Chicago events calendar for September 2016. Best festivals, fun things to do, free kids activities, street fairs, and Labor Day weekend events in Chicago, Illinois.

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Best events for 12 months
September 2016
September 2016

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do with this calendar of events.

Mileage is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Black film festival

September 1, 2016

0.5 miles SW

Black Harvest Film Festival celebrates the stories, images, heritage, and history of the black experience with dozens of films at Gene Siskel Film Center.

Jazz festival

September 1 - 4, 2016

0.5 miles south

The Chicago Jazz Festival is Labor Day weekend at Millennium Park. No dogs. Free.

Fringe theater festival

September 1 - 11, 2016 (begins Aug. 31)

10 miles NW

See 50 weird and wonderful shows by local theater groups at Chicago Fringe Festival in Jefferson Park.

Ravinia music festival

September 1 - 17, 2016 (begins June 2)

23 miles north

See nationally known performers at Ravinia Festival, billed as America’s oldest outdoor music festival at Ravinia Park in Highland Park.

Movies in the Parks

September 1 - 23, 2016 (begins June 11)

Chicago locations

See 250 Movies in the Parks, if weather allows. Free.

Comedy night

September 2, 2016 (5 p.m.)

32.4 miles SW

Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival features nationally known comedians at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.

North Coast Music Festival

September 2 - 4, 2016

2 miles west

North Coast Music Festival is an all-ages music fest that ranges from hip-hop to electronic to indie rock in Union Park on Labor Day weekend.

African festival

September 2 - 5, 2016

7 miles south

African Festival of the Arts celebrates African art, crafts, drumming, food, and entertainment at a festival Labor Day weekend in Washington Park.

Polish festival

September 2 - 5, 2016

10 miles NW

Taste of Polonia has 37 bands, 50 vendors, 12 food booths (polska kielbasa, potato pancakes, pierogi, and beer) Labor Day weekend in Jefferson Park.

Naperville festival

September 2 - 5, 2016

34 miles west

Naperville Last Fling is a family event with a parade, carnival rides, children’s area, music stages, and food vendors Labor Day weekend at Naperville’s Riverwalk Park.

Yoga festival

September 2 - 5, 2016

76 miles west

Sukhava Bodhe Yoga & Music Festival includes yoga classes, music, drumming, chanting, meditation, camping, and fireside ceremonies at Stonehouse Farm in Paw Paw.

Festival in Schaumburg

September 3 - 5, 2016

33 miles NW

Septemberfest includes an arts & crafts show, a carnival, lots of live music, the Taste of Schaumburg (Sat. & Sun.), and fireworks (Sun. 10 p.m.) at Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center. No pets. Free.

Renaissance fair

September 3 - 5, 2016 (begins July 9)

49 miles north

Watch knights joust, shop an artisan market, mingle with costumed minstrels, play games, and attend shows at Bristol Renaissance Faire in 16th century England (i.e. Kenosha, WI).

Circus in the park

September 3 - Oct. 16, 2016 (begins Aug. 27)

Chicago locations

Midnight Circus in the Parks is a series of daytime shows on weekends at eight parks, which is perfect for families.

Free science museum

September 6 - 30, 2016 (weekdays only)

8 miles south

Show Illinois ID to enter the Museum of Science and Industry free during Free Days. Repeats in January.

Country fair

September 7 - 11, 2016

62 miles SW

Head to the Sandwich Fair for carnival games, fair food, grandstand shows, and farm animals.

Jazz at the aquarium

September 7 & 14, 2016 (begins June 22)

2 miles south

Hear musicians and vocalists, see views from the terrace, buy cocktails & food, and visit the aquarium at Jazzin’ at the Shedd at Shedd Aquarium.

Adult zoo night

September 8, 2016 (6:30 to 10 p.m.)

2.5 miles north

Leave the kids at home and head to Adults Night Out at Lincoln Park Zoo to experience unique animal chats and live entertainment if you are age 18+. (Cash bars are available for age 21+.)

Opera in the park

September 9, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

0.5 mile south

Spectacular singing and orchestral music await you at Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park, which invites you to pack a picnic basket. Free.

Wine festival

September 9 - 10, 2016

1 mile south

Sample more than 300 wines at the outdoor Windy City Wine Festival near Buckingham Fountain.

Festival of Lebanon

September 9 - 10, 2016

24 miles west

Enjoy Lebanese food, drinks, dessert, music, folk dancing, belly dancing, and kids’ activities at the Lebanese Food Festival at Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Lombard. Donation.

Hip-hop music festival

September 9 - 11, 2016

3.6 miles SW

Hip-Hop Summerfest has 125 acts of hip hop, R&B, comedy, and fashion on multiple stages near UIC campus at Addams/Medill Park, with a dozen food vendors. No pets. Children age 5 and younger are free.

German festival & parade

September 9 - 11, 2016

7 miles north

Chicago German-American Fest has German music, culture, beer, and food at Lincoln Square. The Von Steuben Parade starts 2 p.m. Sat. at 4000 N Lincoln Ave. Free.

Mexican independence festival

September 9 - 11, 2016

9 miles SW

Thousands attend Festival de La Villita for authentic Mexican cuisine, music, artisans, carnival rides, and family entertainment at 2700 W 26th Street. Free except the music concert on Sunday.

Northwest neighborhood festival

September 9 - 11, 2016

11.8 miles NW

Hear retro tunes at the first Throwback Music Festival, which includes craft beer tastings, arts & crafts, and kids’ activities in Gladstone Park at Milwaukee & Peterson Avenues. Donation.

World Music Festival

September 9 - 25, 2016

Chicago locations

World Music Festival Chicago features artists and ensembles from all over the world. Free.

Urban adventure race

September 10, 2016 (noon)

Downtown Chicago

XPLORE Chicago is a 5K race to solve clues and complete challenges as you travel around the city.

Family festival

September 10, 2016

11 miles south

The 79th Street Renaissance Festival in Auburn Gresham is a community festival with entertainment, food vendors, a marketplace, and a large kids’ corner on 79th Street (Racine to Loomis). Free.

Forest Park Ribfest

September 10, 2016 (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.)

11 miles west

Eat, hear live music, and enjoy children’s activities at Ribfest at 7824 Madison Street, Forest Park. Free.

Beer & wine tasting

September 10, 2016 (3 to 6:30 p.m.)

12 miles NW

Taste up to 50 beers or wines with hors d’oeuvres, pretzels, veggies, cheese, and crackers at Stems and Steins at Norwood Park Historical Society, age 21+.

Hungarian festival

September 10, 2016

15 miles NW

Eat traditional dishes like goulash, hear folk music, watch dancers, play games, and see films about Hungary at Taste of Hungary in Norridge.

Waukegan air show

September 10, 2016 (noon)

41 miles north

See planes on the ground and in the air at Wings over Waukegan. No pets. Wear sunscreen.

Mexican parades

September 10 - 11, 2016

Chicago locations

Celebrate Mexico’s separation from Spain at these Mexican Independence Day parades, with colorful floats, mariachi bands, and street dancing. Free.

Craft fair

September 10 - 11, 2016

3.5 miles NW

Shop from independent artisans and chefs at the Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park. Free.

Lakeview East art festival

September 10 - 11, 2016 (concerts Sept. 9)

4 miles north

Meet 150 juried artists selling paintings, sculpture, photography, furniture, and jewelry at Lakeview East Festival of the Arts on Broadway Avenue (Belmont to Hawthorne). Donation.

Ravenswood Art Walk

September 10 - 11, 2016

7 miles north

Visit 150 artists in tents and shops along Ravenswood Avenue during Ravenswood ArtWalk. Donation.

Women’s expo

September 10 - 11, 2016

17 miles NW

Hear celebrity speakers, watch chef demos, and shop from 600 vendors of beauty and health products at the Chicago Ultimate Women’s Expo [sound] in the Rosemont convention center.

Revolutionary War

September 10 - 11, 2016

27 miles west

Get a feel for camp life, experience a battle, and enjoy colonial sights and sounds at the Revolutionary War Reenactment at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. Free except parking.

Naperville film festival

September 10 - 17, 2016

30 miles SW

The Naperville Independent Film Festival shows 60+ films, gives out awards, and offers filmmakers advice on lighting, writing and directing.

Dog films

September 11, 2016 (11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.)

6 miles north

The Dog Film Festival features films about the bond between dogs and humans at Music Box Theatre.

Race at the zoo

September 11, 2016 (8:30 a.m.)

14 miles SW

Run or walk past animals on a 5K entirely within Brookfield Zoo by joining the ZooRunRun.

Scandinavian festival

September 11, 2016

41 miles NW

Enjoy food, crafts, and entertainment from Northern Europe at Scandinavian Day Festival in South Elgin.

Short film winners

September 11 - 15, 2016

6 miles north

See the winning films from Chicago 48 Hour Film Project, which locals made in only two days, at Music Box Theatre.

Oktoberfest in Glendale Heights

September 15 - 25, 2016

32 miles west

Glendale Heights Oktoberfest offers good music, a great beer selection, German food, and friendly service at Camera Park in Glendale Heights.

Oak Park “Oaktoberfest”

September 16 - 17, 2016

9 miles west

Enjoy music, craft beer, wine, pulled pork sandwiches, corn on the cob, bratwurst, and a kids’ root beer garden at Oaktoberfest in Oak Park. Free entry.

Rock festival

September 16 - 18, 2016

7 miles SW

Riot Fest is a huge outdoor punk, rock and alternative music festival plus carnival at Douglas Park.

Patriotic bar crawl

September 17, 2016 (afternoon)

1.3 miles north

Wear red, white, and blue to the All Star Bar Crawl for drink and food specials at seven Gold Coast bars, beginning at She-nannigans.

Englewood Jazz Festival

September 17, 2016 (12 to 6 p.m.)

11 miles south

Englewood Jazz Festival features six performances plus awards at Hamilton Park Cultural Center. Free.

Small art fair

September 17, 2016

16 miles NW

Fall Arts & Crafts Adventure is a friendly juried show at Hodges Park in Park Ridge. Repeats in May. Free.

Suburban Oktoberfest

September 17, 2016

20 miles north

St. Joseph Oktoberfest has a free antiques market 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., a free family festival with games 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a German dinner & beer garden with music (age 21+) 6 to 9:30 p.m. in Wilmette.

Art fair in West Loop

September 17 - 18, 2016

1.5 miles west

West Loop Art Fest features 150 juried artists, live music, and food for sale on Washington Boulevard from Aberdeen to Halsted. Free.

Taco festival

September 17 - 18, 2016

5 miles north

Try tacos from a dozen restaurants and vote for the best, taste beer, hear live music on two stages, visit the kids’ area, and see arts and crafts at Lakeview Taco Fest on Southport Avenue. Donation.

Locally made festival

September 17 - 18, 2016

8 miles north

Andersonville City Made Fest features local artists, brewers, businesses, and musicians on N Clark Street from Argyle to Carmen. Donation.

Indian pow wow

September 17 - 18, 2016

25 miles NW

The American Indian Center of Chicago Powwow features song and dance, arts and crafts vendors, native foods, and archery at Busse Woods Forest Preserve in Elk Grove Village.

Naperville art fair

September 17 - 18, 2016

32 miles west

Riverwalk Fine Art Fair is a juried fair with 130 artists at a scenic park in downtown Naperville. Free.

Yoga festival

September 17 - 18, 2016

41.5 miles SW

Soul Love Fest is a yoga and meditation retreat with 100 workshops, classes, outdoor activities, and vendors at Arranmore Polo Club in Oswego.

Halloween farm

September 17 - Oct. 30, 2016

32 miles SW

The Haunted Barn at Bengtson’s Pumpkin Fest in Homer Glen is fine for mature kids. The Fun Barn will entertain even the youngest children. Also visit the corn maze, kids’ rides, and petting zoo.

Butterfly festival

September 18, 2016 (11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

22 miles SW

The Monarch Butterfly Festival has a butterfly tent, hayrides, games, kids’ crafts, canoe rentals, and food vendors at Lake Katherine Nature Center in Palos Heights.

Art for seniors

September 21, 2016 (9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)

1 mile south

Reflections offers lectures, demonstrations, and free entry to the Art Institute of Chicago at 159 E. Monroe Street. Register for lunch.

Spirits tasting

September 21, 2016 (6:30 p.m., VIP 5)

1.2 miles south

Sample handcrafted spirits and meet the distillers at Chicago Indie Spirits Expo at Hilton Chicago.

Fall beer tasting

September 22, 2016 (5 to 9 p.m.)

5.4 miles north

A ticket to Oktoberfest & Pumpkin Beer Festival gets you 20 tastes from among 50 options at Delilah’s.

Gay film festival

September 22 - 29, 2016

Chicago locations

Reeling is Chicago’s LGBT International Film Festival.

Hamburger party

September 23, 2016 (6 to 9 p.m.)

0.5 miles south

Eat gourmet burgers with beer, wine, and spirits when top chefs compete at Hamburger Hop ($141) on the roof of Harris Theater. Also a 9 p.m. after party ($57).

Chicago Gourmet

September 23 - 25, 2016

0.5 mile south

Chicago Gourmet is a premium food and wine event with 100 chefs, cooking demonstrations, beer and food pavilions, and wine tastings in Millennium Park.

Art exposition

September 23 - 25, 2016 (preview Sept. 22)

1 mile east

The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art (Expo Chgo) has museum-quality curated art and design by 140 exhibitors at Navy Pier.

St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

September 23 - 25, 2016

6 miles NW

Enjoy beer, bratwurst, pretzels, live music, arts & crafts, and a weekend-afternoon kids’ fest at Oktoberfest Chicago on N Lincoln Ave. at Southport. Ticketed craft beer tasting Friday and Saturday night.

Craft expo

September 23 - 25, 2016 (party Sept. 22)

24 miles north

See 164 artisans exhibiting one-of-a-kind museum quality work at American Craft Exposition at Chicago Botanic Garden.

Aurora haunted house

September 23 - Oct. 31, 2016

38 miles west

A ticket to Basement of the Dead also includes the Shattered 3D Nightmare flashlight haunt. See schedule.

Morton Grove haunted house

September 23 - Nov. 5, 2016

14 miles NW

House of Torment has two themes at 8240 N. Austin Ave. in Morton Grove.

Free museum day

September 24, 2016


Get a free ticket for two people to visit one of 30 Illinois museums on Museum Day Live.

Taco tasting

September 24, 2016 (8 to 11 p.m.)

0.5 miles south

Taste tacos with tequila cocktails and beer at The Tao of Tacos on the rooftop of Harris Theater for $107.

Hispanic family festival

September 24, 2016 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

2.5 miles north

Fiesta Familiar features live music, dance, and family-focused activity stations for art, health, gardening, and science at Lincoln Park Zoo. Free.

Dutch festival

September 24, 2016

24 miles SW

The Elim Dutch Festival features Dutch food, dance, music, and vendors, plus a kids’ carnival, petting zoo, magic show, and face painting at Elim Christian Services in Palos Heights. Free entry.

Lisle Ale Fest

September 24, 2016

27 miles west

Lisle Ale Fest features 80 craft beers (Oktoberfest, seasonal, etc.), local food, and live music in Lisle.

Edgewater art fair

September 24 - 25, 2016

8 miles north

Edgewater Arts Festival (formerly Edgewater Fall Art Fair) features 120 local artists, 3 stages of live music, a beer garden, fashion show, kids’ corner, and pet parade on Granville Ave. (Broadway to Sheridan). Donation.

Hyde Park art fair

September 24 - 25, 2016

8 miles south

Meet friendly artists at the juried Hyde Park Arts & Crafts Adventure in the courtyard of University of Chicago’s Hyde Park Shopping Center. Free.

Hyde Park jazz

September 24 - 25, 2016

8 miles south

Hear 30 jazz performances by top artists indoors and outdoors at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Donation.

Classical music at the conservatory

September 25, 2016 (11 a.m.)

5 miles west

Hear a symphony, wander the gardens, and enjoy Viennese pastries, coffee, and wine at Music Under Glass: Viennese Café at Garfield Park Conservatory.

Half marathon & 5K

September 25, 2016

9 miles south

The Chicago Half Marathon begins at Jackson Park and goes along the scenic lakeshore. Free to watch.

Tour historic homes

September 25, 2016 (12 to 5 p.m.)

11.2 miles west

Walk, bike, or drive between houses on Historic Berwyn’s Bungalow Tour to hear about their history.

Run on the runway

September 25, 2016 (8 a.m.)

17 miles NW

Run a 5K race on an actual runway with views of airplanes around you at O’Hare 5K, followed by an after party.

Fall Dinner Crawl

September 27, 2016 (6 to 9 p.m.)

4 miles NW

Buy tickets for 1 of 2 routes, and then get samples from restaurants along the way during Fall Dinner Crawl in Wicker Park and Bucktown.

Joliet haunted house

September 29 - Oct. 31, 2016

38 miles SW

Take a 40-minute trip through 40 terrifying rooms and play Zombie Paintball at Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead [sound] in Crest Hill. See schedule.

Oyster festival

September 30, 2016 (3 to 10 p.m.)

0.1 miles north

Shaw’s Oyster Fest offers fresh oysters, seafood, and music in a downtown parking lot at Hubbard & Rush.

Art fair indoors

September 30 - Oct. 1, 2016

2.5 miles west

West Town Art Walk includes visual art, music, and fashion in restaurants and shops near Chicago Avenue & Ashland Avenue. Free.

Oktoberfest in Naperville

September 30 - Oct. 1, 2016

32 miles SW

Enjoy live music from classic German to classic rock, German beer and food, and family-friendly activities on Saturday at Oktoberfest.

Neighborhood Oktoberfest

September 30 - Oct. 2, 2016

8 miles NW

St. Benedict’s Oktoberfest features German food, beer, and party bands under tents in St. Benedict’s Courtyard, plus a kids’ carnival. Free entry.

Odd bike show

September 30 - Oct. 2, 2016

30.3 miles SW

See recumbent, folding, tandem, and even electric bicycles and test ride them (age 16+ with a helmet) at Chicagoland Unconventional Bicycle Expo, which also includes seminars at Tinley Park Convention Center.

Intense haunted house

September 30 - Oct. 31, 2016

45 miles NW

The Realm of Terror Horror Experience is halfway to Milwaukee in Round Lake Beach. Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday plus Oct. 27 & 31.

Haunted house at Rosemont

September 30 - Nov. 5, 2016

14 miles NW

Disturbia: Screams in the Park is a 35-room nightmare at MB Financial Park at Rosemont. See schedule.
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© September 2016 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois. ord-09