5 Things to Do: Labor Day Weekend 2017

Hello, September!

Spend your Labor Day weekend at Chicago festivals all about jazz, lobster, Poland or Ireland, or explore Evanston’s beautiful lakefront. Plus, find multiple ways to give back this week and next.

Chicago Jazz Festival

Labor Day: Chicago Jazz Festival

Photo courtesy of DCASE, City of Chicago.

Aug. 31 to Sept. 3

This free Labor Day festival is back with performances by Jon Faddis, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom, the Rebirth Brass Band and more. An art fair will also take place alongside the jazz festival with official art fair artist Adam Guichard.

The Great American Lobster Fest

Labor Day: Great American Lobster Fest

Photo courtesy of The Great American Lobster Fest.

Sept. 1-3

Navy Pier will host the Midwest’s largest lobster and seafood festival this Labor Day weekend. Dine on lobster from the East Coast, enjoy live music, take part in family games and activities, shop crafts and more.

Taste of Polonia

Labor Day: Taste of Polonia

Photo courtesy of Taste of Polonia.

Sept. 1-4

The Copernicus Center in Jefferson Park will be the site of this annual festival featuring four stages with more than 30 bands, carnival rides, folk dancing, vendors, a kids area, and Polish food and beer.

Evanston History Center Walking Tour: Evanston’s Lakefront

Labor Day: Evanston History Center

Photo courtesy of the Evanston History Center.

Sept. 2

Explore Evanston’s lakefront with a docent-led walking tour. Learn more about shipwrecks, boathouses, parks, beaches and more connected to the stunning lakefront along Evanston.

Irish Days

Labor Day: Irish Days in Long Grove

Photo courtesy of Grimaldi Public Relations.

Sept. 2-4
Long Grove

This free festival will feature entertainment from Irish musicians, singers and dancers, an Irish Dog Competition, a Wee Ones Area with storytelling, crafts and more, a leprechaun hunt, and traditional food and beer.


  • The final Monday Night Car Shows event of the year, Truck Night, will take place Sept. 4, at Westfield Old Orchard. This free show also offers food from restaurants at the mall, kids’ activities and more.

Give Back Opportunities

Feature photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash.


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Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of Glenbrook South High School and the University of Missouri, she loves cheering on the Cubs and Blackhawks and also fears she watches too much Netflix.