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8 Must-See Fall Festivals

Chicago is a city that loves festivals — every single month of the year! Here are eight great food, music, theater and film festivals not to miss this fall.

1. WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL CHICAGO

Through September 23, 2018
Various locations citywide
FREE admission

Mariachi Flor de Toloache performs at the Chicago World Music Festival 2017

The 20th Annual World Music Festival Chicago is presented by the City of Chicago and produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. This citywide, multi-venue, 11-day festival has attracted over 650,000 concertgoers and has presented more than 650 artists and ensembles from more than 80 countries since it began in 1999.

2. CHICAGO GOURMET 

September 26-30, 2018
Millennium Park & Various Locations

Chef's cook alongside Adam Rapoport from Bon Apetit magazine

Chicago Gourmet, presented by world-renowned Bon Appétitgrips foodies and the food world with excitement each fall. From September 28-30, 2018, guests will gather at Millennium Park, Harris Theater and the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel as celebrity chefs headline cooking demos on two stages, wine and mixology seminars serve up "the coolest trends in a glass," and an astounding line up of delicious food, wine, spirits and beer tastings tantalize tastebuds. 

3. Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest

Fridays - Sundays, September 28-October 28, 2018
& Monday, October 
FREE Admission

Chidlren racing through the corn maze at Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest

Lincoln Park Zoo embraces autumn in Chicago with its fourth annual Fall Fest, a free, family-friendly celebration that lets you experience harvest fun in the heart of the city. This year’s festival features ticketed attractions throughout the zoo including:

  • a Ferris wheel
  • a corn maze
  • a corn pool
  • a fun slide
  • inflatable obstacle course.
  • animal chats
  • musical entertainment
  • a pumpkin patch
  • professional pumpkin carvers

4. OKTOBERFEST CHICAGO

September 28-30, 2018
St. Alphonsus Church, corner of Lincoln, Wellington & Southport 

Costumed Oktoberfest attendees

“Celebrate Chicago heritage, German style.” One of Chicago's most popular celebrations of fall and all things Bavarian, Oktoberfest Chicago at St. Alphonsus returns for its 16th year. It takes place both in and outside the iconic St. Alphonsus Church. Indulge your taste buds with traditional German brats, pretzels and, of course, beer.

5. HARVEST HOPDOWN BEER FEST

October 5, 2018
Millennium Park

Beer being poured into a glass at Harvest HopDown

Celebrate fall in Chicago at this great seasonal event at Millennium Park. Guests receive a complimentary tasting glass and a voting card to choose the 2018 Harvest HopDown winner! For the 6th annual event, tickets include unlimited seasonal beer tastings from over 25 breweries, beer bites, live music & more.

6. CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

October 10-21, 2018

AMC River East

Evening Crowd at Chicago International Film Festival

Now in its 52nd year, this is North America’s longest-running competitive film festival. In addition to showcasing 150 films from over 50 countries, filmmaker Q&As, red carpet galas, tributes and panels, the Festival also presents “Industry Days,” a 4-day conference for industry professionals. 

7. BEERHOPTACULAR

October 13, 2018
Vertiport

Over 75 different breweries will be pouring out more than 150 unique American craft beers. This is one of the city's original craft beers fests, and after a brief hiatus, it's been coming back in a big way!

8. LATINO MUSIC FESTIVAL 

October 17 – November 18, 2018
Various locations

Presented by the International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC), this is Chicago's only Latino classical music festival, featuring Latin American and Spanish classical music, ranging from the colonial period to the 21st century. 

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