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Where to Watch Fall Foliage in Chicago

Fall in Chicago means brightly hued parks and streets lined with trees in hues of red, orange, and yellow. With so many park spaces and gardens, Chicago is the optimal spot for leaf peeping. Here are some of the best spots to watch the leaves change in and around the city.

Jackson Park

Chicago’s South Side has stunning parks including Jackson Park, home of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. With 600-acres of park land including a wooded area, the Osaka Garden, Bobolink Meadows, and a sculpture by Yoko Ono, Jackson Park is the perfect place to roam amidst fall foliage.

Morton Arboretum 

Located in Chicago’s Western Suburbs, Morton Arboretum is well worth the thirty-minute drive to see some of the most stunning foliage the Midwest has to offer. With numerous hiking trails and a variety of trees, the Arboretum makes the perfect day trip for those hoping to get lost in nature. 

Graceland Cemetery

For those seeking something a little spookier, Graceland Cemetery is the place to watch the fall leaves. The serenity of the cemetery allows for peaceful walks through the lush foliage which sprouts from a variety of trees including Red Oak, Sycamore, Black Walnut, Ohio Buckeye, and many, many more. 

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is the perfect spot for viewing the fall colors as it offers many family-friendly amenities including playgrounds, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and paths to walk and bike along. Chicago’s largest park has no shortage of trees to spot the fall colors including Red Maple, Ash, Birch, and Elm. 

Chicago Botanic Garden

Another suburban spot worth the trek, the Chicago Botanic Garden, located in Glencoe houses colorful perennials and fruit-bearing shrubs still blooming in October, and hundreds of trees sporting bright fall hues. Observe the fiery red Japanese Maples, and Sumacs along with the Elms, Birches, and Oaks as they change color for the fall. 

University of Chicago Campus

The University of Chicago is the perfect spot to spend an autumn day. The leafy campus turns bright red, and the ivy, climbing up the Gothic structures matches the hues on the trees. For those looking for a fright, try spotting the gargoyles perched atop many of the structures, peering out over students and visitors as they cross campus.