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How to use transit to enjoy fall in the Chicago region

October 7, 2022

How to transit to enjoy fall activities blog banner

Instead of mourning another Chicagoland summer come and gone, start creating your plans to make the most of fall. The RTA has curated a list of indoor and outdoor activities you can take the CTA, Metra, or Pace to across the region this season.

Fall festivals

Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest

This free fall festival is fun for the whole family, featuring pumpkin picking and Ferris wheel rides above the foliage. Visitors can also enjoy musical entertainment, drag storytime, professional pumpkin carvers, and fall-themed enrichment and demonstrations for the animals.

When: Fridays-Sundays now through October 30

Where: 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614

How to get there:

  • CTA Bus #151 and #156 (Stockton and Webster stop).
  • CTA Bus #22 and #36 (Clark and Webster stop) and walk for 4 minutes (0.2 miles).
  • CTA Bus #73 (Armitage and Clark stop) and walk for 4 minutes (0.2 miles).
  • CTA Red, Brown, or Purple Line (Fullerton stop), transfer to CTA Bus #37 (Lincoln & Armitage/Sedgwick stop) and walk for 7 minutes (0.4 miles).
  • Metra UP-N or UP-NW (Clybourn stop), transfer to CTA Bus #73 (Armitage and Clark stop) and walk for 4 minutes (0.2 miles).

Learn more

Boo at the Zoo (Brookfield Zoo)

Check out the creatures, creepy crawlers, and more in your costumes at this Halloween-themed event that's perfect for family photo ops. All ages are welcome, and the kids will leave with a sweet treat.

When: Saturdays and Sundays now through October 23

Where: 8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield, IL 60513

How to get there:

  • Metra BNSF (Hollywood/Zoo stop) and walk for 10 minutes (0.5 miles).
  • Pace Bus #331 (31st/Golf View/Brookfield Zoo stop).

Learn more

All Hallows Eve (Naper Settlement)

Naperville invites kids 16 and younger to this two-day festival that will be filled with outdoor activities and performances, some of which include axe throwing, laser tag, and an immersive skit inspired by Harry Potter.

When: October 14-15

Where: 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, IL 60540

How to get there:

  • Metra BNSF (Naperville stop) and walk for 19 minutes (1 mile)
  • Pace Bus #530 (Washington St & Aurora Ave stop) and walk for 3 minutes (0.2 miles).

Learn more

Wicker Halloween Town

This event will have spooky games, music, a costume contest, face painting, a parade, and Halloween themed arts and craft activities. Enjoy a free pumpkin giveaway while supplies last and a performance by musician Mr. Dave at 1 p.m.

When: October 22

Where: 1425 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60622

How to get there:

  • CTA Blue Line (Damen stop) and walk for 2 minutes (0.1 mile).
  • CTA Bus #50 (Damen & Schiller stop).
  • CTA Bus #56 (Milwaukee & Honore stop) and walk for 2 minutes (0.1 mile).
  • Metra UP-N or UP-NW (Clybourn stop), transfer to CTA Bus #9 (Ashland and Blackhawk stop) and walk for 10 minutes (0.5 miles).

Learn more

Check out other Chicago Park District Halloween events here.

Leaf peeping

Humboldt Park

The iconic park on the West Side of Chicago spanning 200 acres is an excellent place to enjoy fall colors. Explore the lagoons and boat house, playgrounds, historic statues, formal gardens, natural area, community gardens, and more.

Where: 1440 N. Humboldt Blvd., Chicago, IL 60622

How to get there:

  • CTA Bus Route #70 (Division and Humboldt stop).
  • CTA Bus Route #94 (California and Hirsch stop).
  • Metra MD-N, MD-W, and NCS lines (Western Avenue stop), then take CTA Bus Route #49 north to Division Street.
  • Metra UP-W line (Kedzie stop), then take CTA Bus Route #82 north to Division Street.

Learn more

Garfield Park Conservatory

Just southwest of Humboldt Park is one of the West Side’s most cherished gems, the Garfield Park Conservatory. Step inside for a blast of warmth on a particularly chilly fall day or explore the outdoor gardens to really enjoy the changing leaves.

Where: 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60624

How to get there:

  • CTA Green Line (Conservatory-Central Park Drive stop).
  • CTA Bus #20 (Madison and Hamlin stop) and walk for 10 minutes (0.5 miles).
  • Metra UP-W (Kedzie stop) and walk for 13 minutes (0.7 miles).

Learn more

Jackson Park

Located in the Woodlawn community and accessible via the Lakefront Trail, Jackson Park spans 550 acres and features some of the most stunning foliage in all of Chicago. Check out Wooded Island, including the Japanese Garden, for stunning fall colors.

Where: 6401 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago, IL 60637

How to get there:

  • CTA Bus #2, #6, #15, or #28 (Stony Island & 59th Street stop).
  • Metra Electric (University of Chicago/59th Street stop) and walk for 2 minutes (0.1 miles).

Learn more

Lyman Woods Nature Center

Lyman Woods is 150 acres of oak woods, prairie, and marsh habitats that supports over 300 species of native plants. Discover an amazing diversity of plant life, including six species classified as rare in the Chicago region.

Where: 901 31st St., Downers Grove, IL 60515

How to get there:

  • Metra BNSF (Downers Grove stop), transfer to Pace Bus #834 (3200 Highland Ave stop) and walk for 6 minutes (0.3 miles).
  • Pace Bus #715 (31st/Highland Pkwy. stop) and walk for 2 minutes (0.1 miles).
  • Pace Bus #722 or #834 (3200 Highland Ave stop) and walk for 6 minutes (0.3 miles).

Learn more

Dan Ryan Woods

The 257-acre Dan Ryan Woods is a well-loved family destination on Chicago’s South Side, with picnic groves and a mile-long paved loop that connects to the Major Taylor Trail. The site supports a large array of native plants, animals, and migratory birds, providing picture-perfect scenery when the leaves begin to change.

Where: S. Western Ave. & W. 87th St., Chicago, IL 60620

How to get there:

  • Metra Rock Island (Gresham stop) and transfer to CTA Bus #87 (87th Street and Western Terminal).
  • CTA Bus #87 (87th Street and Western Terminal).
  • Pace Bus #349 (Western Ave and 87th Street stop).

Learn more

Museums

For those notorious gloomy, chilly, or rainy fall days, spend some time exploring museums throughout the region. The RTA has some recommendations—and how to get to them—here.

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