Your only job this Labor Day weekend is to have a blast. With a city as great as ours, that won’t be hard. Off beat circuses in the park, one of the last firework displays of the summer at Navy Pier and partying in the streets of Naperville. Read our picks for the best events in town—then get out there and get to work finding the adventure.

Midnight Circus in the Park 2

photo: Midnight Circus in the Parks



Kids Classic Cooking Series: It’s Summer
Strawberry Shortcake, Mac N’ Cheese – say no more – we’re there! Join The Kids’ Table to cook up some of their favorite recipes from their Summer Camp series. Check their website for a full menu. Sat. Event details.

Navy Pier

Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier
Keep the kids up a tad later to experience the fireworks display synchronized to music at Navy Pier. Sat. Event details.

Race Cars in the Zoom Room
It’s a race to the finish at Zoom Room, Chicago Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit. Check out the twisting racecourse that fills an entire room with hundreds of toy cars that race on crazy tracks. Try your own hand at racing on the adjoining tracks, sending cars hurtling through curves, loops, spirals and drops, and even getting in a pile-up on a multi-level “crash course.” Fri.-Mon. Event details.

North Center

Hogwash: An Improvised Tall Tale
Fitting of its name, the lack of structure of this improvised show makes it an absolute riot. Kids assist with costume selection and choose a location for the fully improvised story. As the plot thickens, artists make props, build scenery and modify costumes. Kids are encouraged to throw out twists and turns in the plot, and even become characters themselves. Sat. Event details.


Come One, Come All! Midnight Circus in the Parks
Chicago’s offbeat and totally entertaining circus takes its act on the road, performing in parks in all corners of the city. The troupe does high-wire acts, juggling, clowning and acrobatics. It’s all for a good cause: The tour raises money to improve public parks and playgrounds. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Various Locations

Foodie Adventure Series: It’s Summer!
Yay! It’s Summer! Join The Kids’ Table while they show you how to make some of the most favorite recipes from their Summer Camp series. Check the website for the weekly menu. Sat. Event details.



Last Chance! Playing with Butterflies at Chicago Botanic Garden
Dance with hundreds of colorful butterflies at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Butterflies & Blooms. Enter the serene tropical habitat made up of beautiful flowers and hundreds of butterflies fluttering about. Sit still and they may just land on you. Or try to catch them. Be gentle though as they are nature’s jewels. Fri.-Mon. Event details.


Get Up Close with Pollinators
Stretch your legs and enjoy the sights and sounds of summer at Kohl Children’s Museum’s newest addition, Pollinator Garden. The garden is filled with a variety of flowers and plants, along with pollinators such as butterflies, bees and soldier beetles. Fri.-Mon. Event details

Last Chance! Toys: The Inside Story
Learn what makes toys tick at Kohl Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit, Toys: The Inside Story. This temporary exhibit lets visitors take a peek inside some of the most recognizable toys to examine the linkages, pulleys, cams and circuits that make them irresistibly fun. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Last Few Weeks: Ribbit! The Exhibit Hops Into Morton Arboretum
Hop over to The Morton Arboretum for Ribbit! The Exhibit, a whimsical collection of larger-than-life copper frog sculptures. The exhibit features 19 displays of five- to seven-foot-tall frogs taking part in a variety of activities, including playing instruments, catching butterflies and meditating on a lily pad. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Glow Jump at Pump it Up
The only thing better than jumping at Pump it Up is glowing at Pump It Up. Kids will have the time of their lives playing in the massive inflatables with special FX lighting that makes white clothing glow in the dark. Fri. Event details.


Last Fling!
Naperville has proven they’ve mastered the art of throwing the epic end-of-summer party with their Last Fling. Head west for this four-day affair featuring national headlining artists, a massive carnival and family-friendly events and entertainment. Corey Fogelmanis from Girl Meets World be out and about for a fun meet and greet. Fri.-Mon. Event details.


Set Sail for LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s Pirate Adventure Weekend
Argh! Rally your tiny pirates for an adventure at one of LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s newest exhibits, Pirate Adventure Island! Special activities include a FREE limited edition Captain Brickbeard LEGO Brick for everyone who dresses like a pirate, a lost pirate booty scavenger hunt and a chance to build your very own LEGO pirate ship that’ll set sail down the water table. Fri.-Mon. Event details.

For more ideas on how to spend your weekend, check out our Family Events Calendar.

Tell us how you plan to spend your weekend in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers