I have mixed emotions about Labor Day weekend. I love having an extra day to enjoy a leisurely summer weekend. But, I never want the weekend to end, knowing that the end of summer is there lurking, waiting right to jump out at us after Monday fades off into the sunset. Of course, I know that all good things come to an end, and in this case, life always bring the next wave of good times, good memories and good routines. So, I write this post knowing that I need to let summer go and start to mentally prepare myself to head into fall - but not with out making the most of Labor Day weekend. So, with a three-day weekend ahead of me, I'm out to make sure my family enjoys it as much as possible, and we pack in as many summer fun activities as possible right here in Chicago.
Here are the top six Labor Day weekend events and activities on my end of summer send-off list:
1. Bristol Renaissance Faire. We bought tickets to the Bristol Renaissance Faire (Off I-94 at the IL/WI Border) when we were at C2E2 back in April. Opening day was on July 6, and the Faire runs through Labor Day, so guess what's on the top of our list of things to do this weekend? My sons can't wait to experience knights, wizards, jousting tournaments and more for themselves at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. It's our first time there. Wish us luck! If you plan to head there too, be sure to check out the closing weekend deals available online.
2. Walk Along the Beach and Lunch at Oak Street Beach Food and Drink. When I think of summer in Chicago, I think of the long stretch of beach along Lake Michigan shimmering in the sunlight. Each weekend, hordes of people come to run, walk and bike along its long expanse, grab a spot in the sand to sun themselves or play volleyball, and bravely wave into the sometimes cold and choppy waters. I can never get enough of the view of the city skyline when you round the North Ave. Beach curve heading south on the running path. My husband and I have been talking about dining along the beach at Oak Street Beach Food and Drink (1001 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago) - and need to make this weekend the one we actually do it!
3. Navy Pier Fireworks. Nothing says summer celebration like fireworks - and that's why it's an absolute must to catch the last Navy Pier firework show of the summer season on Saturday at 10:15 p.m. It's a great way to cap off a fun day in the sun - at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago) or another nearby locale. I'll even let my kids stay up late for it since they don't have school for a few more days.
4. National Toasted Marshmallow Day Celebration at Geja's Cafe. For those of us who will be miles away from a campfire this weekend, you can get the experience of roasting marshmallows over an open fire right in the heart of Lincoln Park at Geja's Cafe (340 W. Armitage, Chicago) on Friday, August 30 from 5 - 10 p.m. The restaurant, famous for its fondue savored by romantics for many years, offers you the chance to roast a marshmallow and make their own homemade s'mores on its patio. Local Girl Scouts will be there to help you make the perfect campfire dessert. There is a requested donation of $5 for adults and $2 for children, with the proceeds benefitting the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
5. Green City Market and Lincoln Park Zoo. A trip to Green City Market (south end of Lincoln Park, across from the Hotel Lincoln) made my list of the top 10 things to do in Chicago with your family this summer. So, of course, I need to get in one more trip there this Saturday (open 7 a.m. - 1 p.m.) and enjoy the summer peaches, plums and berries offered from the many local producers. And, I'm sure my kids will beg for a fruit smoothie from Seedless yet again. Of course, a great summer trip to Green City Market is made even better with a visit to neighboring Lincoln Park Zoo. It's a great way to double your pleasure, making the most out of a sunny summer day in the city.
6. Summer Festivals - Remix Chicago and Chicago Jazz Festival. Summer festivals also made my list of the top 10 things to do in Chicago with your family this summer, and I've got my sights set on hitting up Remix Chicago and Chicago Jazz Festival this weekend.
Remix Chicago, which runs on Saturday and Sunday (from noon to 10 p.m.), features items made with recycled or found materials. When I last went to the festival, it was called Ravenswood Remix and ran along a quiet stretch of Ravenswood. It's now called Remix Chicago, and is held in Logan Square on Milwaukee Avenue between Fullerton and California Avenues. I still remember the great hands-on workshops that my sons participated in - and can't wait to check out the great line-up of workshops being offered this year, too.
The Chicago Jazz Festival kicked off on Thursday and runs through Sunday. Most of the concerts offered as part of the free event are held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The venue offers an ideal spot to grab a grassy spot, unpack a picnic and evening a beautiful summer day or event under the sun - or stars.
No matter what your Labor Day weekend plans hold in store for you. I hope you join me in making the most of these waning summer days. Once we've raised our glasses to another fun summer in Chicago, it will be time to start looking ahead to the fall. After all, Chicagoans live for the change of seasons and the promise each one holds in store for us - even winter.
How do you plan to bid adieu to summer in Chicago? What's on your summer send-off must-do list for you and your family this Labor Day weekend? Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.
Looking for other ideas for summer activities this Labor Day weekend, then check out my list of the top 10 things to do with your family in Chicago this summer. And, don't forget to check out my list of great global ice creams to help you stay cool all weekend long.
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