Best Things to Do with Chicagoland Kids in September

Plan ahead! We've rounded up some of the best activities and events to do with kids in Chicago and suburbs this month.

When raising kids, you know life can get busy. That’s why it’s sometimes helpful to plan ahead when searching for exciting events and attractions in Chicagoland. To make things easier for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best things to do with kids in September.

Be sure to check out the fall festivals happening this month. Also, be sure to find other seasonal events such as apple orchards and where to see fall colors.

Keep on scrolling to see our top picks of kid-friendly events in Chicago and the suburbs. You can also find more family events listed in our calendar.

City

fall-fest-lincoln-park-zoo
Photo credit: Lincoln Park Zoo

Chicago Jazz Festival at Millennium Park

Through Sept. 3, 2023

This annual event showcases Chicago’s vast jazz talent along with national and international artists to entertain and educate a jazz audience of all ages. See Ron Carter and Foursight, Dianne Reeves, Makaya McCraven, Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars and more.

Blue Man Group Chicago at Briar Street Theatre

Sept. 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-30, 2023

Experience new instruments, technologies and audience participation at the Blue Man Group Chicago. This family-friendly performance is great for ages 3 and up.

Free Demonstration Class at Family Picnic

Sept. 1, 2023

Parents and their littles can sing, dance, play and learn with Family Picnic at this in-person class offered outdoors.

Taste of Polonia Festival at Copernicus Center

Sept. 1-4, 2023

Enjoy a true cultural experience that includes nonstop live music on three stages, authentic Polish food, arts and crafts, games, movie screenings, casino, face painting, balloons and more.

West Loop Art Fest

Sept. 2-3, 2023

Enjoy four blocks of art in all different mediums as talented artists showcase and sell creative work. Plus, enjoy interactive art, live music, children’s crafts and more.

Glenwood Sunday Market 

Sept. 3, 10, 17, 24, 2023

  • Address: Glenwood between Lunt & Morse Avenue, Chicago
  • Cost: Free admission

Glenwood Sunday Market features 23 vendors for the 2023 season. The market offers a variety of products ranging from produce, meat, honey, dairy, pickles, bakeries, sweets, tofu, flowers, coffee and more. Dogs will be allowed in the market area on short leashes.

The Queer Fam Pride Jam at Salt Shed Fairgrounds

Sept. 3, 2023

This new Pride event features House dance lessons, cultural performances, drag makeovers,yoga, skateboard school and an all-ages Slo ‘Mo dance party with a fab DJ lineup. RSVP for free tickets.

Edgewater’s Monday Market at Broadway Armory

Sept. 4, 11, 18, 25, 2023

Come out to Edgewater’s Monday Market to buy produce fresh from the farm, unique artisanal goods and more. It showcases more than 20 local vendors and features kids activities and live music.

Harry Potter: Magic at Play at Water Tower Place

Through Sept. 4, 2023

Enjoy 30,000 square feet of hands-on magical interactivity, including games, exploration, sensory activations and more that celebrate Harry’s own journey in discovering the wizarding world.

Mozart Immersive & Immersive Van Gogh at Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago

Through Sept. 4, 2023

View two immersive exhibits with one ticket and see the life and music of Mozart and iconic art by Van Gogh.

Movies in the Parks at Eckhart (Bernard) Park 

Sept. 6, 2023

Take the kids out to Eckhart Park for a showing of Grease. The movie begins at dusk.

German American Oktoberfest at Lincoln Square

Sept. 8-10, 2023

The family-friendly festival features live bands, food, beer, wine, carnival games and more.

Movies in the Parks at Lake Shore Park

Sept. 8, 2023

Families can head to Lake Shore Park for a movie beginning at dusk. Grease is on Sept. 8.

Taste of Chicago at Grant Park

Sept. 8-10, 2023

Taste all the things that make Chicago great with more than 35 vendors and 15 food trucks, plus three stages of performances and the Lifeway Family Village with games, bounce houses and activities.

Bubblespalooza at Bubbles Academy

Sept. 9, 2023

Enjoy a day of live music, kids activities, bubble show, photo booth and more.

Flutter into Fall at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Sept. 9, 2023

Participate in monarch butterfly tagging demos, enjoy a story time, see a vibrant performance by the Xochitl-Quetzal Aztec Dance company and more. Registration required.

Harris Fest: Music + Dance in the Park at Millennium Park 

Sept. 9, 2023

This celebratory kick-off to the Harris’ 20th anniversary season will feature performances spanning jazz, ballet and contemporary dance, as well as classical music, opera, and interactive workshops hosted by participating artists.

Movies in the Parks at Jonquil Park

Sept. 9, 2023

Head to Jonquil Park for a showing of Lightyear, beginning at dusk. For all ages.

Printers Row Lit Fest in Historic Printers Row

Sept. 9-10, 2023

More than 100,000 visitors are expected over the two-day festival, which will feature carefully selected offerings from more than 100 booksellers.

A Kid Market at Antique Taco Bridgeport

Sept. 10, 2023

Come out to Antique Taco Bridgeport to see little kids doing big things as it celebrates its fourth year. There will be 30 kids vendors ages 5-12. Enjoy crafts, food and cool stuff.

Old Town School of Folk Music Happy Hour at Gallagher Way

Sept. 12, 26, 2023

Enjoy a summer concert featuring rock, pop and folk music, free dance lessons and other interactive music experiences. For all ages.

Hamilton at James M. Nederlander Theatre

Sept. 13, 2023

See this epic saga that follows the rise of Alexander Hamilton, based on Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography. It blends the sounds of hip-hop, R&B, jazz and Broadway music. For ages 5 and up.

Movies at Gallagher Way

Sept. 13, 27, 2023

Head out to Gallagher Way for its summer programming series. In September, see Back to the Future and The Blues Brothers. Reservations required.

Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up at Goose Island 

Sept. 21-Nov. 3, 2023

Spend an autumn night outside making memories while you get lost in Chicago’s largest corn maze, enjoy nighttime light displays and pick a pumpkin from the patch. There are also carnival games, fortune tellers, gem mining, food trucks, photo opportunities and more. For all ages.

Oktoberfest Chicago at St. Alphonsus

Sept. 22-24, 2023

Join in on the fun at one of Chicago’s most popular fall celebrations and all things Bavarian. There will be food, music and more.

Mesmerized: A Ben Franklin Science & History Mystery at Chicago Children’s Theatre

Sept. 23-24; Oct. 7-8, 14-15, 2023

Ages 7 and up can visit Chicago Children’s Theatre to see Mesmerized: A Ben Franklin Science & History Mystery. Kids will laugh as they engage their minds to solve this mystery, fueled with stories about Ben Franklin’s many scientific discoveries and inventions.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Live in Concert at Cadillac Palace Theatre

Sept. 23, 2023

Watch a screening of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse while listening to a soundtrack that blends symphonic orchestral music with hip-hop. It will feature live musicians and turntables featuring a DJ scratcher live on stage.

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival at Burnham (Daniel) Park

Sept. 23, 2023

Falling on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, the round shape and completeness of the full moon symbolize family and friends reunion.

Blue Man Group Chicago Sensory-Friendly Performance at Briar Street Theatre

Sept. 24, 2023

Briar Street Theatre will be transformed into a calming environment complete with bean bags, dim lighting and quiet corners for anyone seeking a sensory break from the excitement of the show.

Fall Fest at Lincoln Park Zoo 

Sept. 29-Oct. 29, 2023

Celebrate fall with seasonal décor, music, large-scale chalk art, professional pumpkin carving and fall photo ops among the pumpkin patches. Ticketed activities include a harvest maze, fun slide, inflatable obstacle course and Kiddie Wheel.

Lincoln Square Ravenswood Apple Fest

Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2023

  • Address: Lincoln Avenue between Lawrence and Sunnyside, Chicago
  • Cost: $5/suggested donation

There will be more than 50 market vendors and apple items from six farms at this annual event.

Doodles x CAMP

Through Oct. 14, 2023

Step into a fully immersive experience with Doodles x Camp. It is a 3,500-square-foot experience with features like Stoodio Magic, Rainbow Valley, Glowing Adventures and more. 

CLUE: A Walking Mystery at Block 37

Through Oct. 31, 2023

Check out this interactive game that takes place across multiple locations in downtown Chicago, starting at Block 37. In this new spin on the classic mystery game, guests step into the roles of characters as detectives to solve the mystery of who murdered Mr. Boddy. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Mold-A-Rama: Molded for the Future at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Through Dec. 31, 2023

This exhibit features a collection of popular, rare and experimental Mold-A-Rama souvenirs from the past. Take home colorful souvenirs made by several machines featured in the exhibit and around the museum.

Pompeii: The Exhibition at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Through Jan. 15, 2024

See this immersive educational museum exhibit, “Pompeii: The Exhibition,” and be transported back in time to learn about Pompeii and see more than 150 historical artifacts.

First Kings of Europe at Field Museum

Through Jan. 28, 2024

View this exhibit at the Field Museum that gathered more than 700 exquisite objects, such as jewelry, armor, weapons and more.

North/Northwest Suburbs

Photo credit: Bounce the City

Bounce The City at Woodfield Mall

Sept. 2-4, 2023

This immersive family attraction contains eight different interactive inflatables, including a 600-foot-long obstacle course, a bottomless ball pit, a silent disco dome with live DJs, lights and special effects, a customized sports arena, tons of selfie stations and so much more! For all ages.

Schaumburg Septemberfest

Sept. 2-4, 2023

This outdoor festival features entertainment, arts and crafts show, a carnival, pony rides, fireworks and a Labor Day parade.

Art Fair on the Square in Historic Lake Forest Market Square

Sept. 3-4, 2023

This annual art fair features the work of 120 exhibitors in a variety of disciplines, including glass, wood, fiber, ceramics, digital art, jewelry, metal, drawing/pastels, graphics/printmaking, painting, photography, sculpture and mixed media.

Music Under The Trees at The Dole – The Jolly Ringwalds 

Sept. 7, 2023

Enjoy live music on the front lawn at The Dole by The Jolly Ringwalds. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket and snacks.

Art on the Fox

Sept. 9-10, 2023

This art festival will feature the work from more than 75 of the nation’s top juried artists, family-friendly activities, live musical performances and more.

Elves are the Worst: Storytime and Book Release Party with Alex Willan at The Book Stall

Sept. 9, 2023

Stop by The Book Stall to celebrate the release of Elves are the Worst, the newest picture book by author, Alex Willan. Recommended for kids ages 4-8.

Clayson’s Kids Days at Clayson House Museum

Sept. 10, 2023

Ages 4-12 can enjoy a drop-in craft and visit with their mascot, Clayson, the Family Dog.

Graphic Novel Launch: “Hour of Need” at Illinois Holocaust Museum

Sept. 10, 2023

Join Illinois Holocaust Museum for a live conversation with “Hour of Need” author Ralph Shayne and illustrator Tatiana Goldberg as they discuss the inspiration behind, collaboration and creation process for this graphic novel. Registration required.

Little Miss Ann Family Music Concert at Gorton Center

Sept. 10, 2023

Join Little Miss Ann and her band at John & Nancy Hughes Theater in the Gordon Center. Kids will sing, jump and dance along to the upbeat music.

The Addams Family: The Musical at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre

Sept. 14-Oct. 8, 2023

Ages 8 and up can see this comical performance that embraces the wackiness in every family. Although it’s based on the Addams Family, it features an original story.

Elk Grove Village Oktoberfest at Rotary Green 

Sept. 15-16, 2023

Enjoy traditional German food, games and activities, live music and so much more at the annual Elk Grove Village Oktoberfest celebration.

Happy Times Pumpkin Fest at Didier Farms

Sept. 16-Oct. 29, 2023

Pumpkin Fest features family activities and attractions for all ages, including amusement rides, shows, fall merchandise, pumpkin sales, fall treats and more.

Music Under The Trees at The Dole – Galway Gals

Sept. 21, 2023

Enjoy live music on the front lawn at The Dole by Galway Gals. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket and snacks.

Fall Festival/Oktoberfest in Mount Prospect

Sept. 22-23, 2023

Oktoberfest features live entertainment with authentic German food and drinks. Plus, a kids’ portion for their fall fest on Saturday.

Long Grove Apple Fest in Downtown Long Grove

Sept. 22-24, 2023

Enjoy the beautiful fall outdoor ambiance and free live music throughout the historic village. Get your apple fix on treats like brown bag apple pies, apple cider doughnuts, hot apple cider, caramel apple lattes and more.

Auto Historica XIX: Muscle Memories at Wilmette Historical Museum

Sept. 24, 2023

This family-friendly event gives visitors a chance to spend the afternoon at the Wilmette Historical Museum checking out the vehicles and chatting with the owners.

The Girl in the Diary: Searching for Rywka from the Łódz Ghetto at Illinois Holocaust Museum

Through Sept. 24, 2023

This exhibit explores 14-year-old Rywka Lipszyc’s diary that was discovered in the ashes of a destroyed crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

Huntley Fall Fest at Huntley Park District 

Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2023

Enjoy carnival rides, beer garden, food vendors, lots of fall activities, live music and family fun. There will also be a fireworks display Saturday night.

Annual Lake County Family Fun Fest at College of Lake County

Sept. 30, 2023

This annual family-friendly event features live entertainment, shopping, classic games and community resources.

Highland Park Oktoberfest at The Lot 

Sept. 30, 2023

The weekend excitement will include a beer garden, traditional eats and live music acts along with activities for youngsters and families.

South Suburbs

Photo credit: iStock/ucpage

Frankfort Fall Festival in Historical Downtown Frankfort

Sept. 2-4, 2023

This fall fest features more than 300 artisans, live entertainment, a carnival, food, beverages and a parade at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Water for Life 5K at VitaLife

Sept. 4, 2023

This annual 5K fun run race helps raise money for building wells in South Africa. Registration required.

Autumn in the Park Festival at Palos Park Village Green

Sept. 15-16, 2023

This fall event includes a parade at 11 a.m. Saturday, music, artisan and food vendors, face painting, bounce house and more.

Tinley Park Oktoberfest at the 80th Avenue Metra Train Station

Sept. 15-17, 2023

Resembles the traditional Oktoberfest held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany with food, drink, traditional dancing, a vendor fair, a carnival and more.

Joliet PrideFest at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park

Sept. 23, 2023

This 4th annual festival features a vendor market, live entertainment, resource fair, food trucks, kids zone and more.

Western Suburbs

Photo credit: Scandinavian Park, Inc.

Naperville Last Fling

Sept. 1-4, 2023

The festival includes an entertainment stage, food vendors, business expo vendors, family activities, Labor Day parade and a carnival.

Faire at the Square at Cummings Square

Sept. 8, 2023

Families can enjoy this “creative-reuse carnival” with themed games made from re-purposed materials along with prizes learning about nature and more.

Touch-A-Truck at North Riverside Park Mall

Sept. 9, 2023

There will be an assortment of all different kinds of vehicles, from police cars, fire trucks, cranes, a garbage truck and even a helicopter! Kids will be able to sit behind the steering wheels, take pictures and explore everything about their favorite vehicles. There will also be a DJ, train rides, games and giveaways.

Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop at Cleve Carney Museum of Art

Through Sept. 10, 2023

“Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop” allows visitors to experience Andy Warhol’s life through interactive exhibits, recreations and videos created exclusively for this exhibition.

Scandinavian Day Festival at Vasa Park

Sept. 10, 2023

Featuring live entertainment, activities for children, free pony rides and story time by Elsa from Frozen. Scandinavian walkway with vendors, displays and Scandinavian food.

Berwyn Oktoberfest at Berwyn’s Depot District

Sept. 15-16, 2023

The family-friendly festival includes an international food court, live music, beer garden and more.

Oaktoberfest in Downtown Oak Park

Sept. 22-23, 2023

  • Address: Between Marion Street and North Boulevard, south of Lake Street, Oak Park
  • Cost: Free; fees for food

This annual fall festival features a premiere music lineup, specialty craft beers, delicious fall foods from local places and a Kids’ Root Beer Garden. The kids activities include hands-on activities, games, root beer floats, zucchini races, games and more.

Adaptive Play Time at DuPage Children’s Museum

Sept. 24, 2023

This monthly event provides a modified environment for play and learning for children and their caregivers. It is intended for families with disabilities, on the autism spectrum and/or with sensory processing disorders. Pre-registration is required. 

Dinos Downtown Wheaton

Sept. 25-Oct. 8, 2023

  • Address: Downtown Wheaton
  • Cost: Free; $25/special Dino day activity passes | Get tickets

Dinos are taking over Wheaton for family fun and education. Popular animatronic dinos like the T. rex and Triceratops are joined by the Herrerasaurus, the Minmi and rare Amargasaurus.


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Kari Zaffarano
Kari Zaffarano
Kari Zaffarano is a mom of one and Chicago Parent's Audience Development Coordinator. She tracks down the best events every week and shares the inside scoop with families in print and online. She enjoys reading, traveling and exploring new places with her son.

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