Have a group visiting Chicago during the fall? There's no shortage of fun things to do, especially with this packed lineup of large-scale festivals and special events in Chicago on the calendar. From cultural celebrations and fine art productions to music festivals and special anniversary seasons, this is the hit list.


Chicago Gourmet

Chicago Jazz Festival
August 31 - September 3, 2017
Millennium Park

As the largest free festival of its kind in the world, expect hundreds of thousands of attendees flocking to Millennium Park to watch top-name jazz performers as they take the stage in Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

September 7 - October 7, 2017
The Berghoff Restaurant

Get ready to toast to the 33rd anniversary of this free annual event — Chicago's largest and longest-running Oktoberfest party — which includes live music and classic Berghoff German dishes, such as bratwurst and Bavarian soft pretzels. 

Chicago German-American Fest
September 8 - 10, 2017
N. Western Ave. and N. Lincoln Ave.

This annual event celebrates all things German. Traditional interactive cultural programs, music, dancing and, of course, great food and beverages are available at this three-day festival in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.

19th Annual World Music Festival Chicago

September 8 - 24, 2017 
Multiple Locations

Showcasing international musicians at venues throughout the city, the 19th Annual World Music Festival Chicago celebrates diverse music from around the world with free musical performances at Jay Pritzker Pavilion and an array of cultural performances, such as contemporary Moroccan music in the Gnawa tradition and Southern Slavic folk played by a tamburitza band.

September 14 - 17, 2017 
Navy Pier

Navy Pier's Festival Hall will be bursting with creative energy, as 140 prominent international galleries from 16 countries and 45 cities will present thought-provoking artwork, while expert panels, a lecture series, site-specific installations and a selection of forward-thinking film, video and new media works will give attendees plenty to see, do and think about during this four-day event.

Chicago Architecture Biennial

September 16 - January 7, 2018
Multiple Locations

Over 100 participating architects and artists based in more than 25 countries will converge for this free event showcasing exhibitions, large-scale installations and programs throughout the city.

Reeling: The 35th Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival

September 21 - 28, 2017 
Various Theaters

As the second longest-running LGBTQ film festival in the world, Reeling has established itself as a groundbreaking event, featuring diverse films and invaluable events. This year's festival will screen approximately 100 independent films, as well as special events, industry panels and seminars.

Chicago Gourmet

September 19 - 24, 2017 
Millennium Park

Eat, drink and be merry at the nation's leading culinary experience, where chefs, master sommeliers and wine, spirit and beer-makers show off their skills and wares in a series of live cooking demonstrations, interactive wine and cocktail seminars, and — of course — plenty of tastings. Expect a star-studded lineup of celebrity chefs, including the likes of Rick Bayless and Stephanie Izard.


Open House Chicago

Historic Pullman House Tour
October 7 - 8, 2017
Pullman Neighborhood

For one weekend, residents in the historic Pullman neighborhood open their doors to the public for this annual tour, where attendees can peek beyond the beautiful facades to see inside grand mansions, workers' cottages and unique apartment buildings.

Chicago International Film Festival
October 12 - 26, 2017 
AMC River East 21

A must for movie lovers, this annual festival screens more than 150 works from more than 60 countries, from narrative features and documentaries to short films.  

Open House Chicago
October 14 - 15, 2017
Various Locations

For 48 hours, go behind-the-scenes of 200 buildings across Chicago — from hidden gems to architectural icons — in this free public festival presented by the Chicago Architecture Center.

Chicago Ideas Week

October 16 - 22, 2017
Multiple Locations

Get inspired at this empowering experience, where entertaining and accessible events, grassroots initiatives and fascinating content presented by innovative speakers (think A-list actors, eminent entrepreneurs, tech moguls and politicians) move attendees to action. Many events cost only $15 per ticket, making it an affordable and accessible experience for community members.

Arts in the Dark
October 21, 2017
Balbo Street to Monroe Street
Harnessing the imagination of Chicago's creative community, artists from world-renowned institutions will combine forces to produce an over-the-top Halloween parade featuring large-scale creations, costumed performers, and music and dance as it moves north from Balbo to Monroe in a spectacular procession.

November 2 - 5, 2017 
Navy Pier
View sculptural objects, functional art and design at this annual gallery-presented art fair, where approximately 35,000 attendees peruse the wares of 80 dealers. This artistic gathering also offers a lecture series and special events examining the artwork on display.


Related Listings

Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-5300

Steppenwolf Theatre Company
1650 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 335-1650

The Joffrey Ballet
Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 739-0120

Lyric Opera of Chicago
20 N. Wacker Dr., Ste. 860
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 827-5600

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