Chicago offers a number of festivals in fall, despite (or maybe because of) the shorter days and cooler temperatures. Film festivals, music festivals and even a festival devoted to macaroni and cheese are among the must-see celebrations on the calendar this fall. The next time you’re looking for something to do this fall, keep these festivals in mind.

(Photo Credit:

(Photo Credit:

Chicago International Film Festival
AMC River East 21
322 E. Illinois St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Film buffs and casual movie-goers alike will want to keep their calendars cleared for the Chicago International Film Festival. The long-running festival celebrates its 52nd year and will be held October 13-27. The festival celebrates the works of filmmakers from all over the world, giving festival attendees the opportunity to see works by new and emerging artists. Details regarding the festival lineup and passes are available online. If you‘re interested in attending a screening, it is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance.

Mac & Cheese Fest
UIC Forum
725 W. Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60608

November in Chicago can be dismal and bleak, but for fans of macaroni and cheese, there’s a ray of sunshine in the form of the Mac & Cheese Fest. The one-day festival will be held November 5 and elevates the humble dish to all-star status. Now in its third year, the festival has included new and fresh takes on mac and cheese by restaurants in the Chicago area. General admission tickets are $60, plus fees, while VIP passes are $100, plus fees. Both levels of admission have an “all you can sample” policy.

Rancid (Photo Credit: Riot Fest)

Rancid (Photo Credit: Riot Fest)

Riot Fest
Douglas Park
1401 S. Sacramento Drive
Chicago, IL 60623

Combine a carnival with a musical lineup that includes The Flaming Lips, Morrissey and The Original Misfits, and you get Riot Fest. Held September 16-18 in Douglas Park in the city’s Lawndale neighborhood, the festival boasts more than 100 musical acts that also include Julian Marley, Death Cab for Cutie and Rob Zombie, with the full lineup online. One-day, two-day and three-day festival passes can be purchased too. Festival attendees are advised to take public transportation to Riot Fest; on that note, Douglas Park is located near the California stop on the Pink Line of the “L.”

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Rocktober Beerfest
Randolph St. and Ogden Ave.
Chicago, IL 60607

If you can’t go to Oktoberfest in Munich this fall, then consider making your way to Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood for Rocktober Beerfest on October 7-9. There will be traditional German music, as well as performances by Too White Crew on October 7, The Boy Band on October 8 and 7th Heaven on October 9. Modern Day Romeos, Raise Your Glass and additional acts are also slated to perform, and the full performance lineup is posted on the festival’s website, and if you’d like to check out the festival, then keep in mind admission is $10. Beer from local breweries will also be available for purchase.

World Music Festival Chicago

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly festival, then here’s an option for you. World Music Festival Chicago takes place here, there and everywhere throughout the Windy City, with locations posted on the event’s website. The free event will be held September 9-25 and will include musicians from around the world. Performances are held at various times throughout the day and evening, so you might be able to catch a show on your lunch break or after work.

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at