We may still have a few weeks before sweater-weather kicks in and everything edible becomes pumpkin-flavored. But, alas, Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer in the city.
That said, it’s not too late to get a taste of summer in the city. Here are our top picks for making this Labor Day a memorable day, Chicago-style.
Great American Lobster Fest
What better way to celebrate the end of summer than a festival devoted to eats from the sea? Head to Navy Pier Friday, Sept. 2 or Saturday, Sept. 3 (there’s also a lobster brunch cruise Sunday,) and chow down. With whole lobster to lobster fries, lobster grilled cheese and lobster bisque, it’s dubbed the Midwest’s largest lobster and seafood festival for good reason. Land-lovers won’t starve with options such as hot dogs and sausages, corn on the cob and fried Oreos. While you digest, take in live music, family games and activities and a few cold brews.
Navy Pier Summer Fireworks
Since you’ll already be at Navy Pier Saturday for Lobster Fest… stick around for the final fee fireworks show of the season at 10:15 p.m. The show pops up every Wednesday and Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so this Saturday is the grand finale. If you’ve not taken a spin yet on the Centennial Wheel, which debuted this summer, take a ride before or after the show.
North Coast Music Festival
Music festivals as an essential part of every Chicago summer. And with fall coming, the calendar is getting thin — fast. Check this one off your warm-weather bucket list by checking out the three-day festival, which runsFriday through Sunday. Held outdoors at Union Park (1501 W. Randolph St.) the list of headliners includes Bassnectar, Zedd and Odesza, as well as tons of other bands. Tickets are still available on the festival website.
Chicago Jazz Festival
If the rock, hip-hop and DJs that dominate the North Coast festival aren’t your thing, get a smoother festival fix at this free event in Millennium Park. Taking place Thursday through Sunday, the Labor Day tradition that’sbeen around since 1979 aims to showcase the city’s ample jazz talent, and brings in national and international musicians. With smooth sounds and a view from beneath the park’s famed arches, the festival is a great way to close out the summer.
Taste of Polonia
You can never attend too many festivals during a Chicago summer. Before they dwindle to none, attend a festival that celebrates the city’s vast Polish heritage. Held every Labor Day weekend in Jefferson Park from Friday through Monday, there are four stages of non-stop music, Polish food – think pierogis, sausage and potato pancakes – craft beer, kids activities and more. It’s the perfect way to close out the summer.