We’ve got popular and picturesque outdoor settings in the Champaign-Urbana area for your fall family pictures
We put our heads together to make a list of our favorite photo spots that are at their best when the leaves start turning colors in the fall.
Pumpkins: There’s something about the combination of kids and pumpkins that brings out the photographer in all of us. Several area pumpkin vendors have specific locations set up for this classic photo opportunity — think Curtis Orchard, Negangard Pumpkin Patch, or Crowley Pumpkins — but you can always wing it by assembling a few supermarket pumpkins into a group and plopping your kid in the middle.
Hessel Park, Champaign: Hessel Park has a lot of mature trees that are beautiful when they start to turn.
Helms Park, Midtown Champaign: A stone bridge. A waterfall. What more could you want (except maybe for some slightly taller trees)? This is part of what is known as the Boneyard Creek Second Street Basin, and well worth exploring for the perfect photo spot.
The University of Illinois Arboretum, Urbana: The Arboretum has some beautiful trees in the fall that look like fire in pictures, as well as a few rare hills for interest. The adjacent Japan House and Gardens is another very popular photo location, as well as the nearby Idea Garden.
Other University of Illinois locations: Fall is a gorgeous time on the University of Illinois campus. A few favorite spots: the Main Quad, the Engineering Quad, near the Krannert Center … Just stroll around until you find a view you like.
Brick Streets: Some of the brick streets in old Champaign have amazing tree colors in the fall. A much-photographed neighborhood centers around the intersection of Park Avenue and Prospect Avenue. Don’t miss the wonderful old osage orange tree a block away, anchoring Trevett-Finch Park. The State Street neighborhood in Urbana offers similarly picturesque mature trees and grand old homes.
Lake of the Woods, Mahomet: Lake of the Woods is a very popular venue for family photos. From its gazebo to its giant Adirondack chair, from its covered bridge to the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden, there’s a lovely backdrop around every corner. (Did we mention there’s a lake?) For 2020 the Forest Preserve District has set up a large “pumpkin patch” photo backdrop with pumpkins, grass, wagon wheels, and even a bench for us old folks.
Other popular fall photo locations, both with optional statues:
Meadowbrook Park, Urbana: for modern art in a prairie setting
Allerton Park, Monticello: for more classic statuary in formal gardens
Looking for a photographer to take your family photos? We have a guide for that.
Feeling inspired to view area fall foliage? We can help you find the best leaf peeper spots.
What would you add to our list? Email us with your suggestions.