With summer winding down, September is one of the last months to take full advantage of all Chicago’s favorite outdoor activities. From world-class food and drink festivals, to live music, neighborhood cultural celebrations, and more, there’s no shortage of events to enjoy these next few weeks. Here’s our list of can’t-miss things to do in September this month.

Chicago Gourmet(Sept. 1 – 30):Local chefs Stephanie Izard and Rick Bayless host foodie celebrations with additional in-person dining events throughout the month. 

Chicago Architecture Biennial (Sept. 17): The “world’s fair” of architectural exhibits, this year’s exhibition, titled The Available City, takes over the Chicago Cultural Center.

Frida Kahlo: Timeless(through Sept. 12): Admire 26 original works of Frida Kahlo, including an inspired-garden and over 100 photographic images.

Pullman Visitors Center Grand Opening(Sept. 4 – 5): Celebrate the historic grand opening of the Pullman National Monument Visitor Center.

Printers Row Lit Fest(Sept. 11 – 12): Head to the Printer’s Row neighborhood in the South Loop for the largest outdoor literary showcase in the Midwest.

Art on theMART

Art on the Mart (through Sept. 16): The Obama Portraits from the Art Institute of Chicago are just one of this month’s installation of images that are projected nightly on the river facade of the Merchandise Mart. 

Riot Fest(Sept. 16 – 19): Head to Douglass Park for the rock and punk focused festival, with Taking Back Sunday, and New Found Glory headlining. 

House City (Sept. 12 and 19): Spend your September Sundays celebrating the house music genre in two different free events, with live DJs in South Shore and Bronzeville. 

¡Súbelo! (Sept. 4):  Enjoy the good music and vibes from the city’s various Latinx performers MOLOTOV, Kinky, and more in Harrison Park. 

Puerto Rican Fest(Sept. 24 – 26): Humboldt Park is transformed into a celebration of the culture and customs of all things Puerto Rico.

International Latino Theater Festival (Sept. 23 – Oct. 17): Experience a diverse array of Latin-centric performances across the city, including the Goodman Theatre.

Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork music festival (Sept. 10 – 12): The laidback music fest returns to Union Park, with Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, and Erykah Badu headlining. 

ARC Music Festival (Sept. 4 – 5): Enjoy the global electronic music wave in Chicago the weekend of Labor Day at Union Park. 

North Coast Music Festival (Sept. 3 – 5): Kaskade, Griz, and Zed’s Dead headline this electronic and rock fest in Seatgeek Stadium in Bridgeview. 

Reeling Film Festival (Sept. 23 – Oct. 7): This long-running film fest showcases LGBTQ+ movies from around the world. Don’t miss opening night at the Music Box Theatre.

Roscoe Village Burger Fest(Sept. 3 – 5): Burger lovers galore take over Roscoe Village for the annual burger fest filled with music, drinks, and endless burgers.

Marvelous Arcade Pop-Up at Replay Lincoln Park (Sept. 1 – 6): Fans of the Marvel Comics world won’t want to miss this pop-up filled with Marvel-themed pinball games, and more.

Bike the Drive on Lake Shore Drive
Bike the Drive on Lake Shore Drive

Bike the Drive (Sept. 5): This year is the 20th annual Bike the Drive, where bikers take over Lake Shore Drive for a car-free, 30-mile bike experience.

Chicago In Tune Festival(through Sept. 19): Gospel, jazz, blues, and house music performances take over Millennium Park for this free music fest throughout September.

Navy Pier fireworks (through Sept. 25): Every Wednesday and Saturday evening enjoy the fireworks show over Lake Michigan. 

The Art of Banksy (Sept. 1 – 30): Savor over 80 pieces of Banksy art at this massive exhibit valuing over $35 million.  

Chicago LIVE Again! at Navy Pier (Sept. 24 – 25): A free festival celebrating the city’s arts and entertainment, with live performances from esteemed cultural groups and artists.

Meet Me on the Mile (Sept. 26): Soak up a car-free Michigan Avenue and enjoy the sights, sounds, and local businesses for a one-of-a-kind outdoor activation.  

Metro Farms Tour(Sept. 1 – 30): Learn about indoor aquaponics with a tour of the local Metropolitan Farm and how local farming impacts urban dining. 

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit (Sept. 1 – 30): With over 500,000 cubic feet of immersive projections, there’s a lot to see (and love) if you’re a Vincent Van Gogh fan.   

Artfest Michigan Avenue(Sept. 18 – 19): This free artfest featuring 70 local artists takes over the Tribune Building on Michigan Avenue. 

Chicago Vegandale(Sept. 11): More than 100 nationwide vegan food, drink and manufacturer vendors will showcase their artistry at Grant Park for a one-day festival.

ChiTown Movies Drive-in Theatre(Sept. 1 – 30): Experience the old-fashioned drive through movie experience in Pilsen for a variety of rotating movies throughout the month.

Lakeview Taco Fest(Sept. 18 – 19): Southport Corridor gets a taco takeover filled with live music, plenty of tacos, and lots of margaritas and beer to wash it all down.

Global Peace Picnic(Sept. 25): Commemorate the United Nations International Day of Peace in Humboldt Park with music, and family-friendly picnic activities.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple

Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk(Sept. 18): Tour eight private residences and two landmark buildings across Chicago designed by famed architectural artist Frank Lloyd Wright. 

Architecture River Tours (Sept. 1 – 30): Hop on board Chicago’s First Lady for an architectural boat tour around the Chicago River. 

Craft Brews at Lincoln Park Zoo (Sept. 17): Enjoy a selection of over 150 craft beers and ciders hosted by the Lincoln Park Zoo.  

Green City Market Chef BBQ(Sept. 9): Chicago’s top restaurants, chefs, breweries, winemakers, and more, take over Lincoln Park’s Green City Market for a BBQ that celebrates all things local.

Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall (Sept 1 – 6): Head to the Field Museum for an interactive experience learning about Dr. Jane Goodall and her work with chimpanzees. 

Sportsman’s Club Summer BBQ Series (Sundays throughout September): Ukrainian Village hot spot opens up rotating chefs for a chef-driven BBQ that’s sure to please any palate. 

Chicago Summer Dance (Sept 1 – 15): Dance it out with a backdrop of the city’s skyline throughout various neighborhoods.

Teatro ZinZanni(ongoing): Cabaret, music, circus, and a four-course dinner? This show is a feast for both your eyes and stomach.

Maxwell Street Market(Sept. 5 and 19): Homemade crafts, live music, food, drink and fun make up this speciality outdoor market on Maxwell Street.

Chicago Shakespeare in the Park(Sept. 2 and 4): Local musicians and artists will be performing DREAM, a spin on the classic A Midsummer’s Night Dream throughout various neighborhoods.

Mandela: Struggle for Freedom(Through Sept. 12): This special exhibition focuses on an immersive environment learning about Nelson Mandela, including a replica of his eight-by-seven foot prison cell.

Sundays on State (throughout September): The iconic State Street closes down to traffic for a city-wide block party featuring shopping, food, drinks, music, and more.

An architecture boat cruise on the Chicago River

Cider Cruise at the Northman Riverwalk (Sept 3): Head to the Northman on the Riverwalk for a unique architectural tour with cider and snacks. 

Chicago Comics: 1960s to Now (Sept 1 – 30): This new exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art showcases six decades of cartooning, including various schools, styles, and modes of publication. 

French Market at Gallagher Way (Sept. 9, 23, 30): Transport yourself to the city of lights with the French Market pop-up at Gallagher way, featuring imported cheeses, jams, pasta, and more.

Marvel: Universe of Superheroes(throughout September): Browse 300 original artifacts of the Marvel Universe at this speciality exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.

International Festival of Life(Sept. 11 – 12): Celebrate African Caribbean culture at this Washington Park festival that includes food, drink, music, games, and crafts.

Human + Nature (throughout September): This new outdoor exhibit is showcased at the Morton Arboretum, and highlights the awe-inspiring connection between people and trees.

Hyde Park Jazz Fest (Sept. 25 – 26): Head to Hyde Park for a jam-packed weekend of live jazz performances at this annual neighborhood music festival. 

Sonic Pavilion Festival(Sept. 7, 14, 23, 30): Over 30 sound installations will take over the trellis loudspeaker at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion for a unique live music experience with dazzling skyline views. 

John Legend at Ravinia(Sept. 5 and 6): Beloved artist John Legend comes to the Ravinia stageas part of his “Bigger Love” tour.