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, the final fireworks display of the summer at Navy Pier and partying in the streets of Naperville. Read our picks of the best events in town—then get out there and get to work.
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., 3 p.m. McKinley Park. $5. All ages. Event details.
Near West Side
Cirque du Soleil presents KURIOS-Cabinet of Curiosities
Performed under the iconic blue and yellow Big Top this is a tale in which time comes to a halting stop, transporting audiences inside a fantasy world where everything is possible. Let your imaginations soar as The Seeker, a time machine wielding scientist, defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent the world around him with steampunk elements featuring characters from another dimension. Shows thru Sept. 20 in the parking lot of the United Center. Tickets start at $35. All ages. Event details.
First Sundays Free at the Museum
Kids ages 15 and under are invited to explore the Chicago Children’s Museum FREE the first Sunday of every month! With three floors of exhibits and activities that provide sensory experiences and engaging educational content focusing on literacy, science, performing arts and health, the Museum is a place where children are encouraged to create, explore and discover through play. Popular exhibits include Dinosaur Expedition, where kids dig for bones in an authentic excavation pit; Waterways, an interactive system of pulleys, pumps and pipes; and Kids Town, an early-learning exhibit featuring a real CTA bus, mini grocery store and kid-sized cityscape. Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Chicago Children’s Museum. Free. All ages. Event details.
Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier
Don’t miss your last chance to take advantage of this fireworks display synchronized to music with Lake Michigan and Chicago’s skyline as your backdrop. Push off bedtime just a tad and enjoy this spectacular show! Sat., 10:15 p.m. Navy Pier. Free. All ages. Event details.
Family Days at Arlington Race Track
Bring the kids out for the final Family Days of the season at Arlington International Race Track. See the horses up close 20 minutes prior to post. Ride a pony in the Junior Jockey Zone. Spend time with a juggler, musician, and caricaturist. Jump around in the bounce house, and enjoy some down time with animals in the petting zoo. Grab a Pony Express Pass for unlimited access to the Junior Jockey Zone BEFORE it opens. Sun., 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Arlington International Race Track. $8/adults; $2/children 17 & under; $5/child’s Pony Express Pass. All ages. Event details.
Wild Encounters at Brookfield Zoo
Covering just over 3-acres, Brookfield Zoo’s Hamill Family Wild Encounters features unforgettable hands-on experiences that include opportunities to touch and feed animals. Purchase seed sticks and play feeder to hundreds of colorful parakeets that happily land on your hand, watch the kids giggle as goats nibble on their shoelaces and experience the friendliness of wallabies as they welcome you into their enclosure. There are also up-close encounters with red pandas, llamas, alpacas and reindeer as well as a rotating selection of animal ambassadors. Daily, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Brookfield Zoo. $5/adults; $3/ages 3-11. All ages. Event details.
Chagall for Children
Last weekend for this amazing exhibit! Step inside the world of renowned painter, printmaker, and designer, Marc Chagall at Kohl Children’s Museum’s Chagall for Children. Encourage your budding artist to explore light, color, composition and texture. See what effect light has on stained glass. Jump into one of his paintings. Create a new story by re-arranging main figures and details of a Chagall piece. With 14 multi-sensory stations, your Picassos are sure to discover something new during each visit. Fri. & Sat., 9:30 p.m.-5 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m. Kohl Children’s Museum. $11; free for 12 months & under. All ages. Event details.
Last Fling Summer Street Party
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. Have a sing-a-long with Disney’s Calum Worthy and meet-and-greet with Elsa, Anna and Hans from Frozen. Fri., 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Mon., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Jackson & Main Streets. Cost varies by activity. All ages. Event details.
Voyage Into LEGO Pirate Adventure Island
All hands on deck! Pirates have stormed LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago in search of a lively crew to join in on some good ‘ol pirate-themed fun. Be among the first lads and lassies to experience the new Pirate Adventure Island permanently docked on the second floor. Dress in your best pirate attire, and set sail on an seafaring adventure for hidden treasure. Discover hidden sea creatures, spar in a pirate battle, or walk the plank. Daily, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. LEGOLAND Discovery Center. All ages. Event details.
Rediscover Disney Classics on the Big Screen
Revisit beloved Disney classics on the big screen with your favorite Disney groupies. The Walt Disney Company and Cinemark Seven Bridges will show four throwback films daily, seven days a week. Showing this week: Wall-E, The Rocketeer, Cars and The Love Bug. Daily, varied showtimes. Cinemark Seven Bridges. $5. All ages. Event details.
Tell us how you plan to leisurely spend your Labor Day weekend Comments below!
Photo Credit: Midnight Circus