Late summer and early fall are great times to visit Chicago, with warm days and cool nights, away from the heat and the freezing cold. Labor Day is no exception, allowing people in our community to get out and about and enjoy the fun things to do. There are Labor Day brunch specials and menus in the West Loop as well as the Ukrainian Village. Parks and beaches are full of people, and festivals and fun events are going on all around the suburbs as well.
Labor Day at Navy Pier (September 4–6, 2021)
Navy Pier, just down the road from Catalyst, is a great place to stop on Labor Day. There are three days of live music in The Beer Garden. Summer fireworks happen here with the last fireworks of summer for Labor Day, and a huge Ferris Wheel goes up. The show is launched in the middle of Lake Michigan, for a beautiful fireworks display over the water at 10:15 pm. Downtown rooftop bars are a great way to view the fireworks besides from the shore or the pier. The Fireworks Dinner Cruise aboard the Spirit of Chicago is also a fantastic way to view this gorgeous show.
Chicago Jazz Festival – September 4th Only
The four-day Chicago Jazz Festival is another phenomenal Labor Day tradition right here in the city. Although the full festival is not happening this year, there is a special jazz event on September 4th from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm. This will include Ari Brown, Marquis Hill, and Lizz Wright.
Some of the most outstanding jazz musicians have come to play this amazing festival. Free admission gets you into Millennium Park pavilions along with the Chicago Cultural Center. Acts such as Ella Fitzgerald, BB King, Miles Davis, and many others have graced the audience with their presence. Hopefully, the full lineup will return next year!
Unfortunately, there is no Chicago Labor Day Parade, but you can see one in Naperville if you want to make the journey.
Lake Michigan Beaches
Spending the weekend on the water is one of our favorite ways to enjoy the sunshine and the breeze from the lake. Oak Street Beach is one of Chicago's best beaches and is only a 10-minute drive or short bus ride from Catalyst Chicago. There is a great view of the skyline and it hosts volleyball tournaments. Rainbow Beach and Park is a little further down on the south side and includes playgrounds and handball courts. For restaurants, an awesome beach house, volleyball courts, and biking and kayak rentals, check out North Avenue Beach just a little furth north of Oak Street.