30 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This November

Ready or not, the holiday season is here, which means the return of seasonal Chicago favorites like Christkindlmarket, ZooLights, and Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” However, you also won’t want to miss Black Ensemble Theater’s “The Other Cinderella,” dinner and a tour at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the brand new Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden.


Oct. 31 to Nov. 3: SOFA Chicago

Toots Zynsky, FORZA, 2019, filet-de-verre, 17 1/2 x 30 1/2 x 15 1/8 in. (44.5 x 77.5 x 38.4 cm). Image Courtesy of Heller Gallery.

Roughly 80 galleries will showcase 3D art and design pieces at this year’s SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design) Fair. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

Nov. 1-3: Jurassic World Live Tour

Jurassic World Live Tour in Chicago
Photo courtesy of Feld Entertainment.

Dinosaurs come to life (well, sort of) on the Jurassic World Live Tour. Adrenaline is a given, thanks to fantastic special effects, physical stunts, and, of course, dinosaurs big enough for an arena. Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont

Nov. 2: Taste of Donuts

Sample the best doughnuts and coffee from some of Chicago’s and the Midwest’s top restaurants and bakeries, including Stan’s Donuts, City Mouse, and Sweetwater’s Donut Mill. Morgan’s on Fulton, 952 W. Fulton Market, Chicago

Nov. 7: American Cancer Society’s Taste of Hope

Join the fight against cancer while dining on samples from Chicago’s top chefs and mixologists. Morgan Manufacturing, 401 N. Morgan St., Chicago

Nov. 7: Fall Wine Stroll

Explore the shops and restaurants of Lincoln Square and Ravenswood during this wine tasting event. Various routes and check-in locations

Nov. 8-10: Antiques + Modernism Winnetka Show

Shop furniture, art, clothing, jewelry, and more at this annual show benefitting Community House Winnetka. 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka

Through Nov. 10: Chicago Humanities Festival

It’s the 30th year of the Chicago Humanities Festival, and this promises to be just as thought-provoking as the years before. You’ll hear from your favorite artists, activists, journalists, policy makers, and many others. Various

Nov. 15 to Dec. 24: Christkindlmarket

Christkindlmarket Chicago
Photo by True Shot Studios.

This Chicago tradition returns for its 24th year this month. Plus, don’t miss the Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville at Gallagher Way starting Nov. 22. Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago

Nov. 16: Autism Speaks’ Chip In Casino Night

All proceeds from this event will support Autism Speaks’ “mission to promote solutions across the spectrum and throughout the life span for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.” Revel Fulton Market, 1215 W. Fulton Market, Chicago

Nov. 16: Watch What Crappens

This podcast is about all things Bravo, that deliciously salacious TV channel that features all of our favorite Housewives. Join the live podcast at City Winery and become one of the 1.3 million monthly listeners. 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago

Nov. 16 to Dec. 21: 2019 Winter Arts & Crafts Expo

Find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list at this expo featuring works from more than 140 artisans. Evanston Art Center, 1717 Central St., Evanston

Nov. 22-23: Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Photo courtesy of The Magnificent Mile Association.

Don’t miss two full days of family fun in the run up to the tree-lighting festival on the Magnificent Mile. Enjoy concerts and special deals from businesses in the area, plus (of course) a meet and greet with Santa Claus. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Opens Nov. 22: Lightscape

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

As if the Chicago Botanic Garden could get any prettier, Lightscape promises to be a stunning visual celebration of the holidays. Enjoy the beautifully lit paths, singing trees, ribbons of light, and a garden of fire. 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

Begins Nov. 23: The Polar Express Train Ride

All aboard The Polar Express! Show your golden ticket, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, meet Santa and his elves, and more during this magical trip. Chicago Union Station, 500 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago

Opens Nov. 23: Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum will glow with brilliant color during this interactive event, which returns for another season. Listen to seasonal music, sip warm drinks or roast marshmallows by the fire, or visit early on Nov. 22 for IllumiBrew. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle

Opens Nov. 29: ZooLights

This festive Lincoln Park Zoo event is back for its 25th year with live ice-sculpture carving, carolers, shopping, snacks and drinks, and ticketed experiences like the Light Maze and Century Wheel. 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago

Opens Nov. 30: Holiday Magic

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo’s iconic lion statues at the south gate entrance are decked out for the season during the annual Holiday Magic festival. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Zoological Society.)

Now in its 38th year, Brookfield Zoo’s annual injection of holiday magic features more than a million twinkling lights, a 41-foot talking tree, ice skating, carolers, ice carving, zoo chats, a magician, and much more. 8400 31st St., Brookfield


Opens Nov. 14: Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

Learn about holiday traditions from around the world at this favorite annual exhibit. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

Nov. 21: Adler After Dark: Enchantment Under the Stars

Be one of the first to see Adler Planetarium’s new exhibit, Chicago’s Night Sky, while also enjoying activities with Bottle & Bottega and Poems While You Wait; trivia; and “Sphere,” a fulldome sky show. 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

Ongoing: Dinner and a Tour

Dinner and a Tour at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Halibut at Marisol (Photo by Brittany Purlee.)

Go on a guided private tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art before or after enjoying a seasonal prix fixe dinner at Marisol from Chef Jason Hammel. Or, visit for Happy Hour instead. 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago


Through Nov. 22: Latino Music Festival

Latino Music Festival Chicago
Kaia String Quartet (Photo courtesy of The Silverman Group, Inc.)

Don’t miss Chicago’s only Latin classical music festival. See performers from both Latin America and Spain, from the colonial period to the 21st century. Various

Nov. 27: Cher

An absolute legend, Cher will perform at the United Center on her “Here We Go Again” tour, her first across the U.S. in more than five years. Don’t miss songs from her recent album, “Dancing Queen,” a tribute to ABBA. But also, just don’t miss it because … well … Cher. 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago


Opens Nov. 3: Jackie Taylor’s “The Other Cinderella”

In this rendition of the classic fairy tale, “Cinderella is from the projects, the Stepmamma works at the post office […] and The Fairygodmama is from Jamaica.” Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago

Nov. 16 to Dec. 29: “A Christmas Carol”

"A Christmas Carol" at Goodman Theatre in Chicago
Photo by Liz Lauren.

Even the biggest Scrooge in your life won’t be able to resist Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol,” Dickens’ heartwarming tale of goodwill and peace on earth (not to mention karma). With gorgeous sets and costumes, the company brings “A Christmas Carol” to the stage for yet another unmissable season. 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago

Nov. 30 to Dec. 29: “The Nutcracker”

Joffrey Ballet "The Nutcracker"
Photo by Cheryl Mann.

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without the magical strains of the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” Relive the magic of Christmas with the Joffrey’s classic interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago

Media Sponsorships

Better is a proud media sponsor of these events:

Nov. 9: Keshet — Annual Concert

Don’t miss Philanthropy Award winner Keshet’s Annual Concert with Peter Frampton. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie

Nov. 16: Cradles to Crayons — Un-Gala

Help keep 20,000 kids warm this winter by sorting, inspecting, and packaging winter essentials. Afterward, enjoy seasonal treats and an impact presentation. The Giving Factory, 4141 W. George St., Chicago

Nov. 16: A Safe Haven — 25 Year Anniversary Gala

Celebrate the past 25 years and support the continued efforts of A Safe Haven to end homelessness at this year’s gala, “A Legacy of Excellence.” The Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton Place, Chicago

Additional events Better is proud to support: