Labor Day 2020 has passed but unfortunately the Coronavirus hasn’t. However that doesn’t mean we have to miss this year’s good old fall fun. Located west of Chicago sits the suburb of Oak Park, known for its Fall Fest and other autumn festivities that attract festival seekers throughout the area. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 many events that attract large crowds have been cancelled. Here are a few alternative things to do in Oak Park this fall.

1. Oktoberfest

To start the fall season off with fun, the Village of Oak Park’s Park District will host Oktoberfest. It begins September 15th from 7-9pm at the Cheney Mansion Living Room. The event may be much smaller in scale to the Fall Fest, but it still aims to achieve a safe, fun and interesting evening for beer and culture lovers alike. Modeled after its German heritage, this event seeks to educate the public on the renowned folk festival that originated in Bavaria and has now become a popular fall festival that has spread around the world. Participates will learn about Bavarian beer making, German folk music and fall customs of the Bavarian people. To register, visit the Oak Park Oktoberfest webpage.

2. Visit the Pleasant Home

The Pleasant Home in Oak Park ILThe Pleasant Home exemplifies one of the most distinguished forms of Prairie School Architecture in the country. Currently operating as a museum, this beautiful venue offers Oak Park residents a place for community events, educational activities, festivals, and art and culture entertainment. Built in 1897 by renowned architect George W. Maher, the home was originally for banker and philanthropist John W. Farson. Listed on the National register of Historic Places since 1972 and made a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1996. This 30-room architectural beauty makes for a great fall outing on a brisk day. To learn more about the museum and to view its schedule of events visit its website here.

3. Fright at Night

Yes, its back again this fall among things to do in Oak Park, but be prepared to wear your mask. Due to entry and capacity restrictions at the Oak Park Conservatory, this even has managed to survive the COVID-19 cancellations. Fright at Night has been a fall favorite festivity in Oak Park for over eight years, and its back for its ninth. Venture through the park districts outdoor botanical Forbidden Forest on the 16th of October from 6 to 9 p.m. Kids of all ages can join in scavenger hunts through the haunted forest and enjoy other Halloween activities and entertainment. Buy your tickets in advance, as they tend to sell out before the event.

4. Oak Park Craft Beer Tour

Another one of Oak Park’s popular activities is the Oak Park Craft Beer Tour. With the weather cooling, this walking tour offers a great way to check out Oak Park’s downtown and its growing food and beverage scene. The city is quickly becoming a destination for craft beer lovers, and is now home to four breweries all specializing in their own unique pours.

Located on 3514 Broadway Avenue, Oak Park Brewing Company is known for its huge patio area and weekend brunches. With a southern inspired menu, it also offers cocktails and wine. If it’s a delicious fall lager you’re after, you’ll be happy to stop at Kinslahger Brewing, located on 6806 Roosevelt Rd., for their popular brews. Further along the tour, participates will enjoy Oak Park’s 100-year old former theater for some great ales at the Wild Onion Tied House. And finally, the most recent addition to the scene boasting rave reviews and a sleek rooftop terrace is One Lake Brewing. These are all great locations to enjoy a relaxing evening or a fun beer tour.

For more information regarding this autumn’s activities, download Oak Park Autumn 2020 program guide.


“John Farson House (Pleasant Home)” by Fifth World Design is licensed under CC BY 2.0