Weekend 101: 9 Things to Do Around Chicago Nov. 22-24

Favorite holiday season events are back, like The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and Illumination at The Morton Arboretum, but you also won’t want to miss new events and exhibits like Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden and “Chicago’s Night Sky” at Adler Planetarium.

“My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today”

Opens Nov. 21

This American Writers Museum exhibit features thoughts on “writing influences, being multilingual, community, family, and what it means to be American” from contemporary writers.

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Nov. 22-23

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

Kick off the holiday season with this annual event featuring family activities, shopping, a Tree Lighting Parade (with appearances by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Santa, and more), and fireworks.


Opens Nov. 22

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

Don’t miss this new Chicago Botanic Garden event that gives you a chance to walk through a tunnel of lights, hear singing trees, roast marshmallows, and more.

“Chicago’s Night Sky”

Opens Nov. 22

Adler Planetarium Chicago's Night Sky
Photo courtesy of Adler Planetarium.

Adler Planetarium’s newest permanent exhibit opens this weekend and includes the opportunity to create your own constellation, see what Chicago’s night sky looked like in 1913, learn more about Adler’s work to reduce light pollution, and more.

Randolph Street Market’s Holiday Market

Nov. 23-24

Randolph Street Market Holiday Market Chicago
Photo courtesy of Randolph Street Market.

Shop clothes, art, home goods, gifts, and more from 125 vendors while making peppermint s’mores with XO Marshmallow, enjoying specialty drinks by Captain Morgan, and taking your kiddos to the Elves Workshop to create their own wrapping paper and decorate mini gingerbread houses. The Holiday Market will also take place Dec. 14-15.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Opens Nov. 23

Illumination at The Morton Arboretum
Photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum.

This “one-of-a-kind interactive spectacle of color, light and sound” returns for its seventh year with a new route and expanded pathway, plus two adults-only nights on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19.

More Can’t-Miss Events:

  • The Woman’s Club of Evanston’s Holiday Bazaar begins Nov. 22 with a Preview Party and continues through Nov. 24. Shop fashion, food, home decor, and more before the holidays.
  • Visit Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods for the 5th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition, “Enriching Life,” which opens Nov. 24. The exhibit includes more than 70 works of art in the center’s gallery.
  • Pilsen Community Market‘s winter season begins Nov. 24 and continues every other Sunday through April. Shop goods from Latino-owned businesses while also enjoying demonstrations, live music, drinks, and more.

Anna Carlson writes the weekly Weekend 101 column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine, and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital