Can you believe it? Labor Day weekend is almost here, marking the unofficial end of another glorious summer on Chicago’s North Shore. But, before the sun sets on one season and another rolls in, enjoy one last hurrah exploring everything the area has to offer, from can’t-miss concerts to family-friendly activities.
If you haven't been to Ravinia Festival (200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park) yet this summer, don't worry — there's still time! (And if you have been, you really can't visit too many times.) Start the long weekend with Culture Club, B-52s, and Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey on Friday, Aug. 31 or Saturday, Sept. 1. Tickets are also still available for Lucy Schaufer and Huw Watkins: The Class of 1938, part of the BGH Classics Series, on Saturday, Sept. 1, as well as O.A.R. and Matt Nathanson's "Just Like Paradise" Tour on Sunday, Sept. 2. Plus, lawn tickets are on sale for An Evening With Jethro Tull, the group's 50th Anniversary Tour, on Monday, Sept. 3, but hurry — reserved seats are already sold out.
And before you head out, read our Guide to Ravinia Festival to make sure your evening is a success.
Ravinia Festival, Highland Park
Before fall’s arrival, be sure to take advantage of warm weather with a trip to Chicago Botanic Garden (1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe). Over Labor Day weekend, visitors can enjoy the Garden Chef Series on Saturday, Sept. 1 with Chef Marcus Mooney of Pete Miller's Steak & Seafood Evanston, Malott Japanese Garden Family Sundays activities on Sunday, Sept. 2, and the final Carillon Concert of the season on Monday, Sept. 3 with Jim Fackenthal of the University of Chicago.
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
A day off of work means you have extra time to catch the hottest new shows hitting North Shore stages. The latest at Writers Theatre (325 Tudor Court, Glencoe), "Vietgone," runs through Sunday, Sept. 23 and follows two survivors who meet in a Vietnamese refugee camp in the ‘70s. It’s a play that's part "road-trip adventure, buddy film, romantic comedy and 'Hamilton'-esque rap musical." And at Oil Lamp Theater (1723 Glenview Road, Glenview), "The God Committee," also running through Sunday, Sept. 23, is a drama "that explores the moral, ethical and emotional issues surrounding decisions about organ transplantation" as members of the Heart Transplant Selection Committee of St. Patrick's Hospital must decide within minutes who will receive a newly-available heart.
Vietgone, Writers Theatre, Glencoe
You can’t say goodbye to summer without (at least) one more trip to the beach or pool. Evanston’s beaches close on Labor Day and offer a variety of rentals and lessons, while Winnetka beaches will also close Sept. 3. And Glencoe Beach will be open Sept. 1-3 for guests to soak up the last bit of summer with some sailboating and kayaking, picnicking, and more.
If the pool is more your scene, head out to Wheeling’s Family Aquatic Center (105 Community Blvd.), which will be open Sept. 1-3. Attractions here include Tsunami Splash, Paradise Falls, Lily Pad Lagoon, Willie the Whale Toddler Slide, a picnic area and grassy lounging area, and more. Skokie Water Playground (4701 Oakton St.) features five slides, a fully-accessible sprayground, and interactive multi-level play area, lap lanes and is open through September 3. And fortunately, the Splash Landings Aquatic Center (2400 Chestnut Ave., Glenview) is open year-round, so you can pretend it’s summer even in the dead of winter.
Skokie Water Playground