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.

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

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 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

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. 20)

Chicago locations

Midnight Circus in the Parks is a series of daytime shows on the 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.

Dinner in the park

September 8, 2016

1 mile south

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

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.

World Music Festival

September 9 - 25, 2016

Chicago locations

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

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 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, kabos, 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.

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.
  • Sept. 11 at 12 p.m. - 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade on 26th St. at Albany
  • undated - Pilsen Mexican Indep. Day Parade on 18th Street at Newberry
  • undated - South Chicago Mexican Indep. Day Parade on Commercial Ave. at 87th

Berghoff Oktoberfest

September 14 - 16, 2016

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.)

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.

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.

Taco festival

September 17 - 18, 2016

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.

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.

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 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 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


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 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 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. 28.

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. Party central is 1850 W Chicago Ave. 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.

Gay film festival

September 2016 (undated)

Chicago locations

Reeling is Chicago’s LGBT International Film Festival.

Movies in the Parks

September 2016 (undated)

Chicago locations

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

Oyster festival

September 2016 (undated)

0.1 miles north

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

Beer festival

September 2016 (undated)

0.5 miles SW

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

Black film festival

September 2016 (undated)

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.

Turkish fest

September 2016 (undated)

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.

Art for seniors

September 2016 (undated)

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 2016 (undated)

1.2 miles south

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

Chicago Bears 5K

September 2016 (undated)

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.

Jazz at the aquarium

September 2016 (undated)

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.

BBQ competition

September 2016 (undated)

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.

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.

Funky art fair

September 2016 (undated)

6 miles NW

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

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.

Locally made festival

September 2016 (undated)

8 miles north

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

Englewood Jazz Festival

September 2016 (undated)

11 miles south

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

Race at the zoo

September 2016 (undated)

14 miles SW

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

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.

Butterfly festival

September 2016 (undated)

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.

Ravinia music festival

September 2016 (undated)

23 miles north

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

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.

Naperville film festival

September 2016 (undated)

30 miles SW

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

Scandinavian festival

September 2016 (undated)

41 miles NW

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

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.

Festival of Lebanon

September 2016 (undated)

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.
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© September 2016 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.