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Free and cheap things to do in Chicago this weekend: Aug. 31 – Sept. 2

Hundreds of local residents, tourists and jazz enthusiasts gather at Millennium Park Labor Day weekend each year to enjoy the largest free jazz festival in the world. | Photo credit: Patrick L. Pyszka, City of Chicago

Looking for things to do that won’t break the bank? We’ve got you covered with our weekly guide of free and cheap things to do in the city.

Chicago Jazz Festival – Free

The 38th annual Chicago Jazz Festival features four days of musical performances and programs at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. | Photo credit: Chicago DCASE
The 38th annual Chicago Jazz Festival features four days of musical performances and programs at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. | Photo credit: Chicago DCASE

What: The Chicago Jazz festival kicks off this week with performances at Millennium Park and neighborhoods all over town.

When: Aug. 29 to Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavillion, Michigan Ave. and Columbus Ave., Chicago

Live on the Lake – Free

Navy Pier’s new Centennial Wheel. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times
Navy Pier’s new Centennial Wheel. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

What: Navy Pier is hosting a weekend of all ages shows starting with Rod Tuffcurls & The Benchpress and Workout Music on Friday, Nick Lynch Band on Saturday and Indika Reggae Band on Sunday.

When: Starts at 2 p.m. or later, depending on the day.

Where: Navy Pier

Adler Planetarium – Free

Astronomer Larry Ciupik looks through the telescope at the Doane Observatory of the Adler Planetarium on Monday, May 15, 2017. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Astronomer Larry Ciupik looks through the telescope at the Doane Observatory of the Adler Planetarium on Monday, May 15, 2017. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

What: Adler Planetarium is offering Illinois residents free general admission to celebrate the final days of summer vacation before children get back to school.

When: Aug. 27 to Aug. 31., 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Adler Planetarium, 1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

Midnight Circus in the Park – $5

A performance by the Midnight Circuit in the Parks. | Laura Collins Britton / Provided by Midnight Circus
A performance by the Midnight Circuit in the Parks. | Laura Collins Britton / Provided by Midnight Circus

What: Professional circus performers ditch the tent and bring their act to Chicago’s parks. Children under the age of 2 get in free.

When: Aug. 31, Sept. 1 to 2.

Where: McKinley Park, 2210 West Pershing Road, Chicago

Labor Day Fireworks Cruise – $20

Fireworks on display just north of Navy Pier on July 4, 2017. | Colin Boyle/For the Sun-Times
Fireworks on display just north of Navy Pier on July 4, 2017. | Colin Boyle/For the Sun-Times
Colin Boyle/ For the Sun-Times

What: Celebrate Labor Day weekend on the water with a cruise. Watch fireworks to the sound of a live DJ and enjoy some cocktails.

When: Sept. 1, 8:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Where: DuSable Harbor, 200 North Breakwater Access, Chicago

African Festival of the Arts – $20

The African Festival of the Arts takes place in Washington Park.
The African Festival of the Arts takes place in Washington Park.

What: This festival includes a marketplace, food tastings, performances, art and plenty of shopping.

When: Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: Washington Park, 51st Street at Cottage Grove Ave.

More Sun-Times Guides with things to do

Feel like exploring a new neighborhood this weekend? Check out “The Grid,” a series of Sun-Times neighborhood guides that have the scoop on where to eat, drink and shop. If a farmer’s market is more your speed, check out our Sun-Times 2018 Farmers Market Guide.

Tell us about free and cheap things to do!

We’d love to hear about your suggestions for free and cheap things to do in Chicago. Email us at freeandcheap@suntimes.com and we may include your event in a future story.