Summer isn’t exactly over, so why not spend one of the last weekends of the season at a festival or two? Celebrate the start of fall and take in a live performance by jazz legends, all within the Chicago area. You and your family can spend a relaxing weekend with the following family-friendly events for the 2015 Labor Day weekend. Here’s a reminder: if you’re headed to a festival within the city of Chicago, consider keeping the car at home and getting around town via public transportation instead of looking for parking spots.
Chicago Jazz Festival
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Dates: Through Sept. 6
You don’t have to spend money to hear world-class jazz performances in Chicago. The Chicago Jazz Festival, which is a long-standing tradition for many Chicagoans and is now in its 37th year, features wall-to-wall jazz performances at the famed Millennium Park. This year’s performance lineup includes musicians Fred Hersch Trio, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Brian Gephart Sextet, Jane Bunnett and Manqueque, and Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band. Millennium Park’s central location makes it easy to get to the festival, even if you’re traveling in from the suburbs. You can also pack a picnic basket and enjoy lunch or dinner under the Chicago’s famed skyline while taking in some great musical performances.
5100 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615
Dates: Sept. 4 – 7
Spend Labor Day weekend celebrating art and music with the African Festival of the Arts. Now in its 26th year, the annual event includes works by artists from all over the world, as well as live musical performances and plenty of food. This year’s musical lineup includes performances by R&B singer K’Jon, and Chicago-based jazz and blues singer Joan Collaso. Family-friendly music is scheduled for the World Stage at the festival, too. The festival’s family pavilion gives artists and musicians of all ages an opportunity to explore theatre, games and more. Tickets to the festival can be purchased in advance; for additional details, check out African Festival of the Arts’ website. Several public transportation options are available near the festival grounds.
Taste Of Polonia
5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630
Dates: Sept. 4 – 7
Celebrate all things Polish at the Taste of Polonia. The four-day event, an annual tradition for many families and held in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood, has more than 55 acts on the schedule. You and your family can catch performances by tribute bands that include American English and Hairbangers Ball, as well as world, reggae, pop and more. And what’s a celebration of Polish culture without some polka music? While you’re there, feast on food from restaurants throughout Chicago. While parking is available, your best bet may be to take the CTA’s “L” and depart from the Blue Line’s Jefferson Park stop.
Related: Best Go Kart Tracks In Chicago
Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center
101 Schaumburg Court
Schaumburg, IL 60193
Dates: Sept. 5 – 7
Say goodbye to summer in style with Schaumburg’s 45th annual Septemberfest. The northwest suburb’s celebration includes carnival rides, a bingo tent, arts and crafts show, pony rides and a fireworks show on Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. This year’s musical performances include tribute bands and country music acts, with Journey’s former lead vocalist Steve Augeri and country music singer Mark Chesnutt among the performers. Other musical acts on the schedule include Chicago’s own 7th Heaven and Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press. The celebration also includes a parade on Sept. 7 starting at 10 a.m.
1S151 Winfield Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
Dates: September 6 & 7
Price: Free; parking fees apply
Pack up your favorite picnic blanket and make your way to the afternoon concerts at Cantigny Park in the western suburb of Wheaton for some family-friendly musical performances. The concert on Sept. 6 features the band Pirates over 40, and big band group Chicago Skyliners take the stage on Sept. 7. Both shows start at 3 p.m. and are free. Take a look at Cantigny Park’s website for information regarding parking fees. Plan to arrive early and explore the gardens and mansion at Cantigny Park, too.