18 Chicago Food Events to Enjoy in September – Including Plenty of Oktoberfest Celebrations

Meredith Francis
Soft pretzels on a table next to a glass beer stein

Looking for an Oktoberfest to kick off the fall season? Don’t worry, Chicago and the suburbs have a lot—and we mean a lot—of options. Plus, food enthusiasts can enjoy Greek, African, Polish cuisine and more. Apples, tacos, and Bloody Marys are also stars of their own shows. As always, be sure to double-check event pages for any updates, times, and ticket pricing.

1. The Great American Lobster Fest

September 2-4 | Navy Pier
Lobster lovers, rejoice. This event claims to be the largest lobster and seafood festival in the Midwest, with lobster flown in from the East Coast. The family-friendly event also has dessert and non-seafood options for diners who feel safer on land.

2. Taste of Melrose Park

September 2-4 | Melrose Park
Now in its 40th year, the Taste of Melrose Park is back with plenty of vendors, featuring tamales, hot dogs, pizza, ravioli, tacos, and even Eli’s Cheesecake. This family-friendly event also has arts and crafts, amusement rides, and live music.

3. Lincoln Square Greek Fest

September 2-5 | St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2727 W. Winona St.
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church hosts this Greek Fest near River Park. Spend your Labor Day weekend with Greek pastries, loukoumades, dancing, and more.

4. African Festival of the Arts

September 2-5 | Washington Park
Immerse yourself in four days of Black culture with food, music, art, and more from the African Diaspora. Washington Park is home to this festival, which features live music performances, African artifacts, and family activities.

5. Taste of Polonia

September 2-5 | Lawrence and Milwaukee Avenues, Jefferson Park
Taste of Polonia returns to Jefferson Park with a four-day celebration of Polish food, beer, music, dance, and more. There are activities for adults (a casino and a beer garden) and for kids (a kids area with plenty of activities).  

6. Festival of the Vine

September 9-11 | James Street between S. Fourth and S. Fifth Streets, Geneva
If it grows on a vine, it’s cause for celebration at Geneva’s Festival of the Vine. This autumn harvest fest began as an homage to anything grown on a vine and has evolved into the town’s food and wine festival.

7. German American Oktoberfest

September 9-11 | N. Lincoln and W. Leland Avenues, Lincoln Square
German beer, food, wine, dancing and good old-fashioned gemütlichkeit (friendliness) are all on tap for the German American Oktoberfest. This one takes place in Lincoln Square over the span of three days.

8. Highland Park Oktoberfest

September 16-17 | The Lot, Highland Park
Highland Park is hosting its own Oktoberfest at the Lot. Say “prost!” in the beer garden and snack on traditional German bites.

9. Sam Adams Lakeview Taco Fest

September 17-18 | Southport between Addison and Roscoe, Lakeview
Stroll the Southport corridor while treating yourself to some tacos as part of Lakeview’s Taco Fest. Go with classic taco fillings like chicken, steak, chorizo, or beef, or get creative with mushroom, seafood, goat, and duck.

10. Bloody Mary Fest

September 18 | Everts Park, Highwood
The 12th annual Bloody Mary Fest returns to Highwood’s Everts Park. Mixologists will use their unique recipes to compete for the title of “Best Bloody Mary in the Midwest.” Craft beer, food, and other beverages will also be in the mix.

11. Chicago Gourmet

September 22-25 | Various Locations
The Illinois Restaurant Association hosts this multi-location gourmet food event, featuring events with renowned chefs from across the city (including Stephanie Izard, Rick Bayless and Virtue’s Damarr Brown). The festival kicks off with Tacos & Tequila, followed by the Hamburger Hop, Somm Sessions, Grand Cru, and Prost! In the Park.

12. Manteno Oktoberfest

September 22-25 | Manteno, Illinois
If you’re looking for an Oktoberfest south of Chicago, Manteno’s Oktoberfest could be for you. The festival features a beer tent, carnival rides, and three music stages.

13. Oaktoberfest

September 23-24 | Downtown Oak Park
You read that pun correctly. Oak Park is hosting Oaktoberfest with—you guessed it—beer, wine, local food, live music, and family activities.

14. Long Grove Apple Fest

September 23-25 | Downtown Long Grove
With fall around the corner, apple-themed festivals are back. The Village of Long Grove is hosting its annual Apple Fest, with food from local restaurants, music activities for families, and an apple pie eating contest.

15. Oktoberfest Chicago

September 23-25 | St. Alphonsus Church, Lakeview
St. Alphonsus in Lakeview hosts this Oktoberfest to celebrate the coming autumn and “all things Bavarian.” You can purchase tickets for a special tasting night, too, which comes with 15 tastings and a souvenir glass.

16. Beer in the Woods

September 24 | LaBagh Woods
Support the Forest Preserves with this beer event at LaBagh Woods. Taste beer and cider from more than 40 local breweries, along with a guided walk through the woods, live animals, food vendors, and more.

17. Brookfield Zoo Oktoberfest

September 24 | Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo is hosting its own Oktoberfest. Live polka music, along with beer, and a seasonal menu of bratwurst, sausages, and pretzels will be available to zoo-goers.

18. Naperville Oktoberfest

September 30-October 1 | Naper Settlement, Naperville
Naperville is hosting an Oktoberfest at the end of the month. German cuisine, local Oktoberfest beer options, and polka and rock music all take place under a tent at Naper Settlement. There will also be games, including a stein-holding contest.