago for Thanksgiving? Take part in one of the city's most beloved holiday traditions! With festive floats and fantastic marching bands, the parade proceeds north on State Street from Congress to Randolph. To witness the sights and sounds of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, just walk south on State (across the river) for about a half mile, and you'll walk right into the tail end of the parade!

November 22, 2018 | State Street | Free!

Thanksgiving Day Parade

chicago tree lighting

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Kick off the holiday season with spirit and style at the 105th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Millennium Park! Grab a hot chocolate, sing along with your favorite carols, and bask in the magnificent glow of Chicago's epic tree!

TBD | Millennium Park | Free!

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20 W Kinzie St.

Chicago, IL 60654

(312) 395-9000


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