Chicago events calendar for September 2015. Best festivals, fun things to do, free kids activities, street fairs, and Labor Day weekend events in Chicago, Illinois.

Best events for 12 months
Best events for 12 months
September 2015
September 2015

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.

Millennium Park movies

September 1, 2015 (begins June 23)

0.5 miles south

Get a seat or sit on the lawn to see films on a 40-foot screen at Millennium Park Summer Film Series. Free.

Black film festival

September 1 - 3, 2015 (begins Aug. 8)

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.

Noir film festival

September 1 - 3, 2015 (begins Aug. 28)

6 miles north

Noir City screens classic films that are stylish, cynical, and melodramatic at the Music Box Theatre.

Ravinia music festival

Sept. 1 - 12, 2015 (begins June 13)

23 miles north

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

Turkish fest

September 2 - 5, 2015

0.7 miles SW

Experience art, music, dance, and cuisine of Turkey at the free Chicago Turkish Festival at Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington St. Free entry.

Jazz at the aquarium

September 2 & 9, 2015 (begins June 17)

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.

Movies in the Parks

Sept. 2 - 25, 2015 (begins June 10)

Chicago locations

See 240 Movies in the Parks, if weather allows. Free.

Dinner in the park

September 3, 2015

1 mile south

Savour is a pricey fine food and wine event with music at Buckingham Fountain to benefit Grant Park.

Jazz festival

September 3 - 6, 2015

0.5 miles south

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

Fringe theater festival

September 3 - 13, 2015

10 miles NW

See 44 weird and wonderful shows by local theater groups at Chicago Fringe Festival in Jefferson Park.

North Coast Music Festival

September 4 - 6, 2015

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

Festival of Lebanon

September 4 - 6, 2015

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.

Shopping festival

September 4 - 7, 2015

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.

African festival

September 4 - 7, 2015

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 4 - 7, 2015

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 4 - 7, 2015

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 4 - 7, 2015

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 5, 2015

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.

Beverage tasting

September 5 - 6, 2015

2.1 miles south

Get 15 tastes of beer and wine, and purchase cocktails, at the new Motor Row Craft Beer & Wine Festival, with live music at Wabash Ave & 16th St.

Medieval fair

September 5 - 7, 2015 (begins July 11)

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 5 - Oct. 18, 2015 (begins Aug. 29)

Chicago locations

Midnight Circus in the Parks is a series of daytime shows at eight parks that’s perfect for families.

Free science museum

September 6 - 30, 2015

8 miles south

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

Art for seniors

September 9, 2015 (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.

Country fair

September 9 - 13, 2015

62 miles SW

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

Chicago Bears 5K

September 10, 2015 (5:30 to 9:30 p.m.)

2 miles south

Join the official Bears run, Super Bears Shuffle 5K, with food, games, live music, the Bears Drumline, Monster Squad, and Staley Da Bear at Soldier Field.

Oyster festival

September 11, 2015

0.1 miles north

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

Opera in the park

September 11, 2015 (7:30 p.m.)

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 11 - 12, 2015

1 mile south

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

German festival & parade

September 11 - 13, 2015

7 miles north

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

Fitness & food event

September 11 - 13, 2015

9 miles south

Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend includes a Friday cocktail party, Saturday 5K, and Sunday workout plus brunch at Jackson Park.

Mexican independence festival

September 11 - 13, 2015

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.

World Music Festival

September 11 - 22, 2015

Chicago locations

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

Boat parade

September 12, 2015 (7:30 p.m.)

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.

BBQ competition

September 12, 2015 (public day)

2.5 miles south

Windy City BBQ Classic features BBQ rib tasting, beer & cocktail sampling, live blues music, and cooking demonstrations at the South Lot of Soldier Field for $100.

Beer festival

September 12, 2015

7 miles NW

Try 50 beers from 20 breweries at Logan Square Beer Festival in Logan Square Auditorium.

Family festival

September 12, 2015

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 W 79th Street at Racine. Free.

Forest Park Ribfest

September 12, 2015

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 12, 2015 (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 12, 2015

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.

Mexican parades

September 12 - 13, 2015

Chicago locations

Celebrate Mexico’s separation from Spain at these Mexican Independence Day parades, with colorful floats, mariachi bands, and street dancing. Free.
  • Sept. 12 at 12 p.m. - Pilsen Mexican Indep. Day Parade on 18th Street at Newberry
  • Sept. 13 at 12 p.m. - 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade on 26th St. at Albany
  • Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. - South Chicago Mexican Indep. Day Parade on Commercial Ave. at 87th

Ukrainian festival

September 12 - 13, 2015

3.6 miles west

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

Lakeview East art festival

September 12 - 13, 2015 (concert Sept. 11)

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.

Locally made festival

September 12 - 13, 2015

8 miles north

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

Women’s expo

September 12 - 13, 2015

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 in the Rosemont convention center.

Oak Brook art fair

September 12 - 13, 2015

19 miles west

Fall Festival of Fine Art features art, artists in action, and music in Oak Brook. Repeats in May. Free.

Revolutionary War

September 12 - 13, 2015

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 12 - 19, 2015

30 miles SW

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

Butterfly festival

September 13, 2015

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.

Scandinavian festival

September 13, 2015

41 miles NW

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

Salsa Night

September 16, 2015 (7 to 10 p.m.)

7.8 miles south

A ticket to Salsa Night includes networking, an 8 p.m. dance lesson, music, and a drink at The Promontory.

Berghoff Oktoberfest

September 16 - 18, 2015

1 mile south

Berghoff Oktoberfest serves bratwurst, sauerkraut, chicken, pretzels, and apple strudel plus German music at W Adams St. & Dearborn. Free until 9 p.m. (Also see the similar Oktoberfest Sept. 25 to 27.)

NASCAR party

September 17, 2015 (2 to 9 p.m.)

2.8 miles NW

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

Gay film festival

September 17 - 24, 2015

Chicago locations

Reeling is Chicago’s LGBT International Film Festival.

Beer festival

September 18, 2015 (6 p.m.)

0.5 miles SW

Festiv-Ale offers fine Midwest beers, excellent food, music, and a silent auction for charity at Block 37.

Oak Park “Oaktoberfest”

September 18 - 19, 2015

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.

Art exposition

September 18 - 20, 2015

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.

Art, food, and music festival

September 18 - 20, 2015

13 miles north

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

Spirits tasting at the zoo

September 19, 2015 (6 to 10 p.m.)

2.5 miles north

Taste 12 samples of 50 spirits in animals houses at Wild Spirits in Lincoln Park Zoo.

Englewood Jazz Festival

September 19, 2015 (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 19, 2015

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 19, 2015

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.

Craft fair

September 19 - 20, 2015

3.5 miles NW

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

Taco festival

September 19 - 20, 2015

5 miles north

Try tacos from 8 restaurants and vote for the best, taste beer, hear live music, and see arts and crafts at Lakeview Taco Fest on Southport Avenue. Donation.

Ravenswood Art Walk

September 19 - 20, 2015

7 miles north

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

Naperville art fair

September 19 - 20, 2015

32 miles west

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

Race at the zoo

September 20, 2015

14 miles SW

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

Dog run

September 20, 2015 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

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.

Hamburger party

September 25, 2015 (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.

Funky art fair

September 25 - 26, 2015

6 miles NW

Collect-O-Rama has handmade art, collectibles, and antiques, plus food and drinks at 1801 Spaulding Ave.

Chicago Gourmet

September 25 - 27, 2015

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.

St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

September 25 - 27, 2015

6 miles NW

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

Craft expo

September 25 - 27, 2015

24 miles north

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

Villa Park nightmare

Sept. 25 - Nov. 1, 2015 (schedule)

21 miles west

Great American Nightmare [sound] is 3 high-tech haunted houses based on Rob Zombie’s horror films for age 13+ in the Odeum Expo Center. See hours.

Morton Grove haunted house

September 25 - Nov. 7, 2015

14 miles NW

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

Free museum day

September 26, 2015


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

Fire festival finale

September 26, 2015 (5 to 9 p.m.)

2.5 miles SE

Great Chicago Fire Festival Closing Ceremony includes entertainment, vendors, craft making, and fireworks at Northerly Island. Free.

Mexican tasting

September 26, 2015 (12 to 5 p.m.)

6.8 miles SW

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

Dutch festival

September 26, 2015

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 26, 2015

27 miles west

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

Design festival

September 26 - 27, 2015

3 miles west

Grand Art & Design Festival (formerly Design Harvest) has local furniture and accessory makers, live music, a square dance, food trucks, hayrides, and pumpkin painting on Grand Ave. at Wood. Donation.

Edgewater art fair

September 26 - 27, 2015

8 miles north

Edgewater Fall Art Fair features 60 local artists, live music, a beer garden, fashion show, kids’ corner, and pet parade on Granville Ave. at Broadway. Donation.

Hyde Park art fair

September 26 - 27, 2015

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 26 - 27, 2015

8 miles south

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

Haunted farm

September 26 - Nov. 1, 2015

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.

Aurora haunted house

Sept. 26 - Nov. 1, 2015

38 miles west

Basement of the Dead and Shattered 3D are two horrifying attractions in one place. See schedule.

Half marathon & 5K

September 27, 2015

9 miles south

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

Tour historic homes

September 27, 2015 (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.

Fall Dinner Crawl

September 29, 2015 (6 to 9 p.m.)

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.

Spirits tasting

September 30, 2015

1.2 miles south

Sample handcrafted spirits and meet the distillers at Chicago Indie Spirits Expo at Hilton Chicago.
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© September 2015 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.