Oak Street Beach

If you're interested in perfectly poured steins, college football in Soldier Field or watching live music from atop a Ferris wheel, Chicago is the place to be this weekend. Tiger Woods is playing golf in suburban Lake Forest; the University of Illinois is coming "home" to Chicago; and the city's hosting music from throughout the world. Get loose, it's time to make weekend plans.

University of Illinois vs. Washington in Soldier Field (September 14)

I thought this was going to be a sacrificial football season for the University of Illinois. I'm an alumnus; I can say that without having an O & O poured over my head. But the Illini are out to a 2-0 start with an impressive win last weekend against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is playing out of his mind with 728 yards and six touchdowns in the first two games, and head coach Tim Beckman seems to be off the hot seat for the first time in a year. Illinois desperately wants to be "Chicago's team," which is a dubious claim considering Northwestern's recent gridiron renaissance in Evanston, but a win against Washington in Soldier Field would do a lot to bolster Illinois' case.

Riot Fest (September 13-15)

Riot Fest

Riot Fest is back for another go-round in Humboldt Park, complete with carnival rides and a lineup that reads like my 100 disc CD changer in high school. Local legends turned international touring acts like the Smoking Popes, Lawrence Arms and Fall Out Boy will be there, as well as some household names like Blink 182, Pixies and a reunion performance from The Replacements. This will be super weird and awesome, which is what festival season is all about, really.

Berghoff Oktoberfest (September 11-13)


Yes, we know it's September, but we have steins that need filling and it's been wayyy too long since we heard some accordion music. Thankfully, the Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group is kicking off the season - as they've done for the past 28 years - with Berghoff Oktoberfest. The celebration starts at the John C. Kluczynski Federal Plaza with traditional German music, food and beer.

BMW Championship (Through September 15)

Some of the world's biggest golfers are in suburban Lake Forest this weekend to compete for the BMW Championship (read: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy). Golfers that finish in the top 30 spots of the point standings get a shot the Tour Championship next week in Atlanta, so there's a lot on the line this weekend.

World of Music Festival (Through September 22)

Beginning today, the City of Chicago presents an 11 day festival that's showcased more than 600 artists and ensembles from over 80 countries since it began in 1999. The World Music Festival runs through September 22 and features performers from all over the globe in multiple venues throughout Chicago. For performances in Millennium Park, click here. For performances at the Chicago Cultural Center, click here. And for a complete schedule of this year's festivities, click here.