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September 2016 events calendar for Chicago

Plan your September in Chicago with our events calendar of the best things to do, including concerts, theater openings and art exhibits

Photograph: Jason Little
Chicago Gourmet, September 29, 2012

Summer is wrapping up, which means only a few more precious days to enjoy the best rooftop bars in Chicago. But don't worry, fall is pretty exciting too—from celebrating Oktoberfest in the best Chicago beer gardens to wandering through Christkindlmarket. You'll completely forget about summer while you're cozied up at bars with fireplaces and fire pits. Be fully prepared for all the best events with our September calendar for Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2016

Featured events in September 2016

North Coast Music Festival

Curated and run by local club promoters React Presents, North Coast arguably delivers the most diverse bill of any Chicago music festival. This year, EDM acts such as Bassnectar, Odesza and Zedd top the bill, which also includes artists like Action Bronson and Sleigh Bells. Later, the party spills over into several afterparties at local dance clubs.

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By: Zach Long

Renegade Craft Fair


This mega fair is an opportunity for serious crafters from around the country to sell their handmade arts and wares, and it's the perfect place to get extra special gifts, or maybe a little something for yourself in the process.

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Bridgeport Art Center , Bridgeport Saturday December 3 2016 - Sunday December 4 2016

Riot Fest music festival

North Coast Music Festival bills itself as "Summer's Last Stand," but that is not technically true. The Riot Fest music festival heads outside for its annual celebration on September 16–18, 2016. This year, the festival returns to Douglas Park (conveniently located near one of the city's best breweries) after a successful first year in the new location. Headliners include a reunited lineup of the Misfits, Morrissey, Ween, Death Cab For Cutie and Rob Zombie. Whether you prefer punk rock, indie bands or hip-hop, you'll probably find something worth checking out.

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By: Zach Long

Art in September 2016

"50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards"

Recently, the Chicago Architecture Foundation tasked 50 designers and architects with proposing projects that would address the needs of residents in each of the city's 50 wards. The results of this undertaking are on display in a new exhibition at the Foundation's Atrium Gallery, showcasing ideas like a continuous park promenade beneath the Brown Line and a kayak park that restores wetlands and provides a new mode of transportation.

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Chicago Architecture Foundation , Loop Until Thursday December 1 2016

"Above, Before & After"

A painter may insist on hanging their canvases on a gallery wall, but some artists prefer to blur the line between their work and the environment in which it is presented. In "Above, Before & After," the MCA assembles a collection of two- and three-dimensional works that exploit the relationship between art and the viewer, including intricate mobiles by Alexander Calder and lightbox sculptures by Alfredo Jaar.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Until Sunday June 18 2017

"Chicago Works: Andrew Yang"

The MCA's Chicago Works series presents the debut solo exhibition of Andrew Yang, a biologist-turned-artist who currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute. Yang's work explores the expansive nature of the universe through a scale model the Milky Way and geological artifacts that examine the impact of mankind.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Until Sunday January 1 2017

"The Propeller Group"

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the team of artists that make up the Propeller Group specialize in video projects that explore subjects ranging from Vietnamese history to the tools of international war. The MCA's exhibition includes several multi-part videos made within the past five years, including films that examine Vietnam's fake antique trade and global funerary traditions.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Until Sunday November 13 2016


Examining the relationship between photographers and their subjects, "Witness" probes the various ways in which the circumstances surrounding the capturing of an image can define its message. Beginning with Walker Evans' vernacular photos from the 1940s and ending in a large-scale installation by Alfredo Jaar, the exhibit explores photography's changing role throughout the history of the medium.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Until Sunday February 19 2017

Free events in September 2016


This monthly storytelling show focuses on LGBTQ-identified performers, though their stories aren't necessarily gay-themed. The evening is hosted by Sidetrack co-owner and Equality Illinois co-founder Art Johnston and Kim Hunt of Affinity Community Services.

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Sidetrack , Boystown Tuesday November 1 2016 - Tuesday December 6 2016

PBR Bingo

On the first Monday of every month, Boiler Room turns into a hip, Logan Square nursing home for its monthly PBR Bingo night. Guests can grab a few slices, sip a beer and wait for their numbers to be called while competing for various Pabst Blue Ribbon-themed prizes.

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The Boiler Room , Logan Square Monday November 7 2016 - Monday December 5 2016