As cool Lake Michigan winds have blown away the last vestiges of summer, NEMA Chicago residents are breaking out their favorite scarves and rediscovering the joys of a steaming mocha in the morning. Fall means a lot in the Windy City, but no Chicago autumn would be complete without a stroll beneath the turning leaves, an afternoon of apple picking, and a trip to the patch to find the best pumpkin. Keep reading for our guide to the best leaf-peeping spots in the city as well as the most convenient (and best) apple orchards and pumpkin patches open this fall.

The Downtown Chicago apartments at NEMA are located on the southwest edge of Grant Park, the vast waterfront greenspace that turns red and orange every year. Residents can enter the park simply by crossing the street and then find themselves immersed in more than 300 acres of tree-lined paths and gardens. NEMA residents seeking an even more immersive experience should take a day trip, heading northwest to LaBagh Woods, which offers picturesque fall foliage over the gently meandering North Branch of the Chicago River.

After a summer spent sheltering from COVID-19, heading to the apple orchard to pick apples in the crisp air feels like a special treat. Our pick for 2020 is Honey Hill Orchard in Waterman, Illinois, where the apple orchard stays open until October 31st. This idyllic family farm features a dozen pickable varieties of apples as well as a fully stocked country store housed in a restored 1880s apple barn. The farm is also home to a petting zoo, apple cider distillery, and apiary (you can buy their honey at the store!).

After residents’ apple cravings are satisfied, it’s time to pick a pumpkin. Just over an hour from NEMA Chicago by car, Goebbert's Pumpkin Patch is home to nonstop fall festivities all season long. The farm features traditional attractions like the massive pumpkin patch, pedal carts, and the giant pumpkin slide alongside more exotic offerings, including camels, a giraffe, and pig races. And no day in the country would be complete without a bag of hot homemade kettle corn to eat on the drive back.

One of the best aspects of NEMA Chicago is that residents don’t have to leave their Downtown Chicago rental to experience the drama of fall in the Windy City. With sweeping views looking out over Downtown, Grant Park, and Lake Michigan, the changing colors and skies are part of every home in the 76-story tower. So, head to the NEMA Chicago website to schedule a virtual tour and start your Windy City adventure today!