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Pumpkin spiced lattes, sweaters and apple cinnamon anything: it’s officially fall! This week we challenged our followers to share the fall activity they are most looking forward to seeing and doing. 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 your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.


“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” We started our fall activities challenge with this photo by @cedric_dupree at Jonamac Orchard.


@nwmyers was literally “leaf peeping!” Great fall foliage photo captured at the Chicago Botanic Garden.


Fall is the time to take the back roads and embrace nature. Thanks to @stufotog for sharing this one near Lily Lake.


We love this Halloween decoration in Lincoln Park! Thanks to @ryanzieman for sharing this with us!


Doesn’t get much cuter than a corgi wrapped in a fall scarf… Thanks for the adorable pic, @ramboma!


Those are going to make a great apple pie… yum! Photo by: @ehildi


Trees minus the leaves, but still an amazing sunset! Great photo,@justinwardimages.


Follow the yellow-leafed road! Neat angled shot, @starrynightbug.


What a spooky sky for some pumpkin picking! Thanks for the picture, @christyspur_10!


Fall doesn’t mean we won’t get beautiful rainbows! Thanks for catching this one, @sambernero.

-Illinois Office of Tourism


Fall is upon us, and that means it’s time to say goodbye to the greens, and hello to the reds, oranges, yellows and browns! The season-change brings beautiful color to many areas in Illinois, and we’ve got the hook up on the best leaf-peeping destinations and drives. Get ready to witness nature near the city and outbound.

State Parks, Botanic Gardens and a Museum of Trees?

Whether you’re looking for a guided tour or want to wander on your own, these four destinations offer great views of the changing leaves.

Starting in Lisle, the Morton Arboretum has more than 222,000 live plants and was founded on the idea that it would serve as a “great outdoor museum” of trees. This October, the arboretum will host a Fall Color Festival throughout the month with a variety of activities for all members of the family, including sipping on ciders amongst the changing leaves, and for the kids, touring the grounds in Halloween costumes!


Photo by Instagram user @ncartwright21

Up next is the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. With more than 2 million plants across 385 acres of land, you’re sure to see the full spectrum of fiery autumn colors. The Chicago Botanic Garden hosts fall-color tree walks in the first two weeks October, but something to look forward to in late October (from the 20-23) is its newest attraction, Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns, where 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins will light up the nights in the Botanic Garden!botanic-gardens

A little further south of the city – about 90 minutes driving – is Starved Rock State Park. In the fall, this park is an excellent place for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike to see the panoramic views and leaves changing from the top of Starved Rock itself. The park also has an event called the Fall Colors Tour, which includes a trolley ride, lunch and a guided scenic walk to ensure you get the inside scoop on the best of the fall foliage.


Finally, head to the Shawnee National Forest for some prime leaf-peeping. More specifically, the Garden of the Gods Wilderness area shows off amazingly colorful views and even ripe fall fruit like persimmons. With all the beautiful color and unique scenery, this is the ideal place to take great fall photos and capture another magnificent transition of season.


Photo by Instagram user @vermilliondesign

Takin’ the long way: Scenic Drives

Ease on down the road(s) of Illinois to witness some spectacular fall foliage from your car window! Take in the entire western edge of the state with “neature” views along the Great River Road. This path follows the Mississippi River on one side and forests on the other, which makes for some spectacular sights. Not only can you see these beautiful colors, but make sure to meander through the quaint, small towns along the way to experience their fall festivals.


Photo by @visitalton

For a shorter trip, head to Peoria Heights to cruise Grandview Drive, just 2.5 miles long. The “world’s most beautiful drive,” according to President Theodore Roosevelt, is lined with trees which will make for a stunning multicolor view.



Photo by Instagram user @svarttrost

Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive, located between Galesburg and Peoria, is the best to visit during the first two weekends of October when the area’s Fall Festival is in full swing. This year’s festival marks the 49th annual celebration, filled with food, art, entertainment and attractions across the county for all ages to enjoy.


For more ideas on where to view fall foliage throughout Illinois, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism


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 EnjoyIllinois.com.


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


Multi-color can certainly be beautiful, but there’s nothing like a one tone capture to really grab your attention. This beauty was evident this week as we asked our Instagram followers to share their best monochromatic images around Illinois. 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 your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.


Green with envy, we kicked off our monochromatic challenge with this photo by @futuristic_nomad at Dixon Springs State Park.


A blue view at the Shedd Aquarium! Great photo captured by @chrisburrichter


We only have a few last looks of summer! Thanks to @tnew2 for sharing this one.


A storm is brewing on the Chicago shoreline! Thanks to @jolsonj for sharing this with us!


What a colorful pile of pumpkins at Goebbert’s Farm in Barrington. Thanks for the awesome pic, @tashka87!


White and light at the Field Museum! Photo by @out_with_alejandro


What a lucky day for @_amphoto… and empty L cart! Great photo!


Nice pic, @kashhasan of some blue hues in outside of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion


Bright lights, big city! Great shot by @nick_ulivieri

-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 EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism