Attend The Thanksgiving Day Parade
Join the Chicagoans on Thanksgiving, November 25th at 8 am off of State Street from Congress to Randolph for the annual Thanksgiving Day parade! This has been a Chicago Tradition since 1934!
Creative floats, marching bands, and balloons parade up State Street to make one of the best holiday parades in the city! Be sure to show up early for a good spot, or catch the broadcast of it on WGN 9.
Navy Pier: One Of Chicago’s Top Attractions
Navy Pier is where you go in Chicago for events, free public programs, attractions, culture, dining, shopping and more. It’s where fun lives large, whether you’re a visitor or local, with family or friends.
As a nonprofit organization, the People’s Pier offers a diverse and eclectic range of activities and experiences that ignite the imagination, stimulate the senses and allow your spirit to soar.
It’s no surprise it’s a place that continues to inspire discovery and wonder after more than a century. Find out what it has to inspire you…
Have Fun Playing And Learning At Chicagos Childrens Museum
Its in the name: the Childrens Museum is all about learning and having fun whilst youre doing it. If youre stuck for things to do in Chicago with kids and youre really strapped for ideas, this one is a total no-brainer. Its actually super cool and will keep your children entertained for actual hours.
Theres permanent exhibits like the Tinkering Lab for older kids whereas younger children will love digging for bones at the Dinosaur Exhibition elsewhere Treehouse Trails and Kids Town are ideal for babies and toddlers. Theres always something new here. Tip: its a good thing to do in Chicago when its raining because its indoors!
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Encounter The Great Outdoors At Northerly Island Polar Adventure Days
Northerly Islands 119-acre natural expanse sits just south of downtown and makes for an ideal outdoorsy getaway when youre itching to escape the dirty city snow. For some pre-planned entertainment, hit up Polar Adventure Days on January 22 and February 26 for wintery events like snowshoeing and wildlife experiences with Siberian Huskies.
The Art Institute Of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the most spectacular centers of culture in the world. If you are traveling with kids under the age of 14, the entry is free for them.
The institute is vast and can be a lot to cover, but head to the Ryan Learning Center to choose a mini-tour for the family.
The Vitale Family Room is also a great place to explore puzzles, games and books for kids.
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Catch A Game At Wrigley Field Ballpark
The ballpark itself is the second-oldest in the United States, having been built in 1914 and pipped to the post by Bostons Fenway Park . Catching a game here is one of the best things to do in Chicago. Loads of other people think so too: its been featured in loads of stuff from The Simpsons and Family Guy to Ferris Buellers Day Off.
Where To Stay In Chicago In Winter
You can get some great bargains in the hotel world if youre looking for Chicago accommodation in the winter. I stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was nothing like the Holiday Inns Ive stayed at in England.
It was perfectly positioned downtown by the river. The hotel doesnt actually even start until floor 15, so you know youre going to have some impressive views over the city.
Theres a pool, a cafe, a shop and a restaurant on site. My bedroom was big, with a huge bed, a fridge, and a welcome platter of meats and cheeses, which is always appreciated.
If you want somewhere more boutique, try the
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Illumination At The Morton Arboretum
When: November 20-January 2nd, 2022
Fantasizing of an enchanted forest filled with magic, color, and light? Fulfill your fantasy with a visit to Illumination at the Morton Arboretum this winter.
This truly immersive, one-of-a-kind experience allows visitors to leisurely meander through a one-mile path containing light installations, projections, and special technology, all designed to illuminate and change the appearance of trees and other plant life.
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Visitors are encouraged to interact with their wintery environment by hugging a tree and watching as the lights respond.
Be sure to warm up with a cup of steaming hot chocolate or an ooey gooey roasted marshmallow smore post-walk!
Hit The Ice And Test Out Your Skate Skills
Whether it’s your first time strapping on some winter blades or not, youre in luckthe skating rinks in Chicago cater to both pros and first-timers alike. Downtown, Maggie Daley Park sports a quarter-mile ice ribbon that winds skaters down a circuitous path, while nearby, McCormick Tribune Skating Rink provides beautiful skyline views near Chicagos famous Christmas treenot to mention an onsite Momentum Coffee serving apres-skate snacks and hot drinks. Meanwhile, Light Up The Lake in Navy Pier hosts skating under twinkling lights inside their indoor Alpine rink, alongside other holiday festivities like an indoor light garden, craft beer and cocktails from Alpine Pub, and a holiday market where guests can purchase festive momentos. Out by O’Hare International inside Rosemonts Parkway Bank Park, Chicago Wolves Ice Rink is an NHL regulation-sized facility open to the public, while over in Hyde Park, Midway Plaisance Park offers an expansive rink complete with bargain-priced rentals.
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Pay A Visit To The Actually Beautiful International Museum Of Surgical Science
A trip International Museum of Surgical Science may be of the more unusual things to do in Chicago, but its actually a pretty fascinating place. Its filled with strange things like preserved heart valves in jars and graphic depictions of surgery from back in the day well, actually 600 historic paintings so if youre squeamish look away.
Luckily for the less strong of stomach, the museum is set in a lakefront, early 20th-century mansion. Its stunning. Think wood panelling and leather chairs, marble floors and gilded staircases. Its worth a visit for the building alone. At the end you can even pick up kooky souvenirs from the gift shop. Plushie microbe, anyone?
Opens Nov 1: Rosemonts Amaze Light Festival
9850 Balmoral Avenue, Rosemont
Rosemonts Amaze Light Festival is the perfect spot for a festive family night out. Guests can visit seven holiday-themed illuminated worlds, go tubing on Polar Peak, shop in the holiday market, and indulge in festive food and drinks. Children can also look forward to visiting Santas Workshop, making fun crafts, and taking a train ride on the Arctic Express.
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Best Hostel In Chicago: Freehand Chicago
Set in stunning Streeterville is Freehand Chicago our pick for the best hostel in Chicago. This charming hostel is built in a classic 1920s building and comes complete with stylish décor. It has a cocktail bar, a fitness centre, and on-site laundry facilities. They even provide linens, blankets and plush towels to guests.
Light Show In The Garden
Head a stretch North to the Chicago Botanic Garden to see The night comes alive with color, imagination, and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light at new event Lightscape.
You walk on a one-mile path that includes an avenue of luminous linden trees. This event runs from November 12th, 2021-January 2nd, 2022.
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A Recipe For Disaster At The Windy City Playhouse
150 N Dearborn St, Chicago
A Recipe For Disaster is an immersive, food-inspired theater experience crafted by Rick Bayless and Windy City Playhouse. Admission includes six bite-sized tastings by Chef Rick Bayless himself, a cocktail sampling, and two wine pairings.
This music-filled adaptation infuses Shakespeares romantic comedy with the hit songs of The Beatles. Audiences can look forward to hearing more than 20 songs performedincluding classics like Let It Be, and Here Comes the Sun. Masks are required in addition to proof of vaccination or a negative covid test.
Remember How To Laugh Again
If Netflix reruns of The Office arent quite as funny as you remember, turn to the experts for your giggle fix. Comedy clubs across the city are doing their best to keep you laughing through Americas somehow-still-not-over pandemic, including live stand-up shows at Zanies and, of course, the world-famous improv-sters at Second City. In the meantime, head over to Lincoln Lodge to bask in the oddball glory of the nations longest running independent comedy showcase, recently back from hiatus. For even more options, check out this handy rundown.
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Grab A Sled Innertube Or Toboggan And Set Off To The Races
Us real Midwesterners know that once the snow starts to stick, the old-fashioned winter fun truly begins. Literally any incline is a potential sledding hill, and from bunny hills to propper slopes, there are plenty of spots for a nice intentional tumble in the snow. A few favorites? The approachable, four-sided Cricket Hill near Montrose Beach, the well-kept slope in Soldiers Fields south parking lot, Evanstons 65-foot slow-covered former trash mountain inside James Park, and, last but not least, the quaint bunny hill in Humboldt Park near the lagoon with its an army of snowmen obstacles. If youre looking for something finely groomed and well-lit, Cook County Forest Preserve hires staff seven days a week to upkeep hills in the Dan Ryan Woods, Caldwell Woods, Swallow Cliff Wood North, and Westchester Woods.
Best Things To Do In Chicago On Thanksgiving 2021
Thanksgiving this year, youre in Chicago and want to find things to do other than eating turkey? Youre in luck because theres so much to do in Chicago in November. Its the perfect time to hit the events, check out a new museum exhibit, start the shopping season, do nighttime activities, enjoy the holiday spirit, and more.
Here are some of the top things to do in Chicago on Thanksgiving. Plus, check out our guide to Thanksgiving gift ideas to make the holiday even more fun!
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Peruse Chicagos Legendary Array Of Street Art
While there are an array of acclaimed museums in Chicago offering exception experiences, you need not look further than the streets of Chicago themselves for mesmerizing art. Stepping outside into Chicagos streets you can find vibrant creations on every corner.
Today murals do more than just provide an extraordinary spectacle for our eyes. They pay homage to icons, fight for equality, celebrate different heritages, and honor the heroes of society. Some of Chicagos murals are so esteemed that theyve embedded themselves in the very fabric of Chicago and are now as much part of the Windy Citys identity as its iconic sculptures and landmarks.
If youre not familiar with Chicagos art scene and would like to learn about its history and the inspiration behind some of its famous murals you can head to our Must-See Chicago Murals article or jump on a West Town Street Art Walking Tour of Chicagos famed mile-long street art corridor known as the B_Line.
You can grab tickets to an art walking tour here.
Best Things To Do In Chicago
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Naming the best things to do in a city like Chicago is a tough task. Its constantly changing, surprising even longtime residents and in the midst of the continued COVID-19 pandemic, some must-see attractions across the city have been temporarily closed. Luckily, closures and delays havent stopped the citys pulse, creativity or innovation. No Navy Pier or Wrigley Field? No problem. Theres much more beyond the glittering Magnificent Mile and noted institutions packed with the typical tourist traffic. Trek like a local, uncover some natural hidden gems, embrace your inner foodie or splurge on some serious perspective high above the skyscrapers downtown here are the best things to do in Chicago.
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Catch A Glimpse Of The Leonids Meteor Shower
The Leonids are one of the many natural wonders to light up the sky each year and this year the Leonid meteor shower will peak in the dark hours between midnight and dawn on the morning of November 18.
The Leonid meteor showers occur every year in November. Earths orbit crosses the orbit of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, leaving behind a trail of debris that vaporizes in the atmosphere. Stargazers can expect to see fireballs, which are bigger, brighter, and last longer than the average meteor, as well as earth grazers, low-flying meteors with long colorful tails that traverse close to the horizon.
Bonus Take A Free Neighborhood Tour
Whether youre a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, theres always something new to discover in Chicago. Get to know a new neighborhood on a free Chicago Greeter tour, led by a friendly local who will show you each neighborhoods landmarks, hot spots, and hidden gems. Or drop into a free InstaGreeter walk that covers the top things to see around the Chicago Loop.
Looking for more? Check out our guide on free things to do in Chicago all year long.
You dont need to reach for your wallet to get your fill of fun things to do in Chicago. Here are 10 of our favorite free and cheap things to do in Chicago this month, including holiday celebrations, ice skating, outdoor light displays, free museum days, and so much more. Start planning your budget-friendly Chicago adventures now.
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Ride A Huge Ferris Wheel Together
If the Willis Tower seems a little bit too high for you , then you can always opt for a ferris wheel. Because of the close quarters nature of ferris wheels, they automatically win for the romance factor. Even more if you go for a ride at night time.
The Centennial Wheel, built for the 100 year anniversary of Navy Pier, is one of the most romantic things to do. The glittering views across the lit-up city skyline is literally stunning. Nothing like an amazing city view at night for a perfect little date night. Hot tip: Save your precious time for a fancy dinner afterwards and book tickets in advance to skip the queue.