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 (begins Aug. 5)

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.

Movies in the Parks

September 1 - Sept. 5, 2016 (begins June 11)

Chicago locations

Watch Movies in the Parks, if weather allows. 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.

Funny musical

September 1 - Oct. 16, 2016 (begins Aug. 24)

27.8 miles north

An ambitious window washer learns how to climb the corporate ladder in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, an award-winning musical at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Discount tickets $30.

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. Discount tickets $65.

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

33 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.

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.

Chicken wings

September 3, 2016 (uncertain)

2.3 miles west

Summer WingFest offers unlimited restaurant wings, live music, outdoor games, a vendor market, craft beer, and a bar at Chicago Journeymen Plumbers.

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 the weekends at eight parks, which is perfect for families.

Rocking dinner show

September 6 - 27, 2016 (7:30 p.m. Tuesdays)

0.8 miles NW

Hear hits from the rock and roll era at Rock Baby Rock featuring a band and vocalists with optional dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. Discount tickets $20.

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.

Free foreign films

September 7 - 28, 2016 (Wednesdays from June)

0.4 miles south

See a different comedy film each week at International Screenings Program at Chicago Cultural Center. Free.

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

0.5 mile south

Spectacular singing and orchestral music await at Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park, which is preceded by an Air Force Band concert. Free.

Wine festival

September 9 - 10, 2016

1 mile south

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

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

10 miles SW

Thousands attend Festival de La Villita for authentic Mexican cuisine, music, artisans, carnival rides, and family entertainment on W 26th St. at Kostner. Free.

Northwest neighborhood festival

September 9 - 11, 2016 (begins 4 p.m. Friday)

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.

Festival of Lebanon

September 9 - 11, 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. Free entry.

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. Discount tickets $25.

Whiskey tasting

September 10, 2016 (12 to 4 p.m.)

0.7 miles west

A ticket to River North Whiskey Festival gets you 30 tastes of whiskeys, bourbons, and scotches at John Barleycorn and Moe’s Cantina.

Boat parade

September 10, 2016

1 mile east

Venetian Night is a parade of illuminated boats with Broadway musical themes set to music and followed by fireworks at Navy Pier’s south dock. Free.

Family festival

September 10, 2016

11 miles south

The Auburn Gresham 79th Street Renaissance Festival 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 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+.

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.

Ukrainian festival

September 10 - 11, 2016

3.6 miles west

Ukrainian Village Fest offers folk dance, music, food (potato pancakes, borsch, pierogies, kabobs, blintzes), beer, wine, and a kids’ area at Superior St. & Oakley.

Lakeview East art festival

September 10 - 11, 2016

4 miles north

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

Ravenswood Art Walk

September 10 - 11, 2016

7 miles north

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

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.

Mexican parades

September 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.

Take your dog to the movies

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

6 miles north

Your dog can join you at the family-friendly Dog Film Festival at Music Box Theatre, which features short films about the bond between dogs and humans. Discount tickets $11.

Race at the zoo

September 11, 2016

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 & 13, 2016

7.2 miles NW

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

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.

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.

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.

Butterfly festival

September 18, 2016

22 miles SW

The Monarch Butterfly Festival has a butterfly tent, hayrides, games, kids’ crafts, boat rentals, live animals, 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 (formerly Senior Celebrations) is lectures, demonstrations, and free entry to the Art Institute of Chicago at 159 E. Monroe St. Register for lunch.

Spirits tasting

September 21, 2016 (4:30 to 9 p.m.)

1.2 miles south

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

Gay film festival

September 22 - 29, 2016

Chicago locations

Reeling is Chicago’s LGBT International Film Festival.

Comedy dinner show

September 22 - Dec. 22, 2016

5.8 miles north

You’re invited to a fake Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding at Resurrection Church, followed by a real Italian dinner at Chicage Theater Works, with plenty of comedy improv and audience interation. Discount tickets $35.

Hamburger party

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

0.5 miles south

Eat gourmet hamburgers with beer, wine, and spirits when top chefs compete at Hamburger Hop on the rooftop of Harris Theater. Also see 9 p.m. after party.

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 120 exhibitors at Navy Pier.

St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

September 23 - 25, 2016

6 miles NW

Enjoy beer, bratwurst, pretzels, live music, arts & crafts, and weekend-afternoon kids’ fest at Oktoberfest Chicago on N Lincoln Ave. at Southport. Beer tasting Fri. and Sat. evenings. (Also see the similar Oktoberfest Sept. 16 to 18.)

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.

Free museum day

September 24, 2016

Statewide

Get a free ticket for two people to visit one of 37 Illinois museums on Museum Day Live.

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.

Edgewater art fair

September 24 - 25, 2016

8 miles north

Edgewater Arts Festival (formerly Edgewater Fall Art Fair) features 60 local artists, 3 stages of live music, a beer garden, fashion show, kids’ corner, and pet parade on Granville Ave. at Broadway. 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.

Aurora haunted house

September 24 - Oct. 31, 2016

38 miles west

Basement of the Dead offers three horrifying attractions in one place. See schedule.

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 (uncertain)

11.2 miles west

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

Fall Dinner Crawl

September 27, 2016

4 miles NW

Buy tickets for 1 of 3 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. Open Thurs. to Sun. plus Oct. 31.

Oyster festival

September 30, 2016

0.1 miles north

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

Art fair indoors

September 30 - Oct. 1, 2016

2.5 miles west

Enjoy visual art, music, and fashion in restaurants and shops during West Town Art Walk at 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.

Art, food, and music festival

September 30 - Oct. 2, 2016

13 miles north

Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival features restaurant food, live music, and an art festival, all beginning Friday at 4 p.m. Free.

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. See hours.

Shopping festival

September 2016 (undated)

Downtown Chicago

The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival has outdoor shops, exclusive offers, culinary events, and concerts on Michigan Ave., plus a women’s run in Grant Park.

NASCAR party

September 2016 (undated)

2.8 miles NW

NASCAR Chase Fest features 16 NASCAR drivers and a concert that starts at 5 p.m. on Weed Street. Free.

Mexican tasting

September 2016 (undated)

6.8 miles SW

Taste 20 samples and vote for your favorite at La Feria Del Mole at Universidad Popular on Hamlin Ave.

Englewood Jazz Festival

September 2016 (undated)

11 miles south

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

Hungarian festival

September 2016 (undated)

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.

Dog run

September 2016 (undated)

17 miles NW

Run for Rescue is a dog-friendly 5K run/walk plus a festival with picnicking, entertainment, kids’ games, and a beer garden at Linne Woods in Morton Grove.

Suburban Oktoberfest

September 2016 (undated)

20 miles north

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

Lisle Ale Fest

September 2016 (undated)

27 miles west

Lisle Ale Fest features 80 craft beers (Oktoberfest, seasonal, etc.), local food, and live music in Lisle.
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© September 2016 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.