Labor Day may mark the unofficial end of summer, but it certainly doesn’t mean the end of summer fun!
There are still so many great festivals, events, and activities to enjoy that will help you squeeze every last drop of summer out of this last weekend before school.
If you’re lucky enough to spend the holiday in Chicago, we’ve put together a list of things to do in Chicago Labor Day weekend 2016.
A few fun places to check out include:
- Great American Lobster Fest at Navy Pier
- Architecture River Cruise
- Chicago SummerDance
- Brookfield Zoo
- And more!
Save on Attraction Admission
Regular admission to a number of these Chicago attractions are included on the Go Chicago® Card.
Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.
Please note, the special events taking place at these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included on the Go Chicago Card.Note: the below ads are not affiliated with SmartDestinations.com
The Great American Lobster Fest
September 2nd & 3rd, 2016
Navy Pier is one of the most famous sites in the city for a reason. Navy Pier’s fun and festive atmosphere is delightful year round, but perhaps most of all during the summer months.
Head down for the Midwest’s largest Lobster and Seafood Festival.
Enjoy delicious food (land and sea), live music, games, and other activities for the whole family.
While you are there, you can also enjoy a ride to the very top of the instantly-recognizable (and newly refurbished) Centennial Wheel.
Or, explore great attractions on the Pier itself like the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and an IMAX Theater. There’s plenty to eat and drink, too.
Getting In: Admission to the Great American Lobster Fest is separately ticketed and is not included with the Go Chicago Card. For more information about this event and to purchase tickets, visit the attraction website.
Just because you aren’t near an ocean doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some quality time on the water!
Chicago is well known for its iconic waters, from Lake Michigan to the famed Chicago River.
Enjoy your time afloat with a lake cruise or river cruise, which can be both informative and relaxing. (Bonus – you can get that last little bit of tan, too.)
Getting In: Chicago Architecture Cruise tickets are included on the Go Chicago Card.
Art Institute of Chicago
If you’re looking to infuse a bit of culture into your Labor Day weekend vacation, then a visit to the world famous Art Institute of Chicago is a smart choice.
This award-winning museum is filled with diverse collections of amazing works of art and historical artifacts, from Asian statuary stretching back millennia to modern American and European painting.
Getting In: Art Institute of Chicago tickets are included with the Go Chicago Card.
June 24 – September 11, 2016
Each summer the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park opens to host an exciting urban dance space that features live performances from 44 different bands (over the course of the summer).
Dance your heart out free style, enjoy dance lessons, or just sit back and soak up the music.
It’s a fun way for the whole family to be active, even if it’s only for a short while. As you catch your breath, take a seat on the sidelines and enjoy people-watching.
Getting In: Admission to SummerDance is free.
The Field Museum
Families with kids have another great option in the Field Museum. This fantastic museum is chock full of artifacts, exhibits, and objects designed to inspired visitors of all ages.
From their iconic dinosaur Sue to sparkly gemstones to a recreated Egyptian tomb, the Field Museum has so many amazing sights to explore you’ll run out of time before you run out of gallery space.
Don’t forget to visit their gift shop for a unique souvenir!
Getting In: Field Museum tickets are included with the Go Chicago Card.
Chicago Jazz Festival
September 1 – 4
Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center
This longtime lakefront music festival is a Chicago legend. It’s also been a Labor Day tradition for 37 years, so it’s an important part of the way the city celebrates this great summer holiday.
You’ll enjoy free live music performances that range through all varieties of jazz, from local and even international musicians.
A visit to this iconic Chicago event is yet another wonderful thing to do this Labor Day weekend, especially for fans of the arts and culture scene.
Getting In: Admission to the Chicago Jazz Festival is free.
Summer Nights at the Brookfield Zoo
June 17 – August 13, 2016
This summer at the Brookfield Zoo, you’ll enjoy a special experience when you stick around into the evening.
Delight in live entertainment from 4-9pm and sample tasty food and drink options as well.
The performances are a great mix of kid-friendly entertainment and adult concerts, so you’ll find something to appeal to all parties depending on which night you want to visit.
Getting In: Admission to the Summer Nights at Brookfield Zoo is separately ticketed and not included on the Go Chicago Card. For more information about this event and to purchase tickets, visit the attraction website.
Of course there’s no place you’d rather be on Labor Day weekend than soaking up the last of the summer sun, so why not spend most of your time outside? There is so much to see and do in the great urban outdoors that is Chicago, so take your pick!
Taking a bike for a spin is one of our favorite summer activities. It keeps everyone fit and healthy and is tons of fun to boot.
Rent a bike from Navy Pier and pedal along the waterfront and the many miles of lakefront trails in the area.
Getting In: Bike and Roll Chicago rentals are included on the Go Chicago Card.
Remember to Save on Attraction Admission
So there are a few examples of fun and exciting things to do in Chicago Labor Day weekend.
While you can clearly enjoy a plethora of great cultural activities completely for free, there’s probably plenty you want to see and do that does require admission.
Remember, some of these great attraction options are included on the Go Chicago Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Please note, the Labor Day weekend events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the Go Chicago Card.
We hope you consider visiting some of these attractions to help round out your summer vacation in style.