It’s not cold in Chicago yet, so soak up the sun while you can. First, the Fringe Festival is an incredible mix of theater events happening throughout the city. Then there’s a volleyball tour that’s bringing Olympic pros to a Windy City beach. Or be serenaded by rock stars while you while you enjoy National Rum Day. Finally, head over to Washington Park, which will be transformed into a mini Africa for a massive celebration of African arts.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
September 1–4 | Sports
AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour
Didn’t make it to Rio? You’ll still have a chance to watch some of the Olympic volleyball pros in action during this tour. Kerri Walsh Jennings is expected to be there, as well as many other recent and former Olympians. It’s part volleyball tournament, part beach party, with plenty of interactive experiences, music, food, and drinks to go with your sports viewing. And the whole thing is taking place on Oak Street Beach, which offers unbeatable views of Chicago’s skyline.
Times vary | Oak Street Beach, 1000 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago | Free | website
September 1–11 | Theater
Chicago Fringe Festival
This festival brings local, national, and international theater to stages throughout the Chicago area for a huge and diverse theater experience—50 groups will give over 200 performances throughout the weeklong event. There’s even a Kids Fringe Festival that has free workshops and activities geared toward audiences ages 5 to 12. Ticket prices are low (just $5), and 100 percent of the proceeds go right back to the artists.
Times & locations vary | $5 | website
September 2 | Rum party
The Loop Luau
It’s National Rum Day, and Chicago is honoring it properly with a massive party and concert feature Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar and his super group, The Circle. There will, of course, be plenty of rum to pair. As one of the last outdoor concerts of the season, this luau is expected to be jam packed with partygoers, so get your tickets ASAP.
8 p.m. | FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, 1300 S Linn White Dr., Chicago | From $20 | website
African Festival of the Arts
Mentally transport yourself out of Chicago for a few days and celebrate African art at the African Festival of the Arts. The event organizers have created an African village in the middle of Washington Park, complete with hundreds of vendors selling textiles, crafts, and museum-quality art. There will also be African music, drumming, interactive demonstrations, and readings—all of which will make Africa appear to be much less than an ocean away.
10 a.m.–10 p.m. | Washington Park, 5100 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago | From $20 | website
September 3–5 | Escape the city
Hobart’s ripe for apple picking, and the orchard to visit is County Line Orchard—just an hour outside of Chicago. With rows and rows of low-hanging apples, you can easily spend a day happily picking (and eating) as-fresh-as-it-gets fruit. But if you tire of that, the orchard also has a petting zoo and fresh doughnuts to keep you happy. Nearby, Johnson’s Farm Produce Market and Garden has the best raspberries and blackberries for miles, and Calumet Fisheries Inc., a tiny shack on the side of the freeway, will wow you with the tastiest smoked shrimp and salmon in the Midwest.
County Line Orchard, 200 S. County Line Rd., Hobart, IN | website
Danielle Braff lives in Chicago with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and her dog. When she’s not writing, she’s out photographing her city and running around frantically trying to fit as many events as she can into her day. You can check out her other articles at Daniellebraff.com.