Fall at the Chicago Botanic Garden is full of events and programs to complement the changing leaves and cooler weather.
American Dahlia Society National Show – Saturday, September 9 (noon- 5 p.m.), and Sunday, September 10 (10 a.m.- 5 p.m.)
Hundreds of dahlia blooms ranging in size from a silver dollar to a dinner plate will be judged and on display, with floral designs and photography completing the show. Dahlias are known for their bright, vibrant colors and perfect petal arrangements. Society members will be on hand to provide written information and to answer questions about dahlias.
Harvest Weekend – Saturday, September 23, and Sunday, September 24 (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
Learn how to harvest, preserve, and store your homegrown produce or Farmers’ Market bounty during Harvest Weekend. Join us at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden for “how-to” demonstrations, shopping from local vendors, hands-on activities for kids and families, Garden Chef Series presentations, a cookbook swap, and more.
Fall Bulb Festival – Friday, October 6, Saturday, October 7, and Sunday, October 8 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.); Members-only bulb shopping, Friday, October 6, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Listen to live music, shop the harvest market and make your way through a hay bale maze at a festival welcoming fall. More than 20 local vendors will be on-site selling pottery, baked goods, honey and more. A members-only bulb shopping sale will be held on Friday. And don’t miss the chance to take a selfie with the colorful gourd mountain.
Autumn Brews: Seasonal Beer Tasting in the Garden – Thursday, October 12 (6-8 p.m.)
While Oktoberfest celebrations happen throughout Europe, the Garden will celebrate with Autumn Brews, an evening tasting of seasonally selected beers. Check in to receive a wristband, tasting glass and tasting sheet. Breweries will pour a few different beers in 2-ounce tastings. Light fare and featured beer by the bottle will also be available for purchase.
Trains, Tricks & Treats – Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Families are invited to come in costume and trick-or-treat throughout the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America to celebrate Halloween and the end of the railroad's season. The Model Railroad Garden will be decorated with spider webs, spiders, ghosts, goblins and pumpkins, as well as seasonal plant materials. Visitors will see figurines of trick-or-treaters on Main Street, bats and crawly creatures, a graveyard, and more, all tucked among miniature scenes of America's best-loved landmarks and beautiful gardens planted to scale. An array of small treats and treasures can be picked up throughout the Model Railroad Garden. Children will have the opportunity to pot up a Halloween plant.
Spooky Pooch Parade – Saturday, October 21 (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
Find a festive outfit for Fido and take a walk around the Garden. Costumed canines march in their own parade route and compete for special awards. It’s the only time of the year that dogs are allowed in the Garden. Tickets are available online, which is the best bet if you want to take part – this event sells out every year.
Roadside Flower Sale – Friday, October 27 to Sunday, October 29 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.); Workshops held Monday, October 23 (1 – 3 p.m.), Tuesday, October 24 and Wednesday, October 25 (9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 1 – 3 p.m.)
Shop for one-of-a-kind, handmade products at this annual sale of natural plant and dried floral arrangements and more. Garden volunteers create the arrangements, along with wreaths, bouquets, wall hangings, stationery cards and more. You can also learn more about flower arranging at several workshops held before the sale.
Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns – Thursday, October 26, to Sunday, October 29 (6:30 – 10 p.m.)
More than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins line the paths of the Garden in a special evening event. Different themes, from Dia de los Muertos to Chicago sports, glow on the pumpkins, some of which are as large as 150 pounds. With spooky music and costumed characters, it’s a great way to celebrate Halloween early. This event sold out last year, so visitors are encouraged to buy their tickets early online.
Fine Art of Fiber – Thursday, November 2 (6:30 – 9 p.m., special opening night with early buying privileges); Friday, November 3, to Sunday, November 5 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Quilts, knitted artwear, weavings and beadwork are on stunning display in this show of handcrafted items. At the largest show of its kind in the Chicago area, visitors will be able to see more than 150 pieces, with the opportunity to buy your favorites. A fashion show will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday of the show.