Chicago Events in November 2018

The city is in full holiday mode, and we can’t wait for all of the exciting Chicago events in November 2018!  And, there’s plenty of reason to be excited. Turkey day is almost here, and Christmas music is already invading the airwaves and coffee shops everywhere.  So, do you have all of the season’s happenings marked on your calendar? Here are a few things we’re looking forward to:

City of Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

When:  November 16th

Where:  Millennium Park, Wrigley Square

The 105th annual Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be hosted by Miguel Cervantes this year, the star of Chicago’s production of Hamilton.  This time-honored tradition will take place beneath a gorgeous spruce in Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square.  In addition to the tree lighting, there will be music and a special appearance from the mayor, as well as some other festive pageantry before the tree lights up in celebration of the start of the holiday season here in Chicagoland.    

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

When:  November 16th and 17th

Where:  Multiple venues

Chicago’s most famous shopping district, the Magnificent Mile, will kick off the holiday season by lighting up the trees along Michigan Avenue.  Festivities begin on Friday, November 16th with family-friendly activities and visits from Santa at Pioneer Court.  Then, on Saturday, November 17th, stores along the strip will offer special holiday experiences and offers throughout the day, followed by a two-hour tree lighting parade along Michigan Avenue.  To top it all off, catch the fireworks display in the evening along the Chicago River.


When:  November 16th – December 24th

Where:  Daley Plaza, Loop

Everyone in Chicago knows that it’s not truly the holiday season until you’ve experienced the city’s famed, open-air Christkindlmarket that’s inspired by a similar seasonal tradition found in Germany.  Market-goers can do all of their holiday shopping at the booths set up throughout Daley Plaza, with everything from handcrafted nutcrackers, to beer steins, to glass ornaments, to clothing, and more! And, while you’re shopping, be sure to take a break to treat yourself to some tasty treats and traditional spiced wine.


When:  November 16th – January 6th

Where:  Lincoln Park Zoo

As winter starts to move in over the city, most of the animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo will head indoors.  But, as they cozy up inside, the zoo will transform into a glorious winter wonderland of twinkling lights. The beloved ZooLights decorates the entire zoo with themed displays to greet the holiday season.  Throughout the next few months, guests will find ice-sculpture carvers and carolers, as well as hot seasonal beverages available to keep them cozy and warm as they wander the grounds. ZooLights will even have several ticketed events this year, including a Holiday Market on November 27th, an adults-only night on November 29th, a live performance of music from A Charlie Brown Christmas on December 9th, and a Zoo Year’s Eve celebration on Dec 31st.

Thanksgiving Parade

When:  November 22nd

Where: State St. and Congress Pkwy.

Turkey day simply isn’t complete without the traditional Thanksgiving Day parade.  Be a part of the festivities, and head down to State Street in the Loop to see all of your favorite characters float along Congress Street toward Randolph Street.  In addition to the colorful floats, there will be marching bands, performers, and so much more.

Chicago is the place to be during the holiday season.  So, get out and enjoy all that this glorious time of year has to offer!  


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