Another Labor Day rolls around, but Chicago holds on to summer as long as it possibly can. We’ve written a guide to most of the festivals happening around town this weekend, such as the African Festival of the Arts, Taste of Polonia, the North Coast Music Festival and more. Of course, don’t miss out on the fireworks at Navy Pier. Here's our roundup of things to do in Chicago this weekend!
Chicago Jazz Festival
August 31-September 4 // Free admission
Now in its 39th year, the Chicago Jazz Festival is a weekend full of soulful sounds of a genre that was heavily influenced by the city. Join the Ellabration during the tribute to the legendary Ella Fitzgerald, or pack a picnic for sets by headliners such as Jon Faddis, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Allison Miller Boom Boom and the Rebirth Brass Band, all in Millennium Park. Check out the schedule, bring a picnic and enjoy the smooth sounds of the festival.
Lucha Libre en el Parque
September 2 // Free admission
Watch luchadors rumble it out in Unity Park during the Lucha Libre en el Parque. Several WWE fighters are scheduled to appear during the open air match to finish off the summer.
Great American Lobster Fest
September 1-3 // $10 and up
The largest seafood festivals in the Midwest takes on Navy Pier this weekend. Fresh lobster will be flown in from the East Coast to be turned into rolls, surf and turf burgers, bisque, po’boys and more, and entertainment from bands such as The Giving Tree Band, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Piano Man, a tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel, will have you bobbing in your bibs.
Chicago Fringe Festival
Through September 10 // $5 admission, $10 and up per show
Ready for an original, uncensored, weird time? The Chicago Fringe Festival is running now through September 10. With more than 45 productions showing through Jefferson Park during the festival, you’ll be sure to find a show that’s just as strange as you are.
CHICAGO BY NIGHT! Date Night Special Cruises
Thursdays and Fridays through October 6 // $60
Grab someone special for Mercury Cruises’ Date Night Specials. Take advantage of a fall river cruise and complimentary bottle of wine while taking in the city lights. Of course, there's a Chicago boat tour for every interest, so make room in your Labor Day plans to spend some time on the water. Whether you're an architecture junkie, family cruiser or adventure seeker, check out this blog to see which cruise might be the best fit for you.
Closing Weekend for Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA
Through September 3 // $39 and up
Get lost in the magic of LUZIA, the Cirque du Soleil show inspired by the vibrancy of Mexico. As one of the theater company’s first shows to incorporate water tricks with aerials and acrobatics, LUZIA brings the audience into a dreamlike world of color and fantasy. Hurry up and get your seats--the show packs up on Sunday, September 3.
Last Call for Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist
Through September 10 // $29 and up
French artist Paul Gauguin is renown for his depictions of Tahiti in paint, but he was proficient in several media, including woodworking and sculpture. In this detailed examination of his work, Artist as Alchemist explores how Gauguin used unconventional tactics to create work unlike anyone else’s. Take the time to explore these other galleries, too, that celebrate the works of Saul Steinburg and Cauleen Smith.
An extra day off also means an extra day to drink, brunch and play. Soak up one of the last few summer nights on one of these Chicago patios at night, and follow it up the next morning with a trendy brunch. This three-day guide for urban explorers should be a great way to fill in the time between meals. The next few weeks are going to be busy in Chicago; between EXPO Chicago and the Chicago Architecture Biennial kickoff, we’re ready to welcome a fall full of artistic events to the city.