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Chicagoist's Guide To September: 20 Fun Things To Do This Month

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 31, 2017 6:16PM

Image courtesy of Festival de La Villita.

September may mean the beginning of fall, but that doesn't mean the city slows down. There are plenty of harvest time festivals and events to keep us busy. Here are 20 of our favorites.


September 1-3

North Coast Music Festival returns to Union Park from Sept. 1 to 3, bringing back its unique mixture of electronic (Deadmau5) and organic (Lettuce) dance music with a few outliers (Ween!) that still manage to fit the weekend's vibe. Tickets are available through the NCMF website.


September 1-4

Get your pierogi on at Taste of Polonia this Friday through Monday in Jefferson Park. They’ve got four stages with live music going and a variety of Polish food and beer from locales like Alex’s Deli, Smakowski Deli and Home Bakery & Dumpling House. Tickets start at $5.


September 8-10

The Würst Music and Beer Fest kinda came out of the blue, and we’re all for it! Three-day passes are only $25 for the fest at Randolph and Ogden, with a music lineup that includes Murder By Death, The Anniversary, Diarrhea Planet and many more. There are also food and drink packages for purchase with “GutenBucks.”

Seun Kuti. Photo by Romain Rigal.


September 8-24

The 19th Annual World Music Festival Chicago comes to Millennium Park and a variety of venues Sept. 8 to 24. The lineup includes a number of styles celebrating the city’s diverse culture, including Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music and FELABRATION! Featuring Seun Kuti, son of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti and his band Egypt 80. Visit the festival website for a full schedule of performances.


September 8-10

Festival de La Villita” in Little Village celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain with authentic food, music, carnival rides and a parade. The neighborhood festival has been going for 28 years, with local restaurants and vendors taking part. Sunday’s 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade steps off at Noon at Albany and ends at the fest on Kostner. Free.


September 8-10

Head on up to the northwest side Gladstone Park for the 2nd annual Throwback Music Festival this weekend. The Gin Blossoms are one of the headliners for the fest crossing decades and generations. Break out the retro attire for the "Miss Throwback Pin-up Contest" on Sunday, plus a pet parade and vintage car show. Admission is a $5 gate donation benefiting the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce's scholarship program.

Image via Bourbon and Barbecue Fest's website.


September 9-10

The all new Chicago Bourbon & Barbecue Fest introduces Southern hospitality to the Roscoe Village neighborhood. Performers on the two music stages include local alt-country rockers The Waco Brothers and country music singer/songwriter Keith Anderson. The festive tunes will pair perfectly with your afternoon barrel-aged bourbon tastings and meats from Aussum Aussie Australian BBQ, Luella's Southern Kitchen, Robinson's Ribs and Bill's Grill. Admission is a $5 gate donation benefitting the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce.


September 9

If you’ve got the cash, you’ll probably want to find your way to The Second City’s Mainstage for "I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt". Celebrities and Second City alum abound at the event, hosted by Roastmaster (and SNL veteran) Jason Sudeikis including Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Julia Sweeney (SNL), David Rasche (Veep), Jeff Tweedy (Grammy-winning Wilco frontman) and the list goes on. Tickets start at $500, with the majority of that money benefiting Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund.

Image via EXPO CHICAGO's website.


September 13-17

The ultimate contemporary art fair takes over Navy Pier’s Festival hall this weekend, hosting more than 135 leading international exhibitors. EXPO CHICAGO is more than simply galleries, with programming including /Dialogues, IN/SITU, IN/SITU Outside, EXPO VIDEO, the Curatorial Forum, the Art Critics Forum, Special Exhibitions and OVERRIDE | A Billboard Project. The opening night preview, Vernissage, is Sept. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m., with general admission beginning Thursday, Sept. 14. Tickets start at $20 for single-day admission.


September 15-17

We know, we know, Riot Fest sucks. They didn’t schedule the exact band you wanted to see at the exact time you wanted to see them, but we’ll bet that any time you show up at any stage this weekend, you’ll be entertained. The punk rock festival boasts yet another huge lineup this year with headliners Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stoneage, Paramore and Jawbreaker at the top. Of course Riot Fest regulars Andrew WK and Gwar made the list as well. Tickets for the three-day fest in Douglas Park are now $189.98. Single day tickets are also available.


September 16-January 7, 2018

The 2nd Chicago Architecture Biennial highlight’s our city’s unique architecture with a vision toward the future. This year’s theme is “Make New History” with more than 140 practitioners from more than 20 countries participating. The Chicago Cultural Center is home base for the Biennial, which invites residents and visitors alike to explore Chicago through extensive programs, including our educational sessions with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, installations, performances, talks, films, and more.

Photo via Taco Joint's Facebook page.


September 16-17

Lets taco bout our love for tacos. The 5th annual Sam Adams' Lakeview Taco Fest takes place this weekend, honoring one of our favorite food groups. More than a dozen local restaurants will offer up the tortilla treat, including Taco Joint and Flaco’s Tacos, with some special beer and taco pairings. The fest also features Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling and two music stages. Admission is a $10 suggested donation benefitting the Friends of Lakeview & the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce.


September 16

The first ever Get IN It MusicFest takes place at Guaranteed Rate Field this Saturday starting at noon. The hip-hop/R&B-focused festival follows in the footsteps of Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day, making the Sox home a place for more than just baseball. The bill includes local artists Lupe Fiasco and Jeremih as well as Fifth Harmony, Prince Royce, DNCE, Fat Joe, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and more. Tickets start at $35.


September 22-23

Every year Goose Island throws a nonchalant homegrown party outside their brewery on Fulton Street. While casual, the 312 Block Party is more than your average Chicago street fest. The music lineup for this year alone boasts Animal Collective, The Record Company, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Filthy Friends (Feat. members Sleater Kinney, R.E.M. and The Minus Five), Joey Purp, Califone, The Drastics, Low Down Brass Band, and more. They’ll also have food trucks like Girl & the Goat, Beat Kitchen and Happy Lobster, and $3 brews all weekend. Admission is a $10 suggested donation going toward Mission Muscle Foundation, Open Books and the Chicago Canine Rescue.


September 23-24

The Hideout’s annual Block Party is back for it’s 21st year, teaming up with Chicago’s famed Electrical Audio studio and Sputnik for their own anniversaries. They’re going “old school” for this year’s party, with bands playing outside next to the patio as opposed to the city lot across the street. Bands playing the two-day party include Man Or Astro-Man?, Screaming Females, Danielson, Nina Nastasia, Shannon Wright, Meat Wave, FACS, Mint Mile, Dianogah and more. Admission is a $20 suggestion donation supporting Foundations of Music.

Rick Bayless on 10 Years of Chicago Gourmet from Chicago Gourmet on Vimeo.


September 19-24

Chicago Gourmet is celebrating ten years of epicurean excellence in the city. The annual event in Millennium Park brings its biggest and best yet featuring an all-star lineup of celebrity chefs including Curtis Stone, Carla Hall, Sarah Grueneberg, Rick Bayless, Jeff Mauro, Art Smith, Stephanie Izard, Tony Mantuano and more. Check out the schedule of live cooking demos, seminars, book signings and more on the Chicago Gourmet website.


September 23-24

Hyde Park Jazz Fest celebrates their 10th Anniversary this weekend with some special performances around the south side neighborhood.There will be a 90th birthday performance from Randy Weston at Rockefeller Chapel, a solo from Matana Roberts at the Logan Penthouse, a special commission by Puerto Rican composer and musician Miguel Zenon for Chicago's Spektral Quartet and so much more. Visit the festival website for the full schedule.


September 24

Local hero and hip hop star COMMON hosts yet another AAHH Fest in Union Park on Sunday. More than a music festival, AAHH Fest is described as his commitment to the city that supported him on his way up, a commitment to bring jobs, education and inspiration. The lineup will be stacked with Hip-Hop and R&B performers all to benefit Common Ground Foundation and Donda's House. Tickets start at $55.

2017_9_1_FMHarvest FestGALDONES.jpg
Fulton Market Harvest Fest photo by Huge Galdones.


September 30-October 1

Chefs Stephanie Izard and Paul Kahan curate the second annual Fulton Market Harvest Fest on Saturday and Sunday. The fall fest is all about food, with cooking demonstrations, food and beverage classes, and tastes from area restaurant menus. Take part in oyster shucking at Cold Storage, live fire bread baking at Publican Quality Bread or any other number of activities. There’s also a pretty hefty live music lineup and plenty of craft beer to imbibe. Tickets are $30 and include food and drink tickets and an official Harvest Fest beer stein.

Image via Chicago Bacon and Beer Classic’s Facebook event page.


September 30

Bacon and beer go together like, well, bacon and beer. Celebrate two of the greatest edible creations known to man at the Chicago Bacon and Beer Classic at Daley Center Plaza. The all-inclusive event includes more than 50 craft beers from regional breweries and at least 25 original bacon dishes and unlimited bacon strips, plus games like giant Jenga and cornhole. Choose from two session times: 1 or 6 p.m. Tickets are $55.