Chicago events calendar for September 2017. Best festivals, fun things to do, free kids activities, street fairs, and Labor Day weekend events in Chicago, Illinois.

Best events for 12 months

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

Miles are from the Wrigley Building in Chicago.

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Jazz festival

September 1 - 3, 2017

0.5 miles south

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

North Coast Music Festival

September 1 - 3, 2017

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 1 - 3, 2017

24 miles west

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

African festival

September 1 - 4, 2017

7.9 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 1 - 4, 2017

10 miles NW

Taste of Polonia has 30 bands on four stages, food (polska kielbasa, potato pancakes, pierogi, and beer), exhibitors, and carnival rides in Jefferson Park.

Naperville festival

September 1 - 4, 2017

34 miles west

Naperville Last Fling is a family event with carnival rides, a children’s area, music stages, food vendors, a 5K, and a parade (Monday 10 a.m.) over Labor Day weekend at Naperville’s Riverwalk Park.

Yoga festival

September 1 - 4, 2017

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. Kids are welcome but not pets.

Fringe theater festival

September 1 - 10, 2017

10 miles NW

See 50 weird and wonderful shows by local theater groups at Chicago Fringe Festival in Jefferson Park. The first day on August 30 is a free preview party.

Ravinia music festival

September 1 - 17, 2017

23 miles north

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

Festival in Schaumburg

September 2 - 4, 2017

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. 10 p.m.), and a parade (Mon. 10 a.m. on Summit Drive) at Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center. No pets. Free.

Renaissance fair

September 2 - 4, 2017

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 (also known as Kenosha, WI).

Movies in the Parks

September 2 - 9, 2017

Chicago locations

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

Country fair

September 6 - 10, 2017

62 miles SW

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

Jazz at the aquarium

September 6 & 13, 2017 (5 to 10 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.

Opera in the park

September 8, 2017 (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 8 - 9, 2017

1 mile south

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

Beer festival

September 8 - 10, 2017

2.2 miles west

Würst Music & Beer Fest [formerly Rocktober Beerfest] offers beer, bratwurst, and live music at Randolph and Ogden.

German festival & parade

September 8 - 10, 2017

9 miles north

Chicago German-American Oktoberfest has German music, culture, beer, and food at Lincoln Square (Western Avenue & Leland Avenue). The Steuben Parade is Saturday at 2 p.m. Free.

Mexican independence festival

September 8 - 10, 2017

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 8 - 10, 2017

11.8 miles NW

Hear retro tunes at Throwback Music Festival, which also offers arts & crafts, kids’ activities, beverage tents, and classic cars (Sun. afternoon) in Gladstone Park at Milwaukee & Peterson Avenues. Donation $5.

World Music Festival

September 8 - 24, 2017

Chicago locations

World Music Festival Chicago features artists and ensembles from all over the world. No shows on Monday & Tuesday. Free.

Party at the zoo

September 9, 2017 (6:30 to 11 p.m.)

2.5 miles north

Check out the animals, hear DJ music, and buy beer, wine, and food during Saturday Night at the Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo for age 21+.

Forest Park Ribfest

September 9, 2017

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. For the entertainment schedule, see the poster. Free admission.

Beer & wine tasting

September 9, 2017 (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 9, 2017

41 miles north

Bring your own chairs to watch planes on the ground and in the air at Wings over Waukegan, with food and non-alcoholic drinks for sale. Wear sunscreen. No pets.

Craft fair

September 9 - 10, 2017

3.5 miles NW

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

Ukrainian festival

September 9 - 10, 2017

3.6 miles west

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

Lakeview East art festival

September 9 - 10, 2017

4 miles north

Meet 150 juried artists selling paintings, sculpture, photography, furniture, and jewelry at Lakeview East Festival of the Arts, and hear music on 2 stages along Broadway Avenue (Belmont to Hawthorne). Donation.

Bourbon & BBQ

September 9 - 10, 2017

6.6 miles NW

The new Chicago Bourbon & Barbecue Fest promises two music stages, nine barbecue kitchens, a bourbon tasting pavilion, and vendor booths filling the streets at Damen Avenue & Roscoe Street. Donation.

Family festival

September 9 - 10, 2017

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 (from Racine to Loomis). Free.

Revolutionary War

September 9 - 10, 2017

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.

Race at the zoo

September 10, 2017 (8:30 a.m.)

14 miles SW

ZooRunRun includes a timed 5K and a 1-mile kids’ dash entirely within Brookfield Zoo.

Scandinavian festival

September 10, 2017

46 miles NW

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

Kite festival

September 10, 2017 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

68 miles west

Bring 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.

Short film winners

September 10, 11, 14, 2017

6 miles north

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

Mexican parades

September 10 & 16, 2017

Chicago locations

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

Art for seniors

September 13, 2017

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 for lunch.

Dog fashion show

September 14, 2017 (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.

Nerdy comedy

September 14 - 16, 2017

5 miles north

If you love comedy about nerdy subjects like Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Jane Austen, then Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival will keep you laughing at Stage 773.

Art exposition

September 14 - 17, 2017 (party Sept. 13)

1 mile east

The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art (Expo Chgo) has museum-quality curated art and design by 150 exhibitors at Navy Pier.

Oktoberfest in Glendale Heights

September 14 - 24, 2017

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.

Oak Park “Oaktoberfest”

September 15 - 16, 2017

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. Bring cash. Free.

Rock festival

September 15 - 17, 2017

7 miles SW

Riot Fest is a huge outdoor punk, rock, and alternative music festival plus a carnival at Douglas Park for all ages. Read the FAQ about allowed items. No re-entry.

Craft expo

September 15 - 17, 2017

24 miles north

See 140 artisans exhibiting one-of-a-kind museum quality work at American Craft Exposition at Chicago Botanic Garden.

Whiskey tasting

September 16, 2017 (1 p.m., VIP noon)

0.7 miles west

Chicago Whiskey Festival (formerly River North Whiskey Festival) features 30 varieties of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch at Old Crow Smokehouse. Held in May and September.

Indian pow wow

September 16, 2017

10.6 miles NW

The American Indian Center of Chicago Powwow features songs, dancing, drumming, arts and crafts, and native foods at the American Indian Center.

Englewood Jazz Festival

September 16, 2017 (12 to 6 p.m.)

11 miles south

Englewood Jazz Festival features 7 performances plus awards in Hamilton Park (auditorium if it rains). Free.

Hungarian festival

September 16, 2017

15 miles NW

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

Small art fair

September 16, 2017

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 16, 2017

20 miles north

St. Joseph Oktoberfest has a free antiques market 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a free family festival with games 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For age 21+ also add a beer festival with food trucks 12 to 4 p.m., and a German dinner & beer garden with music 6 to 11:30 p.m. in Wilmette.

Touch a truck in Tinley Park

September 16, 2017 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

31 miles SW

Children can interact with trucks (cement truck, school bus, garbage truck, army truck, and snowplow) at the Tinley Park Touch-A-Truck. Kids age 0 to 2 are free.

Weekend bike ride

September 16, 2017

40.4 miles NW

Bicycle 55 miles in scenic countryside from Elgin to Rochelle on RED JAC (ride, eat, drink, jam, and camp), including beer and a band, with optional skydiving.

Art fair in West Loop

September 16 - 17, 2017

1.9 miles west

West Loop Art Fest features 150 juried artists, live music, and food for sale at N. Racine Avenue & W. Fulton Market. Free.

Taco festival

September 16 - 17, 2017

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 watch Mexican wrestlers at Taco Fest on Southport Avenue (from Addison to Roscoe). Donation $10.

Ravenswood Art Walk

September 16 - 17, 2017

7 miles north

Visit 300 artists in tents and shops along Ravenswood Avenue during Ravenswood ArtWalk. The nearby RAW Street Fest has music stages, food trucks, a beer garden, artists, and kids’ activities. Donation.

Naperville art fair

September 16 - 17, 2017

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 17, 2017 (11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

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.

Adult night at the planetarium

September 21, 2017 (6 to 10 p.m.)

2.5 miles SE

Adler After Dark: Saturn Saloon offers open access, unlimited shows, entertainment, information about the Cassini probe that crashes into Saturn, and Old West-themed cocktails at Adler Planetarium for age 21+.

Beer + wedding fair

September 21, 2017 (6 p.m., VIP 5:30 p.m.)

7.9 miles north

Wedtoberfest is “an intimate evening with music, food, beer, and bubbly” where you can meet wedding planners and vendors at Artifact Events for age 21+.

Small-town Oktoberfest

September 21 - 24, 2017

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.). Schedule. Free.

Hamburger party

September 22, 2017 (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+.

Beer festival

September 22 - 23, 2017

1.6 miles west

Beer Mansion promises “an immersive room-by-room journey through the world of beer, complete with food, live music, games, prizes, and a handful of surprises” at Morgan’s on Fulton. Beer and small bites included.

Underground art show

September 22 - 23, 2017 (8 p.m. to 2 a.m.)

3 miles south

Pancakes & Booze Art Show is a traveling exhibition by 100 artists, with free pancakes, DJ music, live body painting, and a bar at Reggie’s Chicago for age 21+.

Chicago Gourmet

September 22 - 24, 2017

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.

Free museum day

September 23, 2017

Statewide

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

Hispanic family festival

September 23, 2017 (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.

Vegan event

September 23, 2017

9 miles north

Chicago VeganMania includes samples, speakers, live music, and a food court at the Broadway Armory. (Unlike vegetarians, vegans don’t eat eggs and milk.) Free.

Beer festival - west

September 23, 2017 (2 p.m., VIP 1 p.m.)

22 miles west

The first Villa Park Brewfest offers “exceptional beers from local & regional craft breweries as well as tasty food truck cuisine” at Cortesi Veterans Memorial Park for age 21+.

Dutch festival

September 23, 2017

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.

Edgewater art fair

September 23 - 24, 2017

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 23 - 24, 2017

8 miles south

Hear 35 jazz performances by top artists indoors and outdoors at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Free.

Half marathon & 5K

September 24, 2017

9 miles south

The Chicago Half Marathon begins in Jackson Park and goes along scenic Lake Shore Drive. Free to watch.

Tour historic homes

September 24, 2017 (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.

Gay film festival

September 25 - 28, 2017

Chicago locations

Reeling is Chicago’s LGBTQ International Film Festival.

Free science museum

September 25 - 29, 2017

8 miles south

Show Illinois ID to enter the Museum of Science and Industry free during Free Days on September 5-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, 2017.

Naperville film festival

September 25 - 30, 2017

30 miles SW

See a wide variety of films during the Naperville Independent Film Festival, which has two seatings per night at Hollywood Palms Cinema. The theater requires you to buy one food or drink item. Awards on last day.
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Futuristic drama

September 25 - Oct. 8, 2017

9.4 miles north

1984 is George Orwell’s chilling vision of governmental surveillance, oppression, and psychological manipulation by “Big Brother” at Raven Theatre.

Discount tickets $10.

Halloween farm

September 25 - Oct. 30, 2017

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.

Attractions

September 25 - Oct. 31, 2017

multiple locations

These discount prices include all taxes and fees.

Tuesday cruise

September 26, 2017 (6:30 p.m.)

0.7 miles east

An evening cruise aboard the Anita Dee II offers amazing views from the open top deck, dancing, and a pricey bar, departing from 200 N Breakwater Access.

Discount tickets $13.

Fall Dinner Crawl

September 26, 2017 (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.

Sketch comedy

September 26 - 30, 2017

2.1 miles north

The Second City’s Fast, Loud & Funny promises an “in-your-face indictment of the modern condition” including social media, dating, and auto-tuned relationships at Up Comedy Club.

Discount tickets $16 (weekdays $13).

Comical “Hamilton”

September 26 - Oct. 1, 2017

3.1 miles NW

Spamilton is a “smart, silly, and often convulsively funny” parody with “surreal Broadway musical mash-ups” [New York Times] at Royal George Theatre.

Discount tickets $40 to $59.

Magic Cabaret

September 27, 2017 (8 p.m.)

3.3 miles north

The Magic Cabaret entertains with mind-boggling sleight of hand and audience participation in small Greenhouse Theater Center.

Discount tickets $13.

Kayaking

September 27 - 30, 2017

multiple locations

Kayak with a guide on Lake Michigan during the day or on the Chicago River in the evening.

Rock musical

September 27 - Oct. 15, 2017

18 miles west

Rock of Ages is a love story set in Hollywood that unfolds to the 1980s songs of Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, and more at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace.

Discount tickets $30 to $45.

Tony-winning best musical

September 28, 2017 (7:30 p.m.)

3.6 miles north

Fun Home tells the story of Alison at three different ages as she interacts with her dysfunctional family in “a blazingly original heartbreaker and a nonstop treasure of invention” [Newsday] at Victory Gardens.

Discount tickets $30.

Bonnie & Clyde musical

September 28 - Oct. 15, 2017

4.8 miles north

Bonnie & Clyde are notorious gangsters in an electrifying story of love, adventure, and crime at Theater Wit.

Discount tickets $19.

Joliet haunted house

September 28 - Oct. 31, 2017

38 miles SW

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

St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

September 29 - Oct. 1, 2017

5.5 miles NW

Enjoy beer, bratwurst, pretzels, live music, and arts & crafts at Oktoberfest Chicago at St. Alphonsus Church. Kids’ fest on Saturday & Sunday (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Free admission on Sunday. Ticketed craft beer tasting on Friday and Saturday (6 to 9 p.m.).

Discount beer-tasting tickets $29.

Neighborhood Oktoberfest

September 29 - Oct. 1, 2017

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 29 - Nov. 4, 2017

38 miles west

Basement of the Dead has creative special effects and entertaining characters. Dates for 2017: Sept. 29-30; Oct. 1, 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-31; Nov. 4.

Adult variety show

September 29 - Nov. 25, 2017 (10 p.m.)

7 miles north

Kiss Kiss Cabaret is a fun mix of burlesque, off-color comedy, music, magic, and variety acts at Uptown Underground for age 18+ on Fridays and Saturdays.

Discount tickets $7 to $14.

Bacon and beer

September 30, 2017

0.7 miles SW

Enjoy bacon-inspired tastes from local restaurants, craft beer, music, and interactive games at Bacon and Beer Classic in Daley Plaza.

Discount tickets $55.

Lisle Ale Fest

September 30, 2017 (4 p.m., VIP 3 p.m.)

27 miles west

Lisle Ale Fest has 80 American craft beers (including Oktoberfest and pumpkin), live music, and local food.

Street festival

September 30 - Oct. 1, 2017

1.4 miles west

Fulton Market Harvest Fest promises “cooking demos, live music, booths from the city's best restaurants, and family friendly fun” at N. Halsted Street & W. Fulton Market. Children age 10 and younger are free.

Apple festival

September 30 - Oct. 1, 2017

7 miles NW

Get some apple pie and cider, listen to local music, and visit the kids’ zone at Apple Fest on Lincoln Avenue (from Lawrence to Eastwood). Donation $5.

Oktoberfest in Roselle

September 30 - Oct. 1, 2017

30 miles west

Oktoberfest at Lynfred Winery includes a pig roast, grape stomping, wine for sale, and crowds.

Circus in the park

September 30 - Oct. 15, 2017

Chicago locations

Midnight Circus in the Parks is a series of daytime shows on weekends at 8 parks, perfect for families.
  • Sept. 23 to 24 - Lake Shore Park
  • Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 - Kosciuszko Park
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© September 2017 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois. ord-09