50 Thoughts: Fall in my Favorite Chicago

Originally published August 29, 2018

No lie, I’ve always been a summer girl.

I grew up and have always resided somewhere in the Midwest. Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. Now that you know this, you’ll understand why winter doesn’t even place a distant fourth. It’s Summer, Fall, Spring and that twilight period between summer and fall when old fashion rules dictate you shouldn’t wear white, but the thermometer says otherwise.

Which is what we are on the cusp of now. The sunset of summer and sunrise of sweaters and neighborhood Oktoberfests.

If you are a four seasons kind of person, Chicago is a tremendous place to live. Each subsection of the calendar, each moon phase, offers both natural and manmade wonders. Come fall? City and suburban dwellers can comfortably escape the AC for the outdoors (Color walks! Food fests! Everyone on the beach has their pants on!), and beach bums who are cold when it’s 73 degrees can comfortably head indoors and enjoy all that museums and Broadway in Chicago has to offer.

Something for EVERYONE.

There are two things in particular that stand out for me this season. One, the abundance of quality sports action all at once. From the Cubs and Sox to the Bears and the Hawks, the Chicago Fire and the Bulls, it’s a sports fan nirvana. And there’s more! Northwestern University’s Ryan Field is a classic college football experience. Regardless of their place in the standings, which usually isn’t too bad, it’s a great place to catch some of the best teams in the nation. (Psst .. Notre Dame is coming to town this fall.)

I am often teased for having multiple alliances, which yeah, I do — but like books, sports is drama, in this case playing out in front of you. My mood is often in sync with the Cubs in the standings, and if the Bears ever get it together, I might start watching with both eyes open.

As I fall toward 50, one of the things I think I have enjoyed about these first few decades is the camaraderie and the joy in loving a sports team maybe more than breathing. I think it brings people together more than it tears them apart and it’s a respite from the BS that is everything else in the news. Who doesn’t need a break from that?

My second favorite thing about Chicago in the fall? The Renegade Craft Fair. The fall show is the bomb. It’s in Wicker Park. It’s outdoors, in usually decent weather. Its huge. And it’s still a little quirky. Sure, it’s been skewing a little trendy these last few years, and if you don’t get there early it’s crowds three deep, dogs, and doublewide strollers, but I just love the craft beer Etsy vibe. And it’s so much more manageable than the winter/holiday fair where you have to hold your breath and suck in your gut to squeeze through an aisle.

I’ve always loved art and craft fairs, which is in sync with my creative side. I may not be able to DIY a pot holder from bicycle chains and tire rubber, but I can totally get behind the effort.

If you are in town this season, you are in for a treat. Embrace fall and enjoy the city before it settles in to its Midwestern winter’s nap.

Today’s recommendation: If I were to offer up a Chicago favorite, I’d have to go with The Time Traveler’s Wife. I know, I know — Devil in the White City is also a local fave, but I’m a romantic. Sue me.

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