Chicago events September 2018. Things to do in Chicago.

Best events for 12 months

Chicago events September 2018

North Coast Music Festival

September 1 - 2, 2018
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.

Jet ski racing

September 1 - 2, 2018
4.5 miles south
Watch jet skiers compete in seven 30-minute races during P1 Chicago Grand Prix at 31st Street Harbor. Free except parking.

Oak Brook art fair

September 1 - 2, 2018
19 miles west
The Fine Art Festival features art, artists in action, and music in Oak Brook. Repeats in May. Free.

Festival of Lebanon

September 1 - 2, 2018
24 miles west
Enjoy Lebanese food, beer, wine, music, folk dancing, belly dancing, and kids’ activities at the Lebanese Festival at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Lombard. Children younger than age 10 are free.

Music on the lake

September 1 - 3, 2018
1 mile east
Hear live music at Live on the Lake in the beer garden at Navy Pier. Free for all ages.

African festival

September 1 - 3, 2018
7.9 miles south
African Festival of the Arts celebrates African art, crafts, drumming, food, and entertainment “in a simulated African village” at Washington Park. Cost.

Fringe theater festival

September 1 - 3, 2018
10 miles NW
See 50 weird and wonderful shows by local theater groups at Chicago Fringe Festival in Jefferson Park. The first day usually has a free preview party.

Polish festival

September 1 - 3, 2018
10 miles NW
Taste of Polonia has 30 bands on four stages, food (polska kielbasa, potato pancakes, pierogi, and beer), vendors, and carnival rides in Jefferson Park.

Schaumburg festival

September 1 - 3, 2018
33 miles NW
Septemberfest includes an arts & crafts show, a carnival, lots of live music, a beer & wine tent, the Taste of Schaumburg (Sat. & Sun.), fireworks (Sun. or if rain Mon.), and a parade (Mon. 10 a.m. on Summit Drive) at Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center. No pets. Free.

Naperville festival

September 1 - 3, 2018
34 miles west
Naperville Last Fling is a family event with carnival rides, a children’s area, entertainment, evening concerts, food vendors, and a Labor Day parade (Monday 10 a.m.) at Naperville’s Riverwalk Park.

Movies in the Parks

September 1 - 16, 2018
Chicago locations
Watch 250 Movies in the Parks, beginning at dusk. Dates may change depending on the weather. Free.

Ravinia music festival

September 1 - 16, 2018
23 miles north
See nationally known performers at Ravinia Festival, billed as America’s oldest outdoor music festival at Ravinia Park in Highland Park.

Free science museum

September 4 - 30, 2018
(Sunday to Wednesday)
8 miles south
Show Illinois ID to enter the Museum of Science and Industry free during Free Days. The museum is not free on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Art for seniors

September 5, 2018
1 mile south
Reflections offers lectures, demonstrations, and free entry for seniors and adult chaperones at Art Institute of Chicago, 159 E. Monroe Street. Register online for the optional lunch.

Small-town fair

September 5 - 9, 2018
62 miles SW
Head to the Sandwich Fair for carnival games, fair food, grandstand shows, and farm animals.

Jazz at the aquarium

September 5 - Oct. 10, 2018
(Wednesdays 5 p.m.)
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.

Wine festival

September 7 - 8, 2018
1 mile south
Sample more than 300 wines at the outdoor Windy City Wine Festival near Buckingham Fountain.

Mexican independence festival

September 7 - 9, 2018
9.6 miles SW
Thousands attend Festival de La Villita for authentic Mexican cuisine, music, artisans, carnival rides, and family entertainment at 26th Street and Kostner Avenue. Free.

Northwest neighborhood festival

September 7 - 9, 2018
11.8 miles NW
Hear retro tunes at Throwback Music Fest, which also offers arts & crafts, kids’ activities, beverage tents, and classic cars (Sun. 2 to 6 p.m.) in Gladstone Park on Milwaukee Avenue (from Elston to Peterson). Donation $5.

World Music Festival

September 7 - 23, 2018
Chicago locations
World Music Festival Chicago features artists and ensembles from all over the world. No shows on Monday & Tuesday. Free.

Doughnut festival

September 8, 2018
(11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
2.5 miles north
Taste doughnuts; drink mimosas, beer, wine, and coffee; watch entertainment; and visit the animals and gardens during Donut Fest at the Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo for all ages.

Forest Park Ribfest

September 8, 2018
11 miles west
Hear live music, eat great food, visit the beverage tent, and enjoy children’s activities at Ribfest at 7824 Madison Street in Forest Park. Free admission.

Beer & wine tasting

September 8, 2018
(3 to 6:30 p.m.)
12 miles NW
Taste 50 beers or wines with hors d’oeuvres outdoors, and bid in the silent auction indoors during Stems and Steins at Norwood Park Historical Society for age 21+.

Waukegan air show

September 8, 2018
(12 to 3 p.m.)
41 miles north
Bring your own chairs to watch planes on the ground and in the air at Northern Illinois Airshow, with food and non-alcoholic drinks for sale. Wear sunscreen. No pets. Children age 12 and younger are free.

Craft fair

September 8 - 9, 2018
(11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
3.5 miles NW
Shop from hundreds of artisans and chefs at the Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park on Division Street (from Ashland to Damen). Free.

Ukrainian festival

September 8 - 9, 2018
(1 to 10 p.m.)
3.6 miles west
Ukrainian Village Fest offers folk dancers, music, food (potato pancakes, borsch, pierogi, kabobs, blintzes), beer, wine, and a kids’ area on Superior Street (from Oakley to Leavitt).

Lakeview East art festival

September 8 - 9, 2018
4 miles north
Meet 150 juried artists selling paintings, sculpture, photography, furniture, and jewelry at Lakeview East Festival of the Arts, visit the kids’ area, and hear music on two stages at Belmont Avenue & North Broadway. Donation.

Bourbon & BBQ

September 8 - 9, 2018
(12 to 10 p.m.)
6.6 miles NW
Chicago Bourbon & Barbecue Fest features two music stages, nine barbecue kitchens, a bourbon tasting pavilion, and vendor booths filling the streets at Belmont Avenue & Damen Avenue. Donation $5.

Urban county fair

September 8 - 9, 2018
9.5 miles NW
County Fair Chicago promises music (bluegrass, rockabilly, and country jams), food vendors, and craft & cooking competitions at 4901 W. Irving Park Road. Children younger than age 12 are free.

Family festival

September 8 - 9, 2018
11 miles south
The 79th Street Renaissance Festival in Auburn Gresham is a community festival with entertainment, food vendors, a marketplace, and a kids’ corner on 79th Street (from Racine to Loomis). Free.

Revolutionary War

September 8 - 9, 2018
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.

Circus in the park

September 8 - Oct. 21, 2018
Chicago locations
Midnight Circus in the Parks is a series of shows at nine parks, which is perfect for families.

Race at the zoo

September 9, 2018
14 miles SW
ZooRunRun includes a timed 5K and a 1-mile kids’ dash entirely within Brookfield Zoo.

Scandinavian festival

September 9, 2018
46 miles NW
Enjoy food, crafts, and entertainment from Northern Europe at Scandinavian Day Festival in South Elgin at beautiful Vasa Park. Children age 12 and younger free.

Kite festival

September 9, 2018
(11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
68 miles west
Bring sunscreen and a chair or blanket to DeKalb Kite Fest to watch giant inflatable kites, dancing kites, and fighting kites, with free kite making and a candy drop for kids, plus kites for sale at Lucinda Avenue and Kishwaukee Drive in DeKalb. Free except parking.

Mexican parades

September 9 - 16, 2018
Chicago locations
Celebrate Mexico’s separation from Spain at these Mexican Independence Day parades, with colorful floats, mariachi bands, and street dancing. Free.

Free classical music

September 12, 2018
(6:30 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
Baroque in the Park features music by Handel, Mozart, and Vivaldi performed by Music of the Baroque at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Free.

Andersonville Arts Week

September 12 - 16, 2018
8 miles north
Andersonville Arts Week includes Friday evening receptions in galleries and shops on Clark Street, in addition to art walks, performances, markets, and a closing party.

Turkish fest

September 13 - 15, 2018
0.7 miles SW
Experience the art, music, dance, and cuisine of Turkey at the free Chicago Turkish Festival at Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington Street. Free entry.

Oktoberfest in Glendale Heights

September 13 - 23, 2018
32 miles west
Glendale Heights Oktoberfest promises good music, a great beer selection, authentic German food, and friendly service at Camera Park in Glendale Heights.

Summer party

September 14, 2018
(7 to 11 p.m.)
1.8 miles north
A ticket to the Summer Soirée includes gourmet hors d’oeuvres, a premium open bar, a live band, dancing, and dessert at Shore Club Chicago and supports the Junior League of Chicago.

Oak Park “Oaktoberfest”

September 14 - 15, 2018
9 miles west
Enjoy live music, craft beer, wine, local restaurant food, and a kids’ root beer garden (Sat. noon to 5 p.m.) at Oaktoberfest in Oak Park. Bring cash. Free.

Street festival

September 14 - 16, 2018
1.4 miles west
Fulton Market Harvest Fest promises “cooking demos, live music, booths from the city’s best restaurants, and family friendly fun” on W. Fulton Market (from Halsted to Peoria). Children age 10 and younger are free.

Rock festival

September 14 - 16, 2018
7 miles SW
Riot Fest is a huge outdoor punk, rock, and alternative music festival on multiple stages at Douglas Park for all ages. See the event map for food vendors, bars, and carnival rides. Gates open at 11 a.m. Read the FAQ about allowed items.

Halloween farm

September 14 - Oct. 30, 2018
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 enjoy kids’ rides, pig races, a pumpkin chucker, and a petting zoo.

Beer festival

September 15, 2018
(4 to 8 p.m.)
8.1 miles NW
Independence Park Beer Fest features local craft beer, food trucks, and live music for age 21+.

Englewood Jazz Festival

September 15, 2018
(noon to 6 p.m.)
11 miles south
Englewood Jazz Festival features 7 performances plus awards in Hamilton Park (auditorium if it rains). Free.

Small art fair

September 15, 2018
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 15, 2018
(12 to 5 p.m.)
20 miles north
St. Joseph Oktoberfest has an antiques market, kids’ games and rides (if you buy tickets), German food, a beer garden, and live music in Wilmette. Free.

Art fair

September 15 - 16, 2018
1.5 miles south
The inaugural Printer’s Row Art Fest is near Printer’s Row Park on Dearborn Street (from Polk to Harrison). Free.

Taco festival

September 15 - 16, 2018
5 miles north
Try tacos from a dozen restaurants and vote for the best, drink beer, hear live music on two stages, visit the kids’ area, and watch Mexican wrestlers at Lakeview Taco Fest on Southport Avenue (from Addison to Roscoe). Donation $10.

Ravenswood Art Walk

September 15 - 16, 2018
7 miles north
Visit 300 artists in tents and shops along Ravenswood Avenue during Ravenswood ArtWalk. Nearby, RAW Street Fest has music stages, food trucks, a beer garden, artists, and kids’ activities. Donation.

Women’s expo

September 15 - 16, 2018
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 [website has sound] in Rosemont convention center.

Naperville art fair

September 15 - 16, 2018
32 miles west
Riverwalk Fine Art Fair is a juried fair with 140 artists at a scenic park in downtown Naperville. Free.

Butterfly festival

September 16, 2018
22 miles SW
The Monarch Butterfly Festival has a butterfly tent, live animals, an arts & crafts fair, children’s activities, and food vendors at Lake Katherine Nature Center in Palos Heights.

World peace ceremony

September 17, 2018
(noon to 1 p.m.)
0.7 miles SW
Gather in Daley Plaza to hear live music, listen to speakers, and watch a ceremony calling out the name of every country with its flag on Peace Day. Free.

Dog fashion show

September 20, 2018
(6 to 9 p.m.)
0.7 miles north
A $175 ticket to Haute Dog includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a fall fashion show featuring dogs and their owners, a silent auction, a speaker, and a look at canine companion puppies at The Peninsula. No pets.

Arts party

September 20, 2018
(6 to 9 p.m.)
2.6 miles west
Held underneath the “L” tracks, Lightbash is “an immersive, energetic evening of art, technology and innovation...featuring music, interactive lights, glass-blowing demonstrations, hors d’oeuvres, and an open cocktail bar” outside Ignite Glass Studio.

Gay film festival

September 20 - 30, 2018
Chicago locations
Reeling is Chicago’s LGBTQ International Film Festival.

Craft expo

September 21 - 23, 2018
(preview Sept. 20)
24 miles north
See 140 artisans exhibiting one-of-a-kind museum quality work at American Craft Exposition at Chicago Botanic Garden.

Oktoberfest in Plainfield

September 21 - 23, 2018
(opens Fri. 5 p.m.)
40 miles SW
Rocktoberfest delivers rock bands, beer, bratwurst, and a kids’ area in downtown Plainfield.

Free museum day

September 22, 2018
Get a free ticket that allows two people to visit one of the many museums participating in Museum Day Live.

Festival of young artists

September 22, 2018
(11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
YAS Fest (Youth Arts Showcase) offers a wide range of performances, exhibitions, and hands-on activities at Millennium Park, Chicago Cultural Center (first floor south), and Art Institute of Chicago (modern wing). Free.

Hispanic family festival

September 22, 2018
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.

Beer tasting

September 22, 2018
(4 p.m., VIP 3 p.m.)
5 miles SW
A ticket to BeerHoptacular gets you 20 tickets to sample some of the 150 American craft beers, live music, food for sale, and a home-brew competition at Vertiport Chicago for age 21+.

Dutch festival

September 22, 2018
24 miles SW
Elim Dutch Festival features Dutch food, dance, music, and vendors, plus a kids’ carnival, petting zoo, and train rides at Elim Christian Services in Palos Heights. Free admission.

Cask beer festival

September 22, 2018
(3 p.m., VIP 2 p.m.)
33.3 miles west
Naperville Firkin Fest pours 30 beers that are unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated in the cask and served at cellar temperature, along with craft beer, hard cider, and food trucks at CityGate Centre.

Food truck festival

September 22 - 23, 2018
10.3 miles NW
Chicago Food Truck Fest brings 25 food trucks, music, a sangria garden, and games to LaBagh Woods.

Pow wow in Naperville

September 22 - 23, 2018
(opens 11 a.m.)
33 miles west
Experience Native American culture through dance, drumming, art, and storytelling at the Harvest Pow Wow, which also has food booths, crafts for sale, and a kids’ corner at Naper Settlement.

Dumpling tasting

September 23, 2018
(1 to 7:30 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
World Dumpling Fest features “delicious dumplings from ethnic restaurants in and around Chicago, interactive craft tables, cultural art vendors, and exciting global music acts” in Polk Brothers Park at Navy Pier. Free admission or buy tasting tickets.

Half marathon & 5K

September 23, 2018
9 miles south
The Chicago Half Marathon begins in Jackson Park and goes along scenic Lake Shore Drive. Free to watch.

Fall Dinner Crawl

September 25, 2018
(6 to 9 p.m.)
4 miles NW
Buy tickets for one of the routes, and then get samples from restaurants along the way during Fall Dinner Crawl in Wicker Park and Bucktown.

Chicago Gourmet

September 26 - 30, 2018
0.5 mile south
Chicago Gourmet offers premium food and wine events, with the main weekend events showcasing hundreds of restaurant chefs, vintners, and breweries in Millennium Park.

Whisky tasting

September 27, 2018
(7 to 10 p.m.)
1 mile south
The Whisky Extravaganza includes unlimited tastes of more than 100 whiskies, culinary pairings, and master classes at the Union League Club for age 21+.

Burritos & classical music

September 27, 2018
(6:30 to 9:30 p.m.)
35 miles NW
A ticket to Burritos & Bach includes a burrito bowl/wrap, a churro sundae, and two beverages (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), with a cash bar available as The Elgin Symphony Chamber Ensemble performs works by Bach at Sears Centre Arena.

Small-town Oktoberfest

September 27 - 30, 2018
51 miles south
Manteno Oktoberfest has a beer tent, food, a carnival, live music, a garage sale (Fri. to Sun.), a pet parade (Fri. 6 p.m.), and a lighted parade (Sat. 6:30 p.m.). Free.

Hamburger party

September 28, 2018
(6 to 9 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
Eat gourmet burgers with beer, wine, and spirits when top chefs compete at the $145 Hamburger Hop on the rooftop of Harris Theater, followed at 9 p.m. by a $59 Late Night Gourmet After Party. Both events age 21+.

Country dance party

September 28, 2018
(9 to 11 p.m.)
4.6 miles NW
Learn how to do the line dance and the two step at the Fall Ball, which begins with lessons and then has open dancing at Duet Dance Studio for age 21+. You can bring your own beverage, with or without alcohol.

New art fair

September 28 - 30, 2018
4.2 miles SW
Based in London, The Other Art Fair “leads the way in uncovering and nurturing new and innovative creative talent” exhibiting works by 130 emerging artists at Mana Contemporary Chicago.

St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

September 28 - 30, 2018
5.5 miles NW
Enjoy beer, bratwurst, pretzels, live music, and arts & crafts at Oktoberfest at St. Alphonsus Church for $10 donation ($5 Sunday).

Neighborhood Oktoberfest

September 28 - 30, 2018
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.

Aurora haunted house

September 28 - Nov. 3, 2018
38 miles west
Basement of the Dead has creative special effects and entertaining characters. Expect lines. See schedule.

Intense haunted house

September 28 - Nov. 3, 2018
45 miles NW
Realm of Terror Haunted House promises “the craziest, most intense, extreme Halloween experience” located halfway to Milwaukee in Round Lake Beach. See schedule.

Short films

September 29, 2018
(5 to 9 p.m.)
6.5 miles NW
A ticket to Shortcut 100 International Film Festival includes a reception followed by 11 “quality independent short films” at The Logan Theatre.

Beer in the Woods

September 29, 2018
(2 p.m., VIP 1 p.m.)
10.3 miles NW
Beer in the Woods features tastings from 30 breweries and cideries, live animal displays, DJ music, birds walks, home brewing demos, local food trucks, and activities for both beer and nature enthusiasts at LaBagh Woods. No dogs.

Beer festival - west

September 29, 2018
22 miles west
Villa Park Brewfest offers “exceptional beers from local & regional craft breweries as well as tasty food truck cuisine” at Cortesi Veterans Memorial Park, age 21+.

Lisle Ale Fest

September 29, 2018
(4 to 8 p.m.)
27 miles west
Lisle Ale Fest has 80 American craft beers (including Oktoberfest and pumpkin), live music, and local food for age 21+. No pets.

Japanese festival in Lincoln Park

September 29 - 30, 2018
(11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
2.9 miles NW
Experience authentic Japanese festival food, beverages (tea, beer, sake), and cultural performances (Taiko drumming, calligraphy, martial arts, ink painting) at Chicago Japanese Matsuri in the plaza of NewCity at 1457 N. Halsted Street.

Edgewater art fair

September 29 - 30, 2018
8 miles north
Edgewater Arts Festival (formerly Edgewater Fall Art Fair) features 100 local artists, 3 stages of live music, food vendors, and a beer garden on Granville Avenue (from Broadway to Sheridan). Donation.

Hyde Park jazz

September 29 - 30, 2018
8 miles south
Hear 36 jazz performances by top artists indoors and outdoors at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Donation.

Oktoberfest in Roselle

September 29 - 30, 2018
30 miles west
Oktoberfest at Lynfred Winery includes a pig roast, grape stomping, cork tossing, a lederhosen contest, wine for sale, and crowds.

Wine & dessert walk

September 30, 2018
(3 to 6 p.m.)
5.2 miles north
A ticket to Lakeview East Wine & Sweets Stroll includes a glass, wine samples, and sweet bites in 12 neighborhood shops for age 21+.

Tour historic homes

September 30, 2018
(12 to 5 p.m.)
11.2 miles west
Walk, bike, or drive between houses on the Historic Berwyn’s Bungalow Tour to hear about their history.

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