Chicago Jazz Festival
You don’t need to plan a Labor Day weekend away to have relaxing family fun. Chicago welcomes its annual free four-day jazz fest, September 1-4 at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. As long as the weather stays clear, the concerts at Jay Pritzker Pavilion are the perfect place to bring the family for a night of live jazz tunes. Pack a blanket, picnic food and a few toyw to keep younger ones occupied. Check the full schedule online to plan before you go.
Midnight Circus in the Parks
The circus isn’t popular the way it used to be, and for the last ten years Midnight Circus in the Parks has been trying to change that. This troupe of zany and talented performers has a mission of ‘bringing circus to the people’ by giving shows in a different Chicago park every weekend. And don’t let the name fool you – most performances start at 3:00pm, making it a kid-friendly event. Catch a show near you through October.
Free Museum Days
A family trip to the museum is a great activity on any day, but getting in for free always makes it better. Free days for Illinois residents at Chicago museums are stacking up in September, so clear your schedule, grab the kids and hit them all.
- Adler Planetarium: September 12-16
- The Field Museum: September 10, 17-19
- Museum of Science and Industry: September 6-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30
- Shedd Aquarium: September 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
- Peggy Notebart Nature Museum: every Thursday
Chicago Fringe Festival
If your kids have a reputation of being the class clown or star of the show, the Chicago Fringe Festival is the place for them. Fringes are performance festivals full of mini plays, stand-up routines, sketch shows and more, that take place in cities all around the world. Chicago Fringe runs for the seventh time in Jefferson Park from August 31-September 11. With over 200 performances packed in, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Keep in mind that all adult shows are uncensored for profanity, but there is an entire Kids Fringe with crafts, games, books and a lineup of shows suitable for children under 12.
Watch a Baseball Game
Whether you hail from the North or South Side, Chicago has all your baseball needs covered. September wraps up the baseball season, usually resulting in budget-friendly tickets. The White Sox are sitting with a mediocre record, making it a great destination for low-pressure game days and cheaper prices. But the Cubs are leading the National League in a must-see charge to the postseason, also warranting a visit. An afternoon at the ballpark is the quintessential way to close out the summer and say goodbye to the warm weather. So grab your seats now and make sure the kids bring their mitts if you’re sitting in foul ball territory.