Carving turkeys and stuffing our bellies surrounded by loved ones is a pastime we look forward to all year, no doubt. Extend the celebration and make memories to be thankful for by hitting up any of these events that’ll keep your little turkeys moving, from parades to turkey trots and everything in between.
Art on theMART
Merchandise Mart is making things special for Chicagoans this holiday season. As part of their holiday program, they will project four renowned artworks by Andy Warhol in alignment with the Art Institute of Chicago’s fall exhibition, Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again. Event details.
Magical Christmas Days at Santa’s Village
Santa’s Village will host “Magical Christmas Days” filled with holiday cheer, entertainment, shopping, festive treats, rides, and of course, visits with the Man in Red, Santa Claus himself. Event details.
Gallagher Way’s Winterland
Gallagher Way will be decked out with holiday flare bigger and brighter than ever before. Winterland includes the return of the famous Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville, a 30-foot holiday tree, ice skating, curling and skating lessons, Santa’s Workshop, holiday movies and much more. Event details.
Lincoln Park ZooLights
Be there when the switch is flipped to begin the annual spectacular light display at Lincoln Park Zoo on Fri., Nov. 29 at 4:25 p.m. next to the Wild Things gift shop. The paths will be illuminated with musical light displays and fun family activities and crafts are spread throughout. Watch the nightly live ice sculpture carvings, snap pics with Santa, enjoy strolling carolers and sip on warm spiced wine. Event details.
Christmas Around the World at MSI
The family is going to be enchanted by the trees and displays that are decorated to represent the rich multicultural heritage of Chicago and live holiday performances. The crown jewel will be the floor-to-dome Grand Tree with 30,000 twinkling lights, sparkly ornaments and all of the trimmings. Event details.
Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum
Walk the mile-long path and gaze in amazement at the LED-lit trees through the winter woods. Bright light shows set to The Nutcracker music and glowing trees that respond to touch and sound will amuse and stimulate the senses. Keep toasty warm by stopping at a cozy bonfire or enjoying a hot beverage (adult options available). Event details.
Dazzling Holiday Trolley Ride
Hook up with Chicago Trolley Co. for its annual Holiday Lights Tour. The lightly narrated adventure shows the best of Chicago’s holiday lights and stops at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Zoolights show. Sights on the tour include The Mag Mile, Macy’s holiday windows, Christkindlmarket, the John Hancock and Daley Plaza trees, Millennium Park and more. Event details.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Get ready to fight a dragon, swim with merpeople, and find out just who put Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire™! Rediscover the magic of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs Patrick Doyle’s unforgettable score. Event details.
Light Up the Park at Parkway Bank Park
Parkway Bank Park’s Light Up the Park tree lighting event will feature a spectacular display of more than 80,000 lights, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, free horse-drawn sleigh rides, holiday carolers and ice carving viewing. Event details.
Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
Along a mile-long path, the night comes alive with color, imagination, and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light. At times, you’ll find yourself in the center of it all — stepping inside a cathedral of golden light, walking down an avenue of luminous linden trees and moving through colorful ribbons of light. Event details.
Say Guten Tag! to Santa
Bundle up for this outdoor market that brings the cherished German and European tradition of the Christkindlmarkt in Germany to the Loop and Wrigleyville and adds a heap of local charm. You’ll see the market’s signature wooden cabins topped with festive red-and-white-striped canopies, each packed with handmade gifts, food and drinks from around the world and many are run by native German speakers. Event details.
Millennium Park Ice Skating
Take a spin on the ice with a magnificent view at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Once again this year, the rink will offer free ice skating lessons Friday-Sunday. While you’re there, check out the 106th annual Christmas Tree display. Event details.
Ring in the holiday season with the 2019 Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade! Enjoy gigantic balloons, the nation’s finest marching bands, majestic horses, festive floats, incredible performance groups, celebrities, and an appearance from Santa Claus! Event details.
Local Charitable Turkey Trots
Work up an appetite and justify an extra slice of pie after spending your morning burning excess calories in a local race. Many city neighborhoods and suburban towns host these Thanksgiving Day trots, and most of them are benefiting a great cause, adding to the spirit of giving and gratitude!
Grab your glow sticks and running shoes and join Reindeer Run at Brookfield Zoo. With a two-mile course entirely within Brookfield Zoo, you and your family can “fun run” and be the first to see the zoo all decked out in lights for its Holiday Magic!
Naperville’s annual Turkey Trot benefits the Noon Lion’s Club, a charity supporting children and families with hearing and visual impairments and diabetes support.
Downer’s Grove is hosting their annual Bonfield Express 5K, raising money to provide scholarship assistance to high school seniors at Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South, Lisle and Westmont high schools.
Enjoy a stunning view of the lakefront by entering Evanston’s Flying Turkey 5K. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Vineyard Food Pantry and Foundation 65. A canned goods drive to benefit the panty will also take place before the race.
By running the North Shore Turkey Trot, you’re supporting the Highland Park Police Benevolent Association which reacts during times of joy and sorrow, providing a valuable network of support for its members, Law Enforcement Officers and other law enforcement communities.
The Turkey Trot Chicago 5K/8K is the largest Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in the Chicago area typically filled with good cheer, costumes, post-race festivities and donations toward a food drive benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Too busy on Thanksgiving morning? Consider hitting the pavement two days after at the Post-Thanksgiving Turkey Trot in Grant Park on November 30. Parents will love the Lakefront views and children will burn off their energy in the Kids’ Dash and the famous finish line cinnamon rolls.
Schaumburg’s competitive half marathon and 5K benefits the Misericordia Heart of Mercy, which supports individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and takes place Nov. 30.
— Maria Chambers