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Riot Fest 2015
Photograph: Carolina Mariana Rodriguez

46 exciting openings in Chicago in September

Written by
Grace Perry

September is possibly the most beautiful month in Chicago. The oppressive summer heat is winding down, the days are still long and you can probably squeeze in a beach day or two. It’s the best of both worlds: You can dig into to those awesome fall activities and still drink outside (phew). The city is buzzing with excitement this month, so here are 46 September openings to take advantage of.


Sept (throughout): Get your heart rate up and have fun doing it with Chicago Sport and Social Club. From football to bar trivia, you’ll be sure to find the right, erm, “sport” for you.

Sept 2-3: Get bougie and chow down on fresh seafood flown in straight from Boston at the Great American Lobsterfest.

Sept 2-4: Enjoy three days of relaxation during Labor Day weekend in Chicago.

Sept 8: Adult Swim is setting up a huge inflatable screen at Soldier Field for a night of unaired episodes, pilots and more during the Chicago stop of its Drive-In tour.

Sept 9-11: Celebrate Mexican Independence Day a little early at the Festival de la Villita in Little Village. Enjoy three days of vendors, carnival rides and lots of dancing.

Sept 9-11: Watch three-on-three horseback hockey at the Qatar Airways Chicago Beach Polo Cup at North Avenue Beach.

Sept 9-11: Trekkies, unite! The Official Star Trek Convention invades Rosemont for one September weekend.

Sept 9-11: Throw on your lederhosen and kick off Oktoberfest season at Lincoln Square’s annual German-American Fest.

Sept 10: Lagunitas is throwing down once again for its third annual Beer Circus, a Chicago-brewed beer fest with live music and wonderfully bizarre sideshow acts.

Sept 10, 11:The annual Ravenswood ArtWalk showcases hundreds of local artists and musicians during a weekend that celebrates Chicago art.

Sept 10, 11: Any serious crafter should stop by Renegade Craft Fair, a mega fair with hundreds of special crafts and gifts for sale.

Sept 15: ACTIVATE, the wildest, weirdest art show/dance party you’ll find, inhabits the Cow Path Alley (at 100 W Monroe St) for a celebration of taste.

Sept 19: Kick off the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, a perennial favorite, at their Preview Party. Enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a complete look at this October’s film fest. 

Sept 23-25: Millennium Park becomes the Food Network incarnate for one weekend with Chicago Gourmet, three days of cook-offs, tastings, book signings and more.

Sept 23, 24: At Revolution Brewing’s annual Oktoberfest party, guests get a refillable half-liter beer stein to try eight of Revolution’s best brews (including their Oktoberfest ale, of course).

Sept 24: Bring the whole family to the Rogers Park Harvest Celebration at Willye B. White Park for free hayrides, games and refreshments.

Sept 30: Oyster season ain’t over yet, people. Shaw’s Crab House’s Oyster Fest will feature fish tacos, lobster rolls, clam chowder and dozens of oysters.

Sept 30,  Oct 1: West Town celebrates all kinds of art—visual, fashion, musical, culinary—at the annual West Town Art Walk. This year’s event is being held in conjunction with the West Town Food Truck Social. 


Sept 1: Home Run Inn opens its new Berwyn location, starting with carryout pizzas and phasing into dinner service on Sept 6 and lunch on Sept 13. 

Sept TBA: GT Prime will open from chef Giuseppe Tentori and BOKA restaurant group at 707 N Wells, just down the street from GT Fish and Oyster.

Sept TBA: SmallBar, Arami and Heineken Pub 97 owner Ty Fujimura will open Entente with chef Brian Fisher (Schwa), featuring a seasonal a la carte menu, chef’s tasting menu and extensive bar program.

Note: Restaurant and bar openings are subject to change and can be delayed. Call ahead before setting out.


Sept 1–4: Kick off the month with free performances by the Liberation Music Orchestra and the Bad Plus (playing Ornette Coleman's Science Fiction) at the Chicago Jazz Festival.

Sept 2–4: EDM rules the bill at this year's North Coast Music Festival, including genre heavyweights like Bassnectar, Odesza and Zedd.

Sept 7: Noted violinist and whistler Andrew Bird comes to Pritzker Pavilion behind his latest album, Are You Serious.

Sept 9–25: Enjoy two weeks of free concerts during World Music Festival, which welcomes Ethiopian jazz legend Mulatu Astatke and Afrobeat drummer Pat Thomas.

Sept 10: Instead of a block party, Hideout is throwing a 20-Year Reunion featuring acts like Jon Langford, Mr. Rudy Day, Robbie Fulks, Eleventh Dream Day and more.

Sept 14: Adventurous guitarist William Tyler hits Constellation behind his genre-blending instrumental album, Modern Country.

Sept 16–18: Head for Douglas Park to see a reunited lineup of the Misfits, Morrissey, the Flaming Lips and Death Cab For Cutie at Riot Fest.

Sept 24: Chance the Rapper throws the first music festival at U.S. Cellular Field (soon to be Guaranteed Rate Field), bringing Skrillex, John Legend, Alicia Keys and more great acts to Magnificent Coloring Day.

Sept 24, 25: It's going to be a busy weekend for hip-hop fans—over in Union Park, Common revives AAHH! Fest with sets from the Roots, Jeremih, Tink and more.

Sept 24, 25: Pianist Randy Weston and rising Chicago trumpeter Marquis Hill are among the lineup Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

Sept 27, 28: Former Chicagoan Angel Olsen returns to the city in support of her latest collection of gut-wrenching ballads, My Woman.

Sept 30: Epic Icelandic post-rock trio Sigur Rós strips down for a bare bones show (sans backing band) featuring brand new material at the Chicago Theatre.


Sept 10–Jan 2: British husband and wife design duo Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth present "Spectacular Vernacular," a collection of designed and repurposed objects.

Sept 10–Jan 8: Coinciding with the Art Institute's upcoming Laszlo Moholy-Nagy retrospective, "Abstract/Object" collects contemporary works inspired by his experimental tendencies.

Sept 15–Dec 18: The DePaul Art Museum teams up with PBS documentary series ART21 to present "On Space and Place," including work by all 16 artists featured in the show's latest season.

Sept 17–Dec 11: The Block Museum hosts the first major retrospective of Hong Kong-born photographer Tseng Kwong Chi, displaying his performance-based photos in "Performing for the Camera."

Sept 17–Dec 11: The collection of Northwestern University professor Hamid Naficy is on display in "Salaam Cinema!," which showcases 50 years worth of Iranian movie posters.

Sept 22–Dec 30: The Smart Museum showcases a portion of longtime Hyde Park residents Lester and Betty Guttman’s generous gift of 830 photographic works in "There Was A Whole Collection Made."


Sept 10-Oct 15: Mary Zimmerman’s revival of Wonderful Town, the Tony-winning 1953 musical, follows two sisters newly transplanted from Ohio to Greenwich Village. 

Sept 15-Nov 6: Tony winner Debra Monk takes the Steppenwolf Stage in the world premiere of Visiting Edna by David Rabe.

Sept 15-Oct 6: The second half of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s epic Shakespeare binge-watching series, Tug of War: Civil Strife features parts of Henry IV Parts 2 and 3 and Richard III.

Sept 16-Oct 16: Hand to God, a satire of evangelical culture, tells the story of a Texas teenager’s sock puppet come to life. 


Sept 14: Chicago’s very own Hannibal Burress returns to the Chicago Theater as part of his fall tour, The Hannibal Montannibal Experience.

Sept 27: Late Night With Seth Meyers writer Aparna Nancherla brings her smart, dry stand-up to the Hideout.


Sept 22-29: The Reeling Film Festival will screen more than 100 films (both shorts and features) that feature queer narratives made by queer filmmakers.

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