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Things To Do in Chicago in November

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This post covers the best things to do in Chicago this November.

It includes free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime activities, all updated for 2022.

For ideas for any time of the year, be sure to read our master post on things to do in Chicago.


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

November is a wonderful time of year to be in the Windy City!

Check out the suggestions below for a variety of activities, including sports, theatre, music, and of course, holiday activities!

For some of the more popular things to do in Chicago, read the following posts:


1. Go to a Sporting Event

While November can be chilly, cheering on your teams will keep you and your friends and family warm.

Multiple teams will be playing home games this time of year! See below for more details.  

Click here to see all the sports happening in Chicago. 

You can find more kid-friendly activities in the section below.


2. Go on a Sightseeing Tour

The best way to learn about a new city is on a sightseeing tour! 

Join our history-loving Chicago-adoring tour guides on foot. We offer pay-what-you-like walking tours every day of the week in the Windy City.

Free Chicago Walking Tours

If you’d prefer to enjoy a bus tour, we have a great comparison of Chicago’s best. From hop-on-hop-off buses to dedicated tours, you’ll find one to suit you here .  

Another great option if you’d like to enjoy a ride is to take a river cruise.


3. Go to a Concert

Chicago is home to many music venues from giant spaces to intimate bars. 

Here are just a few of the concerts happening in November of 2022.

Riot Fest is also in Chicago in November. It takes place at Reggies Rock Club on November 6th. Tickets can be found here.

Slackfest is also in town. On November 11th, the 5th Annual festival takes place at Reggies Rock Club. Tickets can be found here.

Click here to see all the Chicago concerts happening this month.



4. Go to the Theater

Chicago is home to many regional theatres, small black box spaces, and Broadway Tour houses. There is something for everyone!

To see a full calendar of all shows or to buy tickets for shows, click here.

Since both Broadway and Off-Broadway shows are just now beginning to make a comeback following the pandemic, there aren't as many productions as usual happening this month.

That said, there are a few notable shows you might want to consider attending:

The first option is Legally Blonde, coming to the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan on November 19th.

You may also want to see Wicked which is playing all month long at the James M. Nederlander Theatre.

The Lion King is also playing, from November 17th - 27th, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

A production of A Christmas Carol starts on November 19th and runs through the 27th at the Goodman Theatre.

Click here to see a full calendar of all shows and get a real taste of Chicago theatre.  

Pro-tip: Check out our self-guided theatre tour to admire the exterior of some of the oldest movie palaces in the downtown Loop.


5. Lycée French Market 

For the 18th year, the Lycée Français de Chicago’s school campus takes a weekend to transform into a French Market, with local and French artisans selling art, jewelry, home goods, food, and so much more!

This year, they will also be introducing a new outdoor section with food trucks and vendors. Located at: 1929 West Wilson Ave. 

In the past, there has been a suggested donation of $5. For more budget-conscious activities, check out our free things to do section below.


6. Enjoy Human+Nature

As leaves turn, and the smell of fall returns, you might like to take a stroll through The Morton Arbortetum.

This year they have Human+Nature. At various locations across the property 15-26 foot tall statues have been place.

Some weigh several tons, and all represent the connection humans have to the natural world.

These statues have been created by artist Daniel Popper. If you'd like to see his work, you can find more information here.


7. See Live Stand-Up Comedy

If you're in need of a good laugh, some of the most famous comedians in the world will be performing stand-up in the Chicago area this November.

Here are a few of the more notable comedy shows happening this month:

For even more shows, check this list of Chicago stand-up comedy specials.


8. Attend the Thanksgiving Day Parade 

Join the Chicagoans on Thanksgiving, November 24th 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.  


9. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival & Tree Lighting

Kick off the holiday festivities at The Maginicent Mile Lights Festival parade takes place on November 19th, 2022.

It's been taking place for 31 years and many families have made attending part of their holiday traditions.

This holiday parade includes marching bands and festive floats that march down Michigan Avenue as the street lights up towards the famous Chicago Christmas Tree. 

The Christmas tree is carefully selected out of the many submissions by local residents, before being decorated in an estimated one million lights. 

There will be music and a visit from Santa Claus. Test out your balance before the ceremony on the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink .  

Don’t forget to check out our Magnificent Mile Tour!


10. Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

While you do pay for a tourist discount pass upfront, it can give you a bulk discount or free admission into some interesting tours and museums.

Discounts can save you up to 55% on retail prices.

Each Chicago discount pass includes a variety of fun family-friendly activities and attractions. You can find the following attractions on various passes:

For more details, make sure to read our full post covering Chicago tourist passes.


FREE THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

Chicago offers many free activities to enjoy including some we have mentioned some above like the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the Tree Lighting or the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Check out our post about the Top Free Things to Do in Chicago .


Christkindlmarket

Based off of the Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Germany, The Christkindlmarket has grown to be the largest Christmas market in the United States and brings in over a million guests from all across the country. 

Christkindlemarkt Mug in Chicago

This beloved Chicago tradition is free to explore, while stopping by to peruse the traditional German and European ornaments, crafts, food, and drinks. 

Dates of the market are November 18th - December 24th, on Fridays and Saturdays.


The Chicago Cultural Center

Tour this stunning building, known for it's Tiffany stained glass dome, or attending one of the many free events taking place weekly.

There are often concerts, dance performances, film screenings and more.

Check out their calendar for a list of events in November.


The Watertower Museum

Go into the bottom of the Watertower for a small but mighty free art museum! 

If you are joining us on our Pay-What-You-Like Magnificent Mile walking tour - you will enter this museum with your tour guide.


Art on the Mart

Starting November 19th, Art on the Mart will be in full swing! 

Head the Riverwalk at sunset to see an amazing art projection on the Merchandise Mart Building (a building so large, it has it’s own zip code!) 

The projections go up around 8:30 & 9:00 each night. For a list of locations, check the Art on the Mart page.


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN NOVEMBER

Many of our top ten activities are perfect for the evening hours, such as seeing a sporting event, going to the theater of attending a concert.

Below are some more ideas. Be sure to read our post about the top things to do in Chicago at night for even more suggestions.  


Nights Out In a Park

Wherever you might be in the city, you are not far from a local park that is hosting a neighborhood event.

Chicago holds over 2000 unique events at 77 different neighborhood parks throughout the year, and many are free.

You may find a movie showing, a community bonfire, a seasonally-themed party for the whole family, and even a service project.

Info: For the schedule of events, go to www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/night-out-in-the-parks


Ice Skating in the Winter

From mid-November to mid-March, whenever the weather permits, Millennium Park hosts the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, free and open to the public.

If you bring your own skates, you won’t have to spend a dime to skate outdoors, well into the night in the beautiful downtown under the lights.

Find out more about ice skating in Chicago in our post


Zoolights

The Lincoln Park Zoo lights up at night with millions of holiday lights!

Beyond elaborate light displays, you will discover live ice carving, festive music, train rides, food, and even Santa Claus himself, until his return to the North Pole on December 20th

This event is daily beginning in late November and ending in early January.


Take a Night Tour

Looking to see a different side of Chicago? Take a walk with some spooky history on our evening Ghost Tour.  

If you are more interested in learning about the fun holiday traditions in Chicago, check out our seasonal Holiday Tour that begins in late November.

Free Tours by Foot guide emir leading Chicago Holiday Tour

Also, several bus tours operate night versions of their day tours.

Be sure to read our post about the top things to do in Chicago at night for even more suggestions.  


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN NOVEMBER

Throughout this post, we have listed several activities that are great options for the whole family like watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade or going to a play.

Below you will find several great options to keep your children entertained this month, including parks, museums, and theater!

Be sure to check out our post about family-friendly activities in Chicago for a more complete guide.


Chicago Children’s Film Festival

The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival is the largest film festival for kids and showcases the best in culturally diverse, non-violent, value-affirming new cinema for children and offers interactive workshops.

Now in it's 39th year, you can attend the festival November 4th - 20th.


Walk, Run or Watch a Race!

The Hot Chocolate Run (America’s Sweetest Race) is on November 5th.  The whole family can run through downtown Chicago and admire the buildings! 

The charity connected to this year's run is St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.


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”.

This is Lightscape, which includes a Winter Cathedral and a fire garden.

You walk on a one-mile path that includes “an avenue of luminous linden trees”. 

This event runs from November 11th, 2022 - January 8th, 2023.


Thanksgiving Trot/Kids Race

Run off that turkey and the rest of your Thanksgiving Dinner with these two race options.

On Thanksgiving Day itself, the Turkey Trot tradition continues for the 44th year.

Choose from the 5K, 8K, or kid’s ramble along with a festive tailgate. Proceeds benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

If you miss this race, or just want extra exercise you can participate in the Grant Park Turkey Trot 5K or kid’s dash on the November 24th, 2022.


Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest

Beginning in November, bring the entire family to Navy Pier for Wiinter Wonderfest.

Festival Hall has been transformed into an indoor winter playground with characters, rides, snacks, and activities. 

There is even an indoor ice skating rink! Children shorter than 3 feet are free.

NOTE: Official dates for this event have yet to be confirmed for November 2022.


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About The Author

Mel

Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: September 6th, 2022
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