This November, rekindle your holiday spirit as some of Chicago’s most festive traditions such as Zoolights, the Christkindlmarket, and the city’s Thanksgiving parade make a highly anticipated return. Theater and music aficionados can also look forward to the premiere of several Broadway productions, plays, and concerts. Here are 30 of the best things to do in Chicago and the suburbs this November.
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1901 W Madison St, Chicago
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United Center is welcoming a new batch of renowned entertainers to the stage this month. Highlights include The Fugees: 25th Anniversary Tour Nov. 2-3, Luke Combs Nov. 4-5, and Trevor Noah: Back To Abnormal on Nov. 20.
4746 N Racine Ave., Chicago
The Riviera Theatre is featuring a stacked list of musicians all month long! Some standouts are The Wood Brothers on Nov. 6, Teyana Taylor’s Farewell Tour Nov. 15, and Milky Chance on Nov. 27
8 W Monroe St and 24 W Randolph St, Chicago
Audiences have four exciting Broadway productions to choose from this month. “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and ”Paradise Square” are both set to premiere Nov. 2. “Beautiful” runs from Nov. 2-Nov. 7 and “Paradise Square” runs until Dec. 5. Additionally, Disney’s “Frozen” premieres Nov. 19 and runs through January, and “What the Constitution Means to Me” is running until Nov. 21. Masks are required in addition to proof of vaccination or a negative covid test.
170 N Dearborn St, Chicago
The Goodman is offering two exciting shows to its audience. The first is “Fannie: The Life and Music of Fannie Lou Hamer,” which is set to run until Nov. 14. Then, the Goodman’s highly anticipated annual production of “A Christmas Carol” premieres Nov. 20.
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.
Ends Nov. 21: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Presents “As You Like It”
800 E Grand Ave, Chicago
This music-filled adaptation infuses Shakespeare’s romantic comedy with the hit songs of The Beatles. Audiences can look forward to hearing more than 20 songs performed—including classics like “Let It Be,” and “Here Comes the Sun.” Masks are required in addition to proof of vaccination or a negative covid test.
1601 N Clark St, Chicago
Inspired by the exhibition “American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago,” the Chicago History Museum is hosting three hours of activities that invite families to explore and learn together. This upcoming family day will feature a variety of live performances, crafts, and a photo booth.
Nov. 5: WhiskyFest Chicago
151 E Wacker Dr., Chicago
Check out WhiskyFest Chicago, the longest-running whiskey festival in the country. The festival gives attendees over 350 types of whiskey to sample from and features seminars and delicious food options. Proof of vaccination is required and general admission tickets are $275.
Nov. 5-21: JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival
This virtual film festival kicks off with eight films streaming over three weekends. Many of the films will explore the issues of hate, prejudice, and inequality. Attendees will be able to enjoy a variety of genres, from documentaries to dramas. The festival will also feature accompanying Q&As with subject matter experts. Tickets can be purchased here.
380 Old Green Bay Road, Glencoe
Put your post-Halloween pumpkins to good use! Bring your pumpkins to the Glencoe Community Garden from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to smash your pumpkin. All pumpkins are then composted.
1852 W 19th St, Chicago
The National Museum of Mexican Art is throwing its annual ball in celebration of Día de los Muertos. The night will feature food from various Chicago restaurants, cocktails, and live music by Esso Afrojam Funkbeat and Dj Mo Mami. Tickets are $125 in advance and $150 at the door. All attendees must be 21+ and show vaccination card to enter.
4100 IL-53, Lisle
Throughout the year, The Morton Arboretum hosts “Dog Admission Days,“ the only days where non-service dogs are allowed on the grounds. On Nov. 7, take advantage of the opportunity to explore the Arboretum’s 16 miles of one of a kind trails with your canine companion.
Nov. 7: Hot Chocolate 5k/15k race
301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago
Run a beloved race alongside fellow chocolate enthusiasts. Participants will receive a finisher mug that includes fondue, dippables, and hot chocolate. The post-run celebration will feature a variety of vendors and music. Tickets for the 5k race can be purchased online for $54 and 15k tickets are $74.
Nov. 11: Pizzata! At Eataly Chicago
43 E Ohio St, Chicago
Katie Rich, writer and comedian for Saturday Night Live, will host her a Pizzata! in La Pizza & La Pasta at Eataly Chicago. From 6-8 p.m., meet Katie and get a taste of her featured pizza paired with an Italian wine. Even better, $5 from every featured pizza will be donated to Meals on Wheels Chicago, a local organization with the mission of ensuring that Chicago seniors and individuals with disabilities benefit from nutritious meal programs.
Nov. 11-14 Chalet’s 2021 Holiday Preview Shopping Event
3132 Lake Ave., Wilmette
Chalet’s Holiday Preview is the North Shore’s annual four day long shopping event. Attendees are required to reserve a 1-hour shopping slot online beforehand.
Opens Nov. 12: Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Spend an evening walking along a mile-long trail of Holiday lights at the Chicago Botanic Garden and take in the insta-worthy sights and sounds. Standard adult tickets are $26 and children (3-12) tickets are $14. Children under 2 get in for free.
Nov. 14: Shedd After Hours: ‘90s Night
1200 S Lake Shore Dr., Chicago
90s attire is encouraged for this 21+ after hours event at Shedd Aquarium. This event will provide specialty cocktails as well as spectacular views of beluga whales and bluegills, stingrays and sturgeons. Tickets prices range from $14.95 to $24.95 and can be purchased online.
Opens Nov. 17: Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
5700 S Lake Shore Dr., Chicago
Visit the Museum of Science and Industry for its annual Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light celebration. Visitors can take in a four-story Grand Tree and a collection of displays that represent holiday traditions celebrated around the globe. Access is included in museum entry.
Opens Nov. 19: Rosemont’s Amaze Light Festival
9850 Balmoral Avenue, Rosemont
Rosemont’s 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 Santa’s Workshop, making fun crafts, and taking a train ride on the “Arctic Express.”
Nov. 19: ChristkindlMarket Opens
50 W Washington St, Chicago ; 3635 N Clark St, Chicago
Chicago’s beloved ChristkindlMarket is back starting November 19! Both the Wrigleyville and Chicago locations will be open to the public this year.
Nov. 19: Lincoln Park ZooLights
2001 N Clark St, Chicago
Enter a winter wonderland illuminated by more than one million lights at Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights display. Also new this year: sensory-friendly visit times and an 18-foot holiday tree. Monday and Tuesday nights are free and Wednesday-Sunday tickets are $5.
Michigan Ave. & Washington St, Chicago
This year’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be in-person starting at 6pm. After the ceremony, the tree will continue to be illuminated until Jan 9.
Nov 19. : Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon Opens
337 E. Randolph St, Chicago
Chicago’s beloved ice-skating ribbon will open November 19th for skaters. Reservations will open Nov. 8 at noon.
Nov. 20: Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
401 North Michigan Ave., Chicago
The event-filled day begins at 11:00 a.m. starting at Lights Festival Lane with festive booths and family activities, including photos with Santa Claus. The iconic parade of fabulous floats , balloons, and musical performances, and more begins at 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 20-21: Woman’s Club of Evanston Holiday Bazaar
1702 Chicago Ave., Evanston
The Holiday Bazaar is an annual holiday art and gift show. The bazaar showcases vendors who hand-make and design lovely gifts for the holidays.
2136 West Chicago Ave.
Shop among an endless selection of candles, all while enjoying a specialty cocktail at Pose Cultural Art Gallery. This Chicago gallery will also be hosting a candle making class on Nov. 4.
November 25: Chicago Thanksgiving Parade
State St, Chicago
Wake up early to catch lively performances from some of Chicago’s most talented artists and entertainers. Then, watch the skyline fill with giant helium balloons, led by Teddy the Turkey, the parade’s official mascot.
Nov. 25: Life Time Turkey Trot Chicago
There’s nothing better than a festive run with family and friends to help you work up an appetite for that big holiday meal! The Life Time Turkey Trot 5K and 8K take place in Lincoln Park along Chicago’s lakefront and support the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Runners and walkers of all paces are welcome — parents can even walk with kiddos in strollers and little ones can participate in three different kids races depending on their age group. Pre- and post-races, hang out at the Turkey Day Tailgate, where kids can sip hot apple cider and grown-ups can enjoy a well-earned beer from sponsor Michelob Ultra and play games like corn hole and turkey bowling.
Nov. 25: North Shore Turkey Trot
The 5K and 10K races are returning to Highland Park this year, and welcome runners and walkers alike. Fundraising benefits the Highland Park Police Benevolent Association.
Nov. 26 – Dec. 5: ‘Twas the Night Before… by Cirque du Soleil
175 N State Street, Chicago
Catch Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever Christmas show, “Twas the Night Before” at the Chicago Theatre this holiday season. The play follows Isabella, as she is whisked away to a magical world and meets characters inspired by the original timeless poem.
Opens Nov. 26: Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
8400 W 31st St, Brookfield
This year marks the 40th year of Chicago’s biggest lights festival. In addition to the lights, attendees can marvel at Brookfield’s 41-foot talking tree, a skating rink, carolers, and more! Tickets are $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for kids (and cheaper online).
Nov. 26-28: Santa Visits the Chalet
3132 Lake Ave, Wilmette
Make this holiday season extra special for your family with a socially distanced visit with Santa at Chalet. Appointments for a five minute visit with Santa must be made beforehand. This year, The Chalet is hosting pet visits with Santa as well. Bring your pet to visit Santa and snap a picture on Friday, November 26th from 12 – 2pm.
220 S Michigan Ave., Chicago
Don’t miss this beloved holiday classic on the big screen at Symphony Center as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams’ delightful, Academy Award-nominated score.
Nov. 27: North Pole Express
1116 Depot St., Glenview
Take a voyage to the North Pole on a Glenview Metra Train, inspired by “The Polar Express.” During this magical train ride, everyone is offered crafts and “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg is read aloud. Upon arrival at the North Pole (Fox Lake), Santa Claus visits the train to see every child.
More From Better:
- The Best 2021 Food and Drink Advent Calendars
- Holidays at Home: 50 of the Best Movies and TV Shows to Stream Over the Holidays
- Home ‘Fir’ The Holidays — How to Choose and Care for Your Christmas Tree
Melissa Perry is a senior journalism and international studies major from Northwestern University. Raised in Mt. Sterling, Illinois, Melissa is a proud Midwest girl through and through with a lifelong love for dance and the arts!