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21 October

Fall in Chicago – Short but Sweet

When the leaves start changing color and fleeces and jackets get pulled out of the back of our closets, it’s time to embrace autumn.

For me, there are two sure signs that fall is upon us: the kids go back to school (yay!) and football season begins. Football games and football food will take over our lives until the Superbowl. Football always seems to start earlier than I remember. Baseball is still going on, and we still get those occasional days of high temps. But when I lose my husband on Sundays, Monday nights, and now Thursday nights to the Bears and the Colts (Who am I kidding? He’ll watch any team!), I know for sure that fall has arrived.

This is my favorite time of the year. For about five or six weeks, Chicagoans get a good taste of the crisp fall air just as our commute home from work slowly gets darker. We decorate for Halloween and head to Home Depot for some mums and other fall decorations. And let’s not forget about Home Goods for those pumpkin spice smelling candles at a significant discount (if only I could justify the Anthropologie candles).

Summer’s street festivals have come to a close, along with most of the city’s outdoor farmers markets. But there are still plenty of outdoor things to do in the city during fall. My family and I love to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden, which is even more beautiful this time of year and makes a great background for our annual Christmas card. Millennium Park is also its most spectacular in fall.

The Lincoln Park Zoo is another favorite spot. From a Haunted History Tour to an annual Fall Fest, the zoo hosts a variety of activities through the end of October. My kids are getting older and don’t always want to go on family outings, but for a brief moment in fall, they’re not too cool for Halloween. Which is good, because our neighborhood is the site of the annual Logan Square Halloween Parade, which will be held on Sunday, Oct. 27 this year.

My husband and I enjoy trying new restaurants, so are pleased that Logan Square has become a mecca of new eateries and bars. Some of our favorites have outdoor seating with giant fire pits and heat lamps, letting us prolong the joys of eating outside, even in fall. (Heaven forbid we should dine inside!)

Another autumn activity I’d like to make time for is the annual Open House Chicago, which lets you explore architecturally significant Chicago buildings not usually open to the public. This year’s Open House, Oct. 19 and 20, includes access to 350 buildings in 38 neighborhoods. Amazingly, it’s all free.

Around the office, we have a couple of pretty cool traditions during October. We participate in Inktober, an international art challenge. All month long, our in-house production company, Dose, invites any and all of us to go back to paper and pen and draw something. 31 days. 31 drawings. Which we display on a huge wall for everyone to admire. Additionally, we have our annual Halloween costume contest, which is by far our CEO’s favorite thing. He’s the judge. And pretty good at it!

Once November hits and temps really start to drop, our brief Chicago autumn will become just a memory.  But as I get my boots ready for winter and look for that bin of hats, gloves and scarves somewhere in the basement, I’ll continue enjoying these few short weeks of fall in Chicago and make the memory a good one.

Gretchen Kren About the Author

Gretchen Kren is the Senior Communications specialist at AbelsonTaylor. A 15 year vet in pharmaceutical advertising, with over 7 years experience Coordinating internal and external marketing and communication initiatives. Additionally, she is responsible for all of the agency’s award submissions. Gretchen lives in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood with her husband and three children.