Fall Activities in the Midwest

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See The leaves change

In September and October, the leaves put on a spectacular show as they change color from green to red, yellow, orange, and magenta. Grab a friend and go on one of these scenic routes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, or Nebraska.

Get a taste of Madison, Wisconsin

While you’re in Wisconsin, eat boiled or grilled corn on the cob, buttered and sprinkled with salt. Find the sweetest fresh corn at the Dane County Farmer's Market, and pick up some cheese curds while you’re at it. See what Madison’s chefs can make of the fall harvest at farm-to-table restaurants.

See American bison

At Custer State Park in South Dakota, you can hike through prairies, hills, and spectacular scenery. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including bighorn sheep, elk, bison, and antelope. At the park’s Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival in September, watch cowboys and cowgirls heard the park’s 1,300 bison.

Go apple picking

Under a blue sky in golden fall sunlight, pluck an apple from a tree and crunch right into it – sweet, sour, and delicious. Find a pick-your-own apple orchard near you.

Eat apple pie

Apple pie is always a treat, but it’s best when the apples are in season. Watch this video to see how this iconic American dessert is made. Try making one yourself, or order a slice from a restaurant or bakery. If anyone asks, go for it à la mode (that’s with ice cream on top).

Give thanks on Thanksgiving

On November 26, gather with friends at a home or restaurant, express your thanks for what’s good in life, and eat a fabulous meal together. The traditional American Thanksgiving feast includes roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and pumpkin pie. Make reservations at a restaurant near you at Open Table.

Go shopping on Black Friday

The last Friday in November, the day after Thanksgiving, is called Black Friday nationwide. Many stores, like those at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago and the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, offer the cheapest prices of the year. Some even open at midnight on Thanksgiving! Call ahead for special Black Friday hours.

Go to a football game

Watch the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, or Indianapolis Colts play professional football. Get tickets to a live game if you can, or head to a local sports bar where fans watch the games on TV.

Get lost in a corn maze

The United States grows more corn than any other country in the world. In the fall, many farmers invite visitors to make their way through a corn maze, an intricate path system carved into the cornfield. It’s a little scary – perfect for Halloween season – and a lot of fun.

Go to a fall festival

You won’t believe how Midwesterners celebrate fall. At the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival, they reward the grower of the largest cabbage and eat sauerkraut brownies. At the Woollybear Festival, they predict how hard the winter will be by the thickness of a caterpillar’s stripe. Find a festival near you.

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