It’s time to succumb to the power of autumn. What other season enables us to buy decorative gourds? When else are Chicagoans presented the opportunity to sit in a wagon full of hay? So whether you want to drink cider or use the word “spooky” unironically, here are 12 farms, cideries, and haunted houses within 90 minutes of Chicago.
All Seasons Orchard
Woodstock, IL - 75 minutes from The Loop
We’re leading with a one-stop-fall-fun shop (wow, that’s catchy). All Seasons is a farm in Woodstock, Illinois, that’s open everyday in October. And it has everything - apple picking, pumpkin picking, petting zoo, apple cider donuts, and a corn maze that we have on good authority isn’t haunted by an evil scarecrow. For more info, visit their website.
County Line Orchard
Hobart, IN - 50 minutes from The Loop
County Line is in Hobart Indiana, but it’s only an hour away (even less when traffic isn’t bad, which is never). Along with apple and pumpkin picking, this orchard also has Bee Yurts - and for $2 you can tour the hives that pollinate the apple trees, and thank them for their service. You can also listen to live music while sitting on hay bales, ride a tractor out to the orchard, and get fresh-baked bread and cider donuts.
Barrington, Il - 50 minutes from The Loop
We’re big fans of the apple cider donuts at Goebert’s in Barrington. And while they’re delicious enough to drive an hour for, that’s not the only reason to spend your Saturday here. This place also has a corn maze, pig races (they compete to win a donut) and a haunted house that’s supposedly designed for children, but we’re not taking any chances. Oh, and the bakery also has pumpkin cookies and all sorts of pies. Check out their site for a full list of activities.
Kuipers Family Farm
Maple Park, Il - 70 minutes from The Loop
Kuipers in Maple Park has opened their Pumpkin Farm for the season. So from now until October 31st you can do things like pick pumpkins (naturally), along with tons of other activities like wandering around a corn maze, taking a haunted forest tour, riding a little tractor train, petting animals, buying fall decorations at their gift shop, and hanging out in something they call the “Back 40 Playground”. Tickets are $15, includes a pumpkin, and you can buy them here.
Oswego, Il - 60 minutes from The Loop
Keller’s Farmstand in Oswego has apple picking and pumpkin picking, plus a little shop where you can purchase various other winter squash along with fresh fudge, kettle corn, and apple cider donuts. They also have a Little Mermaid-themed corn maze, animal barn, and hayrides. A trip here puts you one gourd away from a pile of dried leaves becoming your preferred sleep system. See their website for more info.
Apple Holler Family Fun
Sturtevant, WI - 70 minutes from The Loop
Will you go all the way to Wisconsin for autumnal fun? Sure, why not - Apple Holler is only a little over an hour away. This orchard plays all the hits - apple picking, cute goats you can feed, and the ubiquitous corn maze. They also have The Red Barn Cafe, where you can grab things like apple dumplings, cider donuts, and brats. Plus, you can reserve a private horse-drawn carriage ride along the farm, complete with a campfire and fixings for s’mores and either hot chocolate or hot apple cider. And according to our research, that’s the most wholesome date you are ever going to go on. Visit their site to make reservations.
Honey Hill Orchard
Waterman, Il - 90 minutes from The Loop
At 90 minutes west of Chicago, this orchard in Waterman is further away than the other spots on this list. But go ahead and bond with your significant other on a trip through the countryside - even one that’s mainly interstate and toll roads. Honey Hill has apple picking, treats like donuts, fresh-baked pies, cider, caramel apples, and honey. There’s a charming 1880’s barn where you can shop for gifts, and they offer wagon rides out to the pumpkin patch and orchard. Check their harvest schedule to see what apple varieties are available.
Jojo's Shake Bar
Are you looking for photogenic fall sh*t to do but don’t want to drive all the way out to an apple orchard? Good news, JoJo’s Pumpkin Patch is back in River North. It takes place on their 5,000 sq. ft. patio, has over 600 pumpkins, a 1954 Red Ford Truck, hay bales, and a metal bathtub filled with corn. They will also have boozy hot chocolate and ridiculous dessert like the Pumpkin shake which comes with (wait for it) a slice of pumpkin pie, Reese’s Pieces pretzel, roasted marshmallow, and a Taffy Apple.
Island Party Hut
The whole river walk is having a fall festival from now until October 31st, and you can see the line up of free and ticketed events here. And Island Party Hut is hosting pumpkin carving, live music, games, and a hayride on the river, which we’re advocating as the premise for Jeepers Creepers 5. Tickets cost $10, and you can get them here.
13th Floor Haunted House
While the past 18 months have frequently felt like a collective trip through a very long haunted house, maybe your appetite for terror can’t be sated. So we have a couple haunted houses that are opening in Chicagoland this week. The first one is 13th Floor Chicago, which has a new location this year in Schiller Park. It will start on September 24th, and will also feature a carnival midway, food, and drinks. Tickets and more information are available on their website.
Joliet Haunted Prison
The second haunted house to know about is the Old Joliet Haunted Prison, which is opening on the 25th for Halloween season. And yes, it is literally a haunted house in an abandoned prison in Joliet. You can buy tickets and get more info here.
Campfire Horrors is a free outdoor movie series in Northerly Park that features classic spooky films like Hocus Pocus and The Birds. They have marshmallow roasting supplies and fire pits available, and films start every Friday (and some Saturdays) at 7pm throughout the month. Head to the website for a full list of movies.