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Autumn in Chicago & Scottsdale

Chicago and Scottsdale both provide endless activities and events throughout the year, but autumn is when the allure of both cities emerges more than ever. From Oktoberfest in Lakeview to a hike in the Sonoran Mountains, here are a few of the many activities you can discover throughout Chicago and Scottsdale this autumn: 

Chicago

Throughout the city, there are many locations to admire the vibrant autumn leaves as they change, and the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is one. Across their more than 385 acres of land, they provide their fall-color tree walk and host the Night of 1,000 Pumpkins event in October.  

Another way to enjoy the cool autumn weather in Chicago is by visiting the nostalgic ChiTown Movies Outdoor Theater. Nearly every night, they showcase blockbusters, classics and every genre in between in the Pilsen neighborhood. For anyone looking to stay indoors, you can catch Broadway shows like Wicked and Anastasia downtown or enjoy cutting-edge shows in the Belmont Theater District, in the neighborhood of Optima Lakeview.  

The Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden

Autumn also brings an array of local festivals that reside throughout almost every neighborhood of the city. Two of the most popular events include Lakeview’s entertainment-filled Oktoberfest held on September 23-25, and Lincoln Square’s Apple Fest the first weekend of October. 

Scottsdale 

There’s no better way to enjoy the Sonoran desert and its autumn weather than seeing it up close! McDowell’s Sonoran Preserve, less than a 15-minute drive from Optima Kierland and 30-minute drive from Optima Sonoran Village, is the perfect desert habitat for both bikers and hikers, thanks to its more than 225 miles of scenic trails. Pinnacle Peak Park, a little farther North, provides even more panoramic views of the Sonoran Desert. 

McDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch is a popular spot for anyone looking for classic, seasonal entertainment. Not only are they known for their bright pumpkin patch, but they also have a petting zoo, hay-bale maze, and various lawn games throughout October. 

The Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival in Scottsdale
The Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival in Scottsdale

The season also brings various themed festivals to Scottsdale. One of the most enjoyed is the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival, where visitors can discover both unique artworks and new blends of wine. In October, the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale fill their grounds with a display of graphic hot air balloons accompanied by live music, delicious food and costumed guests for its Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival

The autumn months don’t last long. So before time runs out, take advantage of all the fascinating seasonal opportunities found throughout Chicago and Scottsdale!

Exploring Optima Communities: Chicago Riverwalk

Of all the things Chicago has to offer, its proximity to Lake Michigan is one of the perks that sets the city apart. At Optima Signature, our community enjoys sweeping views of the river that winds through Chicago, and access to the bustling riverwalk just steps away. Enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, the Chicago Riverwalk is a unique part of the downtown community, and one that offers the perfect taste of the city.

The idea of a Riverwalk was actually first introduced in Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago; however, it took until 2001 for the project to truly take shape. During Wacker Drive’s reconstruction, the work included a way for Chicago’s Lakefront Trail to connect to sidewalks along the river. The project was completed in sections over the years, expanding to include terraced lawns, wider walkways, seating and a pedestrian-friendly space for people to enjoy the riverfront.

Kayaks on the Chicago River

In 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled plans for an addition to the Riverwalk, extending it another six blocks. The new section included six distinct spaces or ‘rooms’, with restaurants and outdoor seating, fountains, piers and access for boats. If you’re looking to set sail on one of Chicago’s many architecture tours by boat, the Riverwalk will be your starting point. For those who are feeling adventurous, urban kayaks are available for rental. The Riverwalk is also home to Art on the Mart, a spectacular light show on the Merchandise Mart which is best viewed from the Riverwalk’s streets. 

The Chicago Riverwalk covers 1.25 miles through the heart of Chicago, and is a wonderful, immersive way to experience the city’s waterfront, architecture, culture and energy. With the weather warming up for spring, it’s worth a visit for a daytime walk or nighttime stroll.

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Glencoe, IL





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