Get a round-up of Chicago events, exhibits, fireworks & festivals during Labor Day weekend September 1–5, 2016.

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Experience it all this Labor Day weekend in Chicago — whether it be the biggest fireworks bonanza around (Navy Pier has you covered!), or just casually soaking up the last moments of summer.

Feel the music and celebrate the history of jazz at the 38th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival at Millennium Park, just one of the many weekend festivals that pack the calendar. To stay near picturesque Lake Michigan, grab your bathing suit and relax at one of Chicago's 23 beaches or travel from park-to-park on the Lakefront Trail. Or go indoors to check out the newest exhibits at Chicago museums.

To cap off summer 2016, what is better than these free and budget-friendly activities? Create your perfect itinerary for Labor Day weekend in Chicago now!  



Chicago Jazz Festival

These are the biggest weekend highlights but you can also check out the complete 2016 Festivals Guide for more event picks like Festival Boricua (September 3-4) and the Beverly Brews Fest (September 3).

Chicago Jazz Festival – FREE
September 1-4
For the 38th year, one of Chicago's oldest free lakefront music festivals will fall on Labor Day weekend. The festival kicks off with an afternoon full of live performances at the Chicago Cultural Center. This year has a handful of powerful acts headlining each night at Millennium Park: Orbert Davis' Soul Migration; Oliver Lake; Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra; The Bad Plus; and Candido's 95th Birthday Celebration featuring M.F. Production's Latin All Stars.

Chicago SummerDance – FREE
September 2-4
Celebrate one of the most expressive art forms practiced around the world right in Chicago's Grant Park. This summer long series features free dance lessons and different live bands all on an outdoor dance floor — the perfect excuse to let loose!

North Coast Music Festival
September 2-4
The best of the best will be performing in Union Park, bringing an eclectic mix of hip hop, indie rock, electronic, jam bands and more. The highly anticipated headliners include Odesza, Bassnectar and Zedd.

African Festival of the Arts
September 2-5
Every Labor Day weekend, Washington Park is transformed into a lively bazaar with handcrafted artwork, vibrant musical performances, children entertainment and activities, authentic cuisine and more.

Taste of Polonia
September 2-5
Jefferson Park hosts this celebration of all things Polish. Get ready for periogies, potato pancakes and blintzes galore! Come for the food, stay for the non-stop live music and cultural festivities.

Navy Pier Summer Fireworks – FREE
September 3
Don't miss the last chance to catch Navy Pier's spectacular fireworks this summer. The night sky lights up at 10:15 pm, but make it a whole day of fun — Navy Pier is home to 50 acres of scenic boardwalk boasting new restaurants, boat tours and attractions like the recently debuted Centennial Wheel. 

Great American Lobster Fest
September 2-3
Complete your Labor Day weekend with this seafood feast set right on the waterfront at Navy Pier. Dig into a whole lobster meal with the works, plus enjoy live music and family-friendly entertainment.



Stingray Touch

Amphibians and Stingray Touch
Shedd Aquarium
Explore the underwater wonders found in nature at this family-friendly favorite.

Brick by Brick
Museum of Science and Industry
Lego blocks go big! See massive scale creations from the beloved colorful bricks.

China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors
The Field Museum
Come face to face with members of an army unearthed from the massive tomb in China.

Lincoln's Undying Words
Chicago History Museum
Be inspired, and challenged, by the words from the President's most significant speeches.

Zoom Room
Chicago Children's Museum
Get lost in three floors of fun, including the ultimate toy car experience.



Wrigley Field at Night

Chicago Cubs Baseball
September 1-4
Head out to Wrigley Field as the Cubs face the San Francisco Giants for the weekend series.

Workouts in the Park - FREE
September 3
Challenge yourself at the final day of this fun outdoor series! Grab a spot on the Great Lawn of Pritzker Pavilion for early morning Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, or Zumba. 

Chicago White Sox Baseball
September 5
On the South Side, catch the White Sox take on the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field on Labor Day afternoon.

Maggie Daley Park - FREE
Located in Chicago's downtown Loop, Maggie Daley Park is the new hot spot for kids with a massive play garden, a rock-climbing wall, and a vast green space.

The 606 - FREE
Go on an urban trek through Chicago neighborhoods on The 606, a 2.7 mile elevated trail that was once an abandoned railroad track. The paved path boasts innovative art installations and access to ground-level parks, and is a scenic way to explore beyond downtown. Bonus: the trail is bike-friendly!

Chicago's Lakefront Beaches - FREE
Ride the trail, lounge in the sand, swim in the water. The city of Chicago has a picturesque back-drop of Lake Michigan, providing 23 beaches and a 26-mile lakefront as well as 8,100 acres of green space and a wide variety of outdoor activities.
FYI: Labor Day weekend is your last chance to enjoy the beaches this summer!


Chicago is here to provide the perfect Labor Day weekend for everyone. Get more holiday happenings on the Events Calendar or browse ready-made Chicago itineraries for more inspiration.

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