Category Archives: Seasonal Fun – Fall

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Autumn in the Midwest is a spectacular sight to behold and even better to experience up close. The plethora of pumpkin patches scattered across the state of Illinois gives residents and visitors alike an opportunity to really enjoy the season to its fullest. This week we asked you to show us your best pumpkin patch shots and you delivered! Check out a few of our favorite captures below. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out


This looks like a shot straight out of an old book of fairy tales about pumpkins. Thanks for this amazing close up at Kroll’s Farm, @zophack.


So many pumpkins, we lost track trying to count! Photo captured at Bengston’s by @jchirempes.


Tiny pumpkins are often overlooked so we have to thank @lakes77 for spotting the rich colors and beauty of these smaller gourds at Bengston’s Pumpkin Farm.


Some fly the W, others paint their pumpkins in support. We like both – go Cubs! Thanks to @chicagobotanic for the photo.


Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm knows how to greet folks in search of the perfect pumpkin. Cool shot from @msoma97.


Gourds galore! Thanks for the photo @a_touch_of_b. Green City Market – (at) a_touch_of_b.png


Instagramer @thechispy couldn’t pass up the chance to get a shot of these pretty pumpkins and we don’t blame her!


Not one of these gourds is the same and we can thank nature for that. Great shot @mabblytribe!


Come for the art, leave with a pumpkin, that’s our motto. Thanks for the cool photo in front of the Alexander Calder ‘Flamingo’ statue in Chicago’s Federal Plaza @ll_cool_j2!


It’s amazing the view you get to enjoy when you’re at a high vantage point. Whether you’re standing in the window of a Chicago skyscraper or on top of a cliff with a view of an entire forest, Illinois provides incredible views. This week we ask you to capture your view from a high vantage point, check out a few of our favorite captures below. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out


This week we kicked off the challenge with a shot from the top of the Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier from @dmarieolsen.


Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna offers the peace of mind that we always count on nature to provide. This serene photo was taken by @zophack.


Helicopter tours of Chicago are for the adventurer in all of us. This photo defines what it means to have a “high vantage point.” Great shot captured by @thecraighensel.


Only a high vantage point can provide the view of the mist from a rainy day over Millennium Park. Thanks @macknielson for such a great photo!


All of the lights courtesy of @jayeffex.


Can we all just sigh in jealousy of @gkluvschi’s South Loop view in Chicago?


When your view gives you a front row seat to the storm that’s brewing, you take a photo. Awesome capture @e4rlyr1ser!


Nature’s brilliance from above. Visit Starved Rock State Park to see for yourself. Thanks for capturing @minaxivishnu!


Thanks @natelongg, from those of us who may not have the moxie to dangle our feet from great heights to get the photo.

-Illinois Office of Tourism


Football season is in full swing and that means one thing – tailgates! There is nothing quite like the anticipation of cheering on your favorite team with hundreds of other excited fans. Lucky for you, Illinois is home to big name schools that pull out all the stops for their game day celebrations. From pre-game fanfare to post-game grub, read on to learn about the hot spots on and off campuses across the state.

Northwestern Wildcats

Along Chicago’s North Shore you’ll find the Northwestern Wildcats, dubbed Chicago’s Big Ten Team. The Wildcats are coming off of a 10-2 regular season record last year and looking to continue that momentum, making the game day experience only more exciting for the fans.

Fuel up for the big game at one of Evanston’s many amazing restaurants. Stop for breakfast before an early game at Bagel Art or visit favorites like Edzo’s Burger Shop or Lou Malnati’s for a post-game meal full of local staples like Chicago style hot dogs, mouthwatering burgers and deep dish pizza.


Photo courtesy of Edzo’s Burger Shop

Northwestern’s own Wildcat Alley is the place to get pumped up before the game. Open to the public for three hours before every home game, you can bring the whole family to find food trucks, live music, and a kid zone complete with face-painting, games and inflatables. At game time, follow the Wildcat marching band as they make their way into Ryan Field for another (hopeful) Wildcat victory!


Northern Illinois University Huskies

Up in DeKalb, Northern Illinois University Huskies fans know how to have a good time! The winningest program in Illinois and in the MAC over the last decade, the NIU Huskies played in a record sixth straight Mid-American Conference Championship game in 2015 and have their sights set on a return this season.


The NIU home game experience starts with The Yard. Located on the West Lawn of Huskie Stadium, you can enjoy free live music, grab food from one of several popular local vendors, or stop by the beer garden to have a drink with fellow fans. A giant video screen is set up to make sure you stay on top of games around the country while younger Huskie fans can check out the bounce house, climb a rock wall, or have their faces painted in the Kids’ Zone.

You will also get the chance to meet NIU student-athletes from the “team of the week,” find old friends in the Varsity Club tent, and learn what’s new at NIU. Don’t be surprised if the NIU cheerleaders, Victor E. Huskie and the Huskie Marching Band come by.


If you want to keep the party going after the game, there’s no better spot than Fatty’s Pub, the official post-game headquarters of the NIU Huskies. Here you can gather with friends to chow down on all the burgers, fries and wings you can eat. When the weather is nice, you will find tons of fans on Fatty’s newly expanded beer garden.

 Illinois State Redbirds

Get ready to ‘Back the birds’ of Illinois State University as they ring that victory bell this season! The football field isn’t the only place to have fun at ISU. Tailgating lots open at 7:00 a.m. on game day and are quickly packed with excited Redbird fans. Bring your family, favorite food and your ISU spirit to hang out in the sea of red outside Hancock Stadium for pregame excitement.


Don’t feel like grilling your own food before the game? No problem! ISU has no shortage of dining options right on campus. McAlister’s Deli in the Bone Student Center is a campus favorite. Medici and Firehouse Pizza & Pub are two other favorites just a short walk away in Uptown Normal, as are popular local bars Pub II and Maggie Miley’s.


Photo courtesy of Instagram user @sarahkloo

University of Illinois Fighting Illini

Head to Champaign to catch another one of Illinois’ Big Ten Conference teams—the Fighting Illini! Tailgating before a University of Illinois football game has never been more fun since the addition of Grange Grove in 2015. This free, high-energy tailgating area opens at 7:00 a.m. on game days and is an area that fans of all ages will be able to enjoy. Grange Grove brings out big musical acts, kid’s activities, and the Marching Illini just before the team takes the field.


Hungry after all the on-field action concludes? Stop by Black Dog Smoke & Ale House to try some of their award winning BBQ. If you’re looking for an iconic U of I bar, look no further than Legends Bar & Grill. Located in the heart of campus town, Legends is the cornerstone of Illini pride. Established in 1998, this bar pays homage to the legends of yesteryear with a range of U of I sports memorabilia on the walls, including an unparalleled life-size replica of Chief Illiniwek.


Southern Illinois University Salukis

Bring your grill and gather your family and friends to post up along Saluki Row to cheer on Southern Illinois University! Before the game you can join other fans for food, live music and a chance to meet Gray Dawg himself. Saluki Pride runs deep in Carbondale, with fans of all ages headed out for this weekly tradition.


No trip to Carbondale is complete without a burger from Fat Patties, named one of Illinois’ best burgers by Thrillist. Most of Fat Patties’ dishes are cooked with local veggies, beef from Lick Creek Beef and Bison from Bison Bluff Farms, ensuring that you have the freshest meal possible.


For more ideas on where to attend live sporting events throughout Illinois visit

-Illinois Office of Tourism



Fall is here and we were just too excited to contain ourselves. That’s why this week we invited all of you to join in on our celebration by posting your “signs of fall” Instagram photos this week. Check out a few of our favorite captures below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and you could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out


To kick off our signs of fall challenge, we shared this photo from @vintagemomentsshop taken at Eckert’s Farm.


Fall is for autumn goodies from farmer’s markets, like this one in La Grange. (Photo by @kristina_joseph_photo)


Wishing we could pull up a blanket and sip on some cider underneath this magnificent tree at The Morton Arboretum. Such an awesome photo by @kristenryanphotography.


The colors in this shot could have us daydreaming all day. Thank @tashaka87 for the distraction with such a great photo!


Spending time in nature is what fall is all about. Thanks for the gorgeous shot of Carpentersville @artistviejo.


Yellow leaves stand out against these dark shadows. Thanks for capturing this shot @caittakespics!

-Illinois Office of Tourism



Fall Color Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that surround the theme “fall color.” Check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured.

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out

Kickoff Image - Alton Riverfront Park arrow - (at) emilyblincoe

Our Mile Marker @emilyblincoe captured this vibrant shot of fall leaves at the Alton Riverfront Park.

University of Chicago - (at) starrynightbug

@starrynightbug captured this awesome perspective of the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park!

Starved Rock - (at) _iggygirl

How stunning is this shot of Starved Rock from @_iggygirl?

Castle Rock state Park - (at) happinesswinner

Instagramer @happinesswinner made a trip to Castle Rock State Park and captured this incredible shot.

DeKalb - (at) deanwickstrom

Instagramer @deanwickstrom shared this close up of a fiery red leaf in DeKalb.

Evanston - (at) chicagokiddieworld

Here’s another great close up of the fiery hues of fall from @chicagokiddieworld on Lake Michigan in Evanston!

Lake Forest - (at) katiegoingplaces

Instagramer @katiegoingplaces shared this road through Lake Forest decorated in autumn foliage.

Old Town - (at) mushroomstew

This shot of the trees in the Old Town of Chicago couldn’t be more sunny and bright! (Photo: @mushroomstew)

Galena Hiking - (at) sargoodeye

@sargoodeye went hiking on the trails at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa in Galena and took this beautiful shot.

McDonald Woods Forest Preserve - (at) hx81

Instagramer @hx81 captured this shot looking up into the trees at McDonald Woods Forest Preserve.

Matthiessen State Park - (at) druedgcombphotography

We love this shot of Matthiessen State Park shot by @druedgcombphorography.

(at) joeyclicks

Instagramer @joeyclicks captured this golden sunlight in the Prairie State.

-Illinois Office of Tourism