The Best Ways to Spend Labor Day Weekend in Chicago
For many, Labor Day serves as the end of summer. It can be fun to celebrate the long weekend by doing something special. Living in the Chicago area means there’s no shortage of fun things to do with your family and friends. Our team at Americash Jewelry & Coin Buyer created this list of some of the best ways to spend Labor Day weekend in Chicago to help you learn about your exciting options.
Chicago Jazz Festival
The Chicago Jazz Festival is an annual festival presented in collaboration by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Jazz Institute of Chicago. DCASE produces this legendary event, and the Jazz Institute of Chicago programs an impressive lineup, including the neighborhood jazz events throughout the city from Aug. 23 to 31. This iconic festival began 40 years ago after Chicago musicians gathered to honor Duke Ellington after his passing. This inspired the Mayor’s Office of Special Events and the Jazz Institute of Chicago to join forces to produce one of the world’s largest free jazz festivals.
Festivities for the Chicago Jazz Festival begin Thursday, Sept. 1, and conclude Sunday, Sept. 4. The festival primarily takes place in Millennium Park at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, but be sure to refer to the festival schedule for specific set times and locations. Admission is free, and seating in the lower bowl of the pavilion is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The festival allows guests to bring picnic blankets and outside food to enjoy, but it prohibits outside alcohol. However, food and alcohol may be available from concession tents, carts, and nearby restaurants.
Fifth Third Bike the Drive
Fifth Third Bike the Drive may be perfect for you if you’d prefer something active to do this Labor Day weekend in Chicago. This unique benefit event shuts down Jean Baptiste DuSable Lake Shore Drive, creating a nearly 30-mile path for cyclists of all ages and skill levels to enjoy. With multiple entries and stop points along the route, you can enjoy a scenic bike ride for as long or short a distance as you want. You can even rent one from the event if you don’t own a bike.
If you want to participate in Fifth Third Bike the Drive, be sure to register in advance. General admission for adults is $51 in advance or $70 on the day of the event and $18 for youth participants at all times, and there are group discounts available. There are also add-ons available, such as getting a medal for $15 or enjoying a pancake breakfast for $12. Event proceeds benefit the nonprofit advocacy organization the Active Transportation Alliance, which works to improve transport conditions throughout Chicago.
This cycling event takes place in Grant Park on Sunday, Sept. 4, and it concludes in the park with a festival celebration. Participants can begin riding as early as 6:30 a.m., and event organizers encourage beginning by 8 a.m. to ensure you enjoy as much of the ride as possible. Riding ends by noon, giving you some time to enjoy the event festival with live music, food, and family-friendly activities.
Visiting Navy Pier offers plenty of fun for the whole family. Kids may enjoy riding the classic carnival rides, playing games, or visiting one of the attractions, such as the Chicago Children’s Museum. If you’re spending your Chicago Labor Day weekend with an older crowd, consider heading to one of the several restaurants or bars or enjoying one of the dining cruises.
Labor Day marks the end of Navy Pier’s free summer fireworks. These firework shows happen every Wednesday and Saturday night from Memorial Day until Labor Day weekend. They feature a spectacular nighttime set to a popular music soundtrack and other fanfare. Wednesday evening shows begin at 9 p.m., and Saturday evening shows start at 10 p.m.
Visiting Navy Pier during this holiday weekend also allows you to attend various events. For example, the Great American Lobster Fest brings seafood and lobster flown fresh from the East Coast to the pier all weekend. Music lovers may enjoy Live on the Lake!, a series featuring live music at the Beer Garden during summer weekends. Bitter Jester Music Festival concludes the weekend in the Beer Garden. This festival, which kicks off Monday, Sept. 5, is a music competition supporting up-and-coming bands and solo artists from the Midwest.
Taste of Polonia
Taste of Polonia returns for another year of family fun. The festival, which is the largest Polish festival in the United States, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Guests may enjoy live music from more than 35 acts at four stages throughout the weekend, along with carnival rides, carnival games, casino games, inflatables, cooking classes, vendors, a craft beer tent, and more. The festival also introduced a new Copernicus 5K Run & One Mile Walk this year.
Proceeds from Taste of Polonia benefit the Copernicus Foundation, which supports the Copernicus Center. This foundation began in 1971 as a nonprofit organization whose purpose was to be a prominent civic, cultural, educational, entertainment, and recreational resource for the metropolitan Chicago area. This festival creates a unique opportunity for the foundation to celebrate Polish culture through folk dancing, classical music, tourism films, and other various cultural events.
Taste of Polonia takes place at the Copernicus Center and surrounding outdoor areas. The four-day festival runs from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, noon to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9:30 p.m. on Monday. Festival tickets start at $15, and children ages 12 and under may attend for free.
Well, there you have it. Americash Jewelry & Coin Buyer just filled you in on some of the best ways to spend Labor Day weekend in Chicago. What do you think of our list? If you know about a fun Labor Day Activity we forgot to include, drop us a line to share the details. We may even update our guide to have your recommendation for our readers.