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Fun Things to Do This Fall in Chicago

By Julia Jakubow


Trees are changing colors in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and water is getting colder on the beaches but there are still fun things to do in Chicago this fall. You can enjoy the city’s music, art, film, and cuisine while celebrating the fall season.



Looking for exciting theatrical performances and compelling stories by talented local and international artists? The Chicago Fringe Festival presents dozens of performances at selected venues in Jefferson Park from August 28 to September 7. It features 48 performance groups including the famous Dream Theater, and The League of Miscreants and Wishbone Theatre Collective. The main box office and information center is the Fringe Central at 4780 N. Milwaukee Ave. Come for after-parties, preview events, music, and other activities to experience the arts and culture in Chicago.

16th Annual World Music Festival


The 16th Annual World Music Festival comes to Chicago and features over 650 artists and groups from over 33 countries. Taking place from September 11 through the 21st, the Festival attracts hundreds of concertgoers. Performances are free admission and are held at the Chicago Cultural Center, DePaul University Concert Hall, Humboldt Park Boathouse, Jay Pritzker Pavilion-Millennium Park, Reva and Logan Arts Center at University of Chicago, and many more. Presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Festival is the ultimate celebration of music and culture. 

27th Annual Apple Fest


Remember the hot apple cider and candy apples? Celebrate fall with the 27th Annual Apple Fest in Lincoln Square on Saturday, September 20. On the 4700 block of N. Lincoln Avenue, this year’s vendors sell fun winter wear and delicious apple treats. Come over for sweet bushels of applies, candy apples, baked apple pie, and apple cider. Giddings Plaza will have music from local musicians and children’s activities throughout the day.



From September 18 to 21, EXPO CHICAGO, or the International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, offers a stunning display of art galleries from more than 16 countries. Right in Navy Pier, see live art performances and get in touch with world’s famous artists, architects, and designers. EXPO CHICAGO also presents the finest selection of new media and film.

Chicago Gourmet


If you’re looking for new and tasty cuisine, the 7th Annual Chicago Gourmet will be held on September 26 through the 28th, showcasing over 150 of Chicago’s finest restaurants and breweries. The Millennium Park will be decked with hundreds of tasting stations where Chicagoans can taste gourmet food, experience live cooking demos, and attend book signings by famous chefs. The Chicago Gourmet includes a BBQ pavilion with expert pit masters and some of the best barbecue restaurants. Renowned chefs Rick Bayless and Food Network’s “Sandwich King,” Jeff Mauro, will be featured at the Gourmet. Bring your food-loving friends!

Great Chicago Fire Festival


On October 4th, the Great Chicago Fire Festival celebrates the city-wide renewal after the tragic Great Fire of 1871. Along the main branch of the Chicago River, residents can watch the large procession and fire spectacle featuring pyrotechnics, music, and acrobatics. Presented by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District, the Great Chicago Fire Festival invites its Chicagoans and the world to celebrate the city. Be a part of what will become a new annual tradition for Chicago.


For all the film-lovers in Chicago, the 48th annual Chicago International Film Festival starts October 10 through the 24th at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street. Come and see heartfelt and compelling foreign films by well-known directors and rising filmmakers. There’s a film for everyone.


Looking for a great way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors this fall? Participate in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday October 12. Runners take a 26 mile tour of the city, going through Chinatown and Lincoln Park, and coming to the finish line in Grant Park. People come from all the United States to run or walk in the marathon and see the sites of the city.


Explore some of Chicago’s most stunning hotels, historic skyscrapers, decorative mansions, and iconic theatres for free. For October 18 through 19, Open House Chicago offers a behind-the-scenes look at the city’s marvelous architecture. Sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, about 150 buildings will open their doors, allowing residents to marvel at their interiors. Visit Chicago’s neighborhoods, residential and cultural spaces, government facilities, and more.


One of Chicago’s most popular fall celebrations, Oktoberfest features traditional German food, beer, brats, and music. Weekend activities and German musical performances will be held at John C. Kluczynski Federal plaza. The Johnny Wagner Band and some of Chicago’s favorite bands will perform nightly. St. Alphonsus Catholic church of South Lakeview will sponsor the event, and more festivities will be held on their grounds. Enjoy the special menu and beer tasting with friends!

 For comments: What is your favorite event/festival of the season?

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