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chicago, skyline, chicago skyline, downtown, milennium park, shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock

September 2021 events calendar for Chicago

Summer is almost over, but September in Chicago is packed with things to do, including festivals, exhibits and virtual events.

By Zach Long and Emma Krupp

Lots of September staples—Oktoberfest and Labor Day festivities, to name just a few—are on hold this year, but that doesn't mean you can't still kick off fall in Chicago in style. For an evening out, head to Lincoln Park Zoo for two events featuring some of the best regional and Chicago breweries (not to mention the zoo's coterie of critters and wildlife), or check out ongoing exhibits at the city's handful of open museums. Prefer to hang inside? You'll find tons of online events to tune in to from your sofa, whether you're in the mood for book lectures or live-streamed concerts. Make your summer go out with a bang with the help of our list of the best things to do in Chicago this September.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Featured events in September 2021

Monet Poppy Fields
Photograph: The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kimball Collection.

“Monet and Chicago”

Things to do Cultural centers Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park

The Art Institute of Chicago hosted Claude Monet’s debut U.S. solo show in 1895 and was the first American museum to buy one of his paintings. "Monet and Chicago" acts as an homage to city’s special connection to the “father of Impressionism,” showcasing a mixture of major works as well as rarely seen sketches and landscapes sourced from local collections.

garfield park conservatory
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

“The Flowers of Monet”

Things to do Exhibitions Garfield Park Conservatory | Chicago, IL, East Garfield Park

Presented in tandem with the "Monet and Chicago" exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Garfield Park Conservatory transforms its Artist's Garden into a display inspired by the works of Claude Monet. Visitors will be able to take in some of the asters, dahlias, nasturtiums and rose standards that populated Monet's canvases, as well as a living wall inspired by the "Water Lilies" series.

RGB exhibition
Photograph: Courtesy Illinois Holocaust Museum

“Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg”

Things to do Exhibitions Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Skokie

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes the spotlight in an exhibition that her life through a variety of interactive displays and a treasure trove of memorabilia. Each section of the exhibit is named after a Notorious B.I.G. lyric, beginning with her childhood in Brooklyn and continuing with an examination of her career as a lawyer fighting for equality. Guests will be able to view a recreation of Ginsburg's childhood apartment, put on a robe and sit on a replica Supreme Court bench or view a model of the desk houses in Ginsburg's Supreme Court chambers. "Notorious RBG" also features one of Ginsburg's Supreme Court robes and the National Portrait Gallery's official portraits of Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court.

Malangatana Ngwenya
Photograph: Malangatana Valente Ngwenya Foundation, Maputo, Mozambique.

“Malangatana: Mozambique Modern”

Art Painting Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park

African painter and poet Malangatana Ngwenya (who was mostly known by his first name) spent his career blending elements of European modernism with the folklore and tradition of Mozambique. "Mozambique Modern" marks the first solo exhibition of a modern African painter at the Art Institute, presenting more than 40 of his surreal, colorful paintings and drawings, highlighting the late artist's contributions to modern African art.

Runners get doused with powdered color at the Color Run 5K through Grant Park on June 8, 2014.
Photograph: Mark Wright

'Go Run Chicago

Sports and fitness Running Multiple venues

The Chicago Park District and Chicago Area Runners Association presents this free series of timed 5K and one-mile runs, which have resumed under new social distancing guidelines and capacity limits. 50 participants can register for each run via the 'Go Run Chicago website, meeting on Saturdays at 9am in Chicago parks for a timed 5K or one-mile run.

GYG Chicago TTD


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