How are you planning to spend your three-day weekend? If you’re still looking for things to do on Labor Day weekend 2016 in Chicago, here are a few of our favorite ways to celebrate the end of summer!
FREE Chicago Jazz Festival — Known for its artistic creativity, the Chicago Jazz Festival is a favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition. It promotes awareness and appreciation for all forms of jazz through free, quality live musical performance. Since 1979, the festival’s mission is to showcase Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages. The 38th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival returns September 1-4, 2016 at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. The free event is a showcase of local and international jazz artists. The roster includes revered saxophonist/composer Benny Golson, saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen the John Scofield/Joe Lovano Quartet and a 95th birthday celebration for legendary percussionist Candido Camero. The Chicago Jazz Festival is also committed to shining the spotlight on emerging local musicians. This year, that includes vocalist Alyssa Allgood, 2014 winner of the DownBeat Award for Best Collegiate Vocal Jazz Soloist. Allgood visited the ABC 7 State Street studios for a preview of her upcoming performance on Saturday, September 3 at 1:10 p.m in Millennium Park at the Von Freeman Pavilion on the South Promenade.
Date: September 1-4
Hours: 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Address: Millennium Park & Chicago Cultural Center
Admission/ Ticket Prices: Free Admission
FREE Taste of Polonia — The Taste of Polonia over Labor Day weekend at the Copernicus Center in Jefferson Park offers non-stop live music, food and fun for four days. Festival Highlights 4 stages and 30+ live bands: rock, pop, jazz, polka, reggae, world & more Varieties of Polish food and beer. Since 1980, Taste of Polonia Festival 2016 — which benefits the Copernicus Foundation — fills the Copernicus Center and grounds with non-stop LIVE MUSIC, food, and activities for all ages yearly over Labor Day Weekend! The Taste of Polonia has been a festival in Jefferson Park since 1980 and encompasses four days of Polish food and beer, plus family-friendly music performances and carnival rides. Free admission. 5-10 p.m Friday, Sept. 2; noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3 and Sunday, Sept. 4; noon to 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5 at 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., www.copernicuscenter.org
FREE Museums This Weekend — The first full weekend of the month is coming, and that means Bank of America customers can visit museums free through the bank’s Museums On Us program. Museums are a source of education, emotion and creative inspiration. Now in its 19th year, this distinctive program offers Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit and debit card holders the opportunity to visit more than 150 of the most popular cultural institutions in the United States free of charge on the first full weekend of every month. Just show your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and a photo ID on Saturday or Sunday, and you will get free admission to more than 150 museums and attractions in cities across the United States.
Supergroup Concert from Rage Against the Machine — Rage guitarist Tom Morello has teamed with some new counterparts to form a new outfit, Prophets of Rage and they will play a concert on Saturdayat Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in south suburban Tinley Park — the ticket prices are relatively modest, starting at $20. Proceeds from the Tinley Park show will benefit the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Morello hates the word supergroup, but when members of Public Enemy (Chuck D.), Cypress Hill (B-Real) and Rage Against the Machine (Morello, Brad Wilk and Tom Commerford) combine, the name fits.
FREE Navy Pier Fireworks and Fun — Navy Pier is hosting a weekend full of events in celebration of Labor Day. The Great American Lobster Fest on Friday and Saturday bills itself as the largest seafood festival in the Midwest, offering lobster flown in from the East Coast, beverages, activities and live music. At the Labor Day Rooftop Party, stylish folks are invited to sip cocktails on Saturday night, listen to music provided by three DJs and enjoy prime viewing of the fireworks show at 10:15 p.m. Or, you can gather in Navy Pier’s Beer Garden to watch the final fireworks display of summer. Details: Various times Friday and Saturday, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.; Saturday fireworks show is free, admission charges apply for other events; www.navypier.com
FREE ON FRIDAY: Naperville’s Last Fling promises four days of live music, a carnival and plenty of kids’ activities at Family Fun Land. Nationally known bands will perform, including the BoDeans, Sugar Ray and Toad the Wet Sprocket. The festivities will culminate in Naperville’s Labor Day Parade on Monday morning. Details: 5-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday; 440 W. Aurora Ave., Naperville; Admission is free on Friday, $35 on Saturday and Sunday, and $30 on Monday; children 11 and under are free with paying adult; www.lastfling.org
African Festival of the Arts: Experience a four-day immersion into African culture and heritage in Chicago’s Washington Park, which becomes transformed into an authentic African village during the Labor Day holiday weekend. Hundreds of vendors and artisans from Africa and the African Diaspora will present artifacts, textiles, traditional crafts and museum quality art. Visitors can explore replica African villages representing the cultures of Nubia (fine art), Kush (wearable arts), Songhay (arts & crafts, natural products), Timbuktu (fabric & fashion) and the banks of the Nile (food). visitors are also invited to bang away on their drum of choice at the Drum Village and learn techniques from master drummers. Details: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday – Monday, Washington Park, 5100 S. Cottage Grove Ave.; $5-$15; www.aihusa.org/african-fesitval-of-the-arts/
Tales from the Fringe: The Chicago Fringe Festival, now in its seventh year, unites daring theatergoers with emerging and boundary-pushing local, national and international performing artists while seeking to engage nontraditional audiences through a commitment to low ticket prices and outreach into artistically underserved communities . While it’s largely theater-oriented, the festival is also open to comedy, dance, musicals, performance art and the unclassifiable. Finding a performance that resonates with you may involve a certain amount of trial and error, but the low ticket price encourages experimentation.Details: Through Sept. 11, various locations in Jefferson Park including Fringe Central, 4801 N. Milwaukee Ave.; Admission is $5, single show tickets are $10; discount multi-packs are available, see website for pricing; www.chicagofringe.org
FREE Pinball Wizards Exhibit: Pinball machine enthusiasts the world over may regard the garish object of their affections as a bona fide art form, and now an academic museum is backing them up. “Skillshot, The Collaborative Art of Pinball,” opening Tuesday at Columbia College Chicago, presents pinball machines as interactive works of art, delving into the history and manufacture of these flashy machines right here in Chicago. Details: Tuesday through Nov. 5, Glass Curtain Gallery of Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., first floor; 312-369-6643 or www.colum.edu/glasscurtain
John von Rhein/Classical: Chiara String Quartet at Ravinia – The exciting American ensemble performs an unusual feat — playing all six of Bela Bartok’s String Quartets from memory, in back-to-back concerts. Azica Records recently issued the Chiara String Quartet’s complete recording of these seminal 20th century masterpieces. The quartet members are artists-in-residence at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Details: 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Bennett Gordon Hall, Ravinia Festival, Lake Cook and Green Bay roads, Highland Park; $10, no lawn; 847-266-5100,www.ravinia.org