Chicago events September 2018. Things to do in Chicago.

Best events for 12 months

Chicago events September 2018

Chicago Jazz Festival

September 1 - 2, 2018
(begins Aug. 24)
0.5 miles south
Chicago Jazz Festival begins in neighborhood venues and then continues Labor Day weekend in Millennium Park. Free.
  • Aug. 24 - 29 at neighborhood locations
  • Aug. 29 - Sept. 2 in Millennium Park

North Coast Music Festival

September 1 - 2, 2018
(begins Aug. 31)
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.

Ticket deal $39 to $170

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.
CityPass Chicago

Festival of Lebanon

September 1 - 2, 2018
(begins Aug. 31)
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 Church in Lombard. Donation.

African festival

September 1 - 3, 2018
(begins Aug. 31)
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
(begins Aug. 31)
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
(begins Aug. 31)
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.

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. 10 p.m.), 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
(begins Aug. 31)
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.

Renaissance fair

September 1 - 3, 2018
(also August)
49 miles north
Watch knights joust, shop in 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 1 - 15, 2018
(also August)
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
(also August)
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 - 27, 2018
(Monday to Thursday)
8 miles south
Show Illinois ID to enter the Museum of Science and Industry free during Free Days. The museum is not free on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

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 for lunch.

Country 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.

Musical: Legally Blonde

September 5 - Oct. 21, 2018
43 miles west
Legally Blonde is an upbeat song-and-dance tale about a sweet sorority sister named Elle, known for her all-pink wardrobe and her chihuahua Bruiser, who goes to Harvard Law to win back her boyfriend, at Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

Ticket deal $36 to $43

Opera in the park

September 7, 2018
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.

Magic show

September 7, 2018
0.7 miles south
The Magic Parlour is an evening of close-up magic by an award-winning magician in the beautiful Palmer House Hilton Hotel.

Ticket deal $49

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 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 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.

Ticket deal $29 (VIP $39)

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
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 8 - 9, 2018
3.5 miles NW
Shop from hundreds of artisans and chefs at the Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park. Free.

Ukrainian festival

September 8 - 9, 2018
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 8 - 9, 2018
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.

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 large kids’ corner on 79th Street (from Racine to Loomis). Free.

Classic car show

September 8 - 9, 2018
17 miles NW
See 600 classics ranging from muscle cars to rare imports at The Classic Auto Show, with celebrity talks and 200 vendors in the Rosemont convention center.

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 1 - Oct. 21, 2018
(begins Aug. 25)
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
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.

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.

Andersonville Arts Week

September 12 - 16, 2018
8 miles north
Andersonville Arts Week starts Friday evening with receptions in galleries and shops, followed by scheduled exhibits, readings, shows, and art walks.

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 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.

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” at N. Halsted Street & W. Fulton Market. 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 plus a carnival at Douglas Park for all ages. Read the FAQ about allowed items. No re-entry.

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.

Classical music

September 15, 2018
(7:30 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
Music of the Baroque includes Mozart’s haunting “Requiem” performed with opera superstars, plus Handel’s “Coronation Anthems (1, 3, 4)” showcasing the Music of the Baroque Chorus at Harris Theater.

Ticket deal $20 to $24

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
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.

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, taste beer, hear live music on two stages, visit the kids’ area, and watch Mexican wrestlers at Lakeview Taco Fest at Southport Avenue & Addison Street. 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.

Ticket deal $3.75

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.

Ticket deal $10 for two

Mind reader

September 19 - Oct. 31, 2018
(8 p.m.)
3.4 miles north
Chicago Tribune calls mentalist Mark Toland “mind blowing.” He can tell you your birthday, where you grew up, and what you did last summer in his show of psychological illusions and mysteries of the mind at Greenhouse Theater Center for age 16+. Video.

Ticket deal $13

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.

Adult night at the planetarium

September 20, 2018
(6 to 10 p.m.)
2.5 miles SE
Adler After Dark offers open access, science talks, planetarium shows, entertainment, and no-host bars at Adler Planetarium for age 21+. The September theme is the 1990s.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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+.

Contemporary dance

September 27 - 30, 2018
0.5 miles south
The Fall Series brings together Grammy award-winning Third Coast Percussion with three creative choreographers at Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

Ticket deal $24 to $53

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.

A Chorus Line

September 27 - Nov. 3, 2018
26 miles NW
One of the most popular musicals ever, A Chorus Line is a story about casting a new Broadway musical, with songs like “What I Did for Love” at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights for mature audiences.

Ticket deal $20

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+.

Chicago Gourmet

September 28 - 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.

Boutique art fair

September 28 - 30, 2018
0.6 miles NW
Startup Art Fair showcases contemporary art by 40 independent artists in the trendy Acme Hotel.

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.

Ticket deal $7 (Friday $15)

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.

Intense haunted house

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

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.

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

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.

Tour historic homes

September 30, 2018
(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.