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November 2019

1 November 2019 - 30 November 2019

Whisky tasting

November 7, 2019

A ticket to Whisky Live Chicago includes a dinner buffet, entertainment, and a glass to sample 180 different scotches, bourbons, and whiskies at Artifact Events.

Wine tasting

November 7, 2019

Sample 40 wines plus hors d’oeuvres on the Fall Wine Stroll that starts at Dank Haus. Repeats in April.

Japanese festival

November 9, 2019

JASC Holiday Delight celebrates Kodomo Matsuri with Japanese food, classical dance, Taiko drumming, a craft sale, a silent auction, and Santa at Japanese American Service Committee. Free.

Holidays around the world

November 14, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020

See trees decorated to represent many cultures, plus weekend ethnic song-and-dance performances during Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science & Industry. Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Museum party

November 15, 2019

Mix and mingle, visit the bar, eat snacks, see exhibits, and dance to bands at After Dark in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago for age 21+. This event repeats several times a year.

Christmas market

November 15 – Dec. 24, 2019

Christkindlmarket is an open-air European holiday market featuring traditional art, handmade gifts, German foods, choirs, and carolers on Daley Plaza. Free.

Classic Christmas play

November 16 – Dec. 29, 2019

A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ holiday classic about Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and three Christmas ghosts.

Nov. 16 to Dec. 29 – Goodman Theatre in Chicago

Christmas tree lighting

November 22, 2019

 (6 p.m.)

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony includes holiday music, a choir, and an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus at Millennium Park. Free.

Horror convention

November 22 – 24, 2019

Days of the Dead includes live music, a monster ball, panels, celebrity signings, contests, and after parties, at Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare. 

Light show in the garden

November 22, 2019 – Jan . 5, 2020

“The night comes alive with color, imagination, and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light” at new event Lightscape. You walk on a one-mile path that includes “an avenue of luminous linden trees” at Chicago Botanic Garden.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

November 23, 2019

Downtown Chicago

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival begins with family activities and Santa Claus in Pioneer Court at Lights Festival Lane (Friday 4 – 8 p.m. & Saturday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.). A Tree-Lighting Parade goes down Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive (Saturday 5:30 p.m.) ending with fireworks at 6:55 p.m. Free.

Toy and game fair

November 23 – 24, 2019

Chicago Toy & Game Fair features new toys and games, tournaments, costumed characters, and stage entertainment at Navy Pier, adult $16.34, child $9.17.

Ticket deal $8 (family $21)

Muscle car show

November 23 – 24, 2019

Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals is an indoor showcase of 500 high-horsepower cars that includes “unveilings” and activities for children (age 12 and younger free) at the Rosemont convention center.

Holiday train ride

November 23 – Dec. 29, 2019

Take a one-hour train ride through downtown Chicago as you drink cocoa on the Polar Express, which travels round trip from Union Station at Jackson Boulevard.

Christmas lights – arboretum

November 23, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020

See colorful tree lights and projections on a one-mile walk at Illumination, with fire pits to warm you up along the way at Morton Arboretum.


Christmas lights – Lincoln Park Zoo

November 29, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020

ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo features millions of holiday lights, ice carving, music, carousel & train rides, food, and gift shopping (plus photos with Santa some days). Free. Closed Dec. 24 & 25.

Thanksgiving Parade

November 28, 2019

 (8 to 11 a.m.)

The Thanksgiving Parade features giant balloons, floats, and marching bands that go north on State Street (from Ida B. Wells to Randolph). Free.

Thanksgiving cruise

November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Day Cruise by Odyssey Cruises include a holiday lunch or dinner, departing from Navy Pier.

Free day at the arboretum

November 28, 2019

Enjoy Free Admission on Thanksgiving Day at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. (Buildings are closed.)

Christmas caroling

November 29 – Dec. 20, 2019

Bundle up and prepare to belt out holiday classics when asked to sing along with the choir at Caroling at Cloud Gate outdoors in Millennium Park. Free.

It’s a Wonderful Life: radio play

November 29 – Dec. 29, 2019

It’s a Wonderful Life recreates a live radio play based on the film about a man seeking purpose in life at the Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview.

Model trains & holiday flowers

November 29, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020

Model trains wind their way among 700 poinsettias and a Christmas tree during the Holiday Flower Show at Lincoln Conservatory. Open daily. Free.

Nutcracker ballet

November 30 – Dec. 29, 2019

Joffrey Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker features brilliant costumes, fanciful scenery, entrancing storytelling, and Tchaikovsky’s famous score played by the Chicago Philharmonic at Auditorium Theatre. This version by Christopher Wheel don is set in 1892, with a World’s Fair theme.

Christmas lights – Brookfield Zoo

November 30 – Dec. 31, 2019

Holiday Magic has a million twinkling lights, a train display, carolers, ice carvers, a magician, a talking tree, zoo chats, and singing to animals at the Brookfield Zoo. Dates in 2019: Nov. 30; Dec. 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 26-31.