11 Things to Do in Downtown Chicago This November

There’s so much more to November than dudes not shaving. Next month is offering tons of amazing activities for anyone who wants to make the most of fall and winter in the city.

From art expos to food fests to the beginnings of holiday cheer, here are 11 things to do in Downtown Chicago in November 2019.


SOFA Chicago

november events chicago
Photo Credit: SOFA Chicago

October 31 – November 3 @ Navy Pier

If you’re looking for creative things to do in Chicago this November, we recommend visiting SOFA. SOFA stands for sculpture objects functional art and design, which is an annual expo that showcases the best three-dimensional work. If you’ve never been, it’s pretty cool and a great excuse to hang out at Navy Pier for an afternoon. Single-day tickets are $25 in advance, while a three-day pass is just $35.


Hot Chocolate 15K 

To Do Chicago - Hot Chocolate 15k
Photo Credit: Hot Chocolate 15k Facebook

November 3 @ Grant Park 

Are you looking for sporty things to do in Chicago Illinois this month? Stop by the Hot Chocolate 15K for one of the best races of the year. After a thrilling (re: exhausting) run through the city, you will be rewarded with a piping hot cup (re: bowl) of Chicago’s finest hot chocolate. For those looking to save their legs and breath, the event also offers a 5k route. Buy tickets here.



november events chicago
Photo Credit: Christkindlmarket Chicago

November 15 – December 24 @ Daley Plaza
November 22 – December 31 @ Gallagher Way

This might be the one we’ve all been waiting for. Christkindlmarket, everyone’s favorite outdoor holiday event, is a cool thing to do in Chicago in November at Daley Plaza. It will feature German and European food, drinks, crafts, and entertainment. Admission is free but prices vary from vendor to vendor.


Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers

november events chicago

November 8 – 9 @ UIC Forum


Endless tastings of wood and barrel-aged craft beers are perfect for cold weather. Brought to you by the creators of Chicago Craft Beer Week, make your way to the UIC Forum to get in on the action and earn your bragging rights for having sampled some of the rarest beers you can find from over 90 breweries.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

november events chicago
Photo Credit: Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

November 22 – 23 @ Michigan Avenue


If you don’t want to be disappointed, a highly-recommend thing to do in Downtown Chicago is to attend this all-weekend-long extravaganza on Michigan Avenue. This is the nation’s largest nighttime holiday event, highlighted by the Tree Lighting Parade. Enjoy family activities and tasty holiday treats, parade with your favorite characters, and experience live musical performances.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival


View our complete guide to the Mag Mile Lights Festival

Are you trying to plan your visit to the Mag Mile Lights Parade in Chicago? View our guide to the Mag Mile Lights Festival!

View the Mag Mile Lights Festival Guide

Chicago Toy & Game Fair

november events chicago
Photo Credit: Red Tricycle

November 21 – 24 @ Navy Pier

Also known as ChiTaG, this annual fair at Navy Pier is a cool thing to do in Chicago with the family. Get a sneak preview of new toys, games, and inventions from across the world and meet the brains behind them, too. Kids can also enjoy a giant bubble show, a young tech challenge, and more. Early bird tickets are $14 and $7 for adults and children, then $15 and $8 at the door.

Randolph Holiday Market

Randolph Holiday Market
Photo Credit: Randolph Holiday Market

November 23 – 24 @ 1341 W Randolph St

If you’re attempting to develop a list of productive things to do in Downtown Chicago, we recommend getting your holiday shopping done while having fun. Browse a unique selection of antique and vintage items, jewelry, art, and houseware at the Randolph Holiday Market. Parking is free and this is a family-friendly event!

Thanksgiving Parade

november events chicago
Photo Credit: Youtube (2013)

November 28 @ State Street

On Thanksgiving morning, watch as marvelous floats and marching troupes flood State Street for one of the best holiday parades in the city. Make sure to get there early to nab a good viewing spot! If you can’t make it, it will be broadcasted on WGN 9 Chicago.


november events chicago
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo

Opens November 29 – 30 @ Lincoln Park Zoo

Opening the last week of November and continuing through all of December, the illuminated display of the year takes place at Lincoln Park Zoo, welcoming the holiday with brilliant lights. This event can be enjoyed by both adults and kids, as it features crafts, pictures with Santa, holiday shopping, live ice carving, train rides, and seasonal beverages. Don’t miss Adults Night Out on November 29, either!

Winter WonderFest

Winter Wonderfest
Photo Credit: Navy Pier Facebook

Opens November 30 @ Navy Pier

Throughout the holiday season, Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest delights all ages with indoor attractions and magical experiences. Tickets have yet to go on sale, but you can check back here for more information soon!

Holiday Magic

brookfield zoo
Photo Credit: Brookfield Zoo

Holiday Magic

Opens November 30 @ Brookfield Zoo

A cool thing to do in Chicago in November with your kids is attend Brookfield Zoo to watch the holiday lights festival this season, complete with a 41-foot talking tree, a skating rink, carolers, and more! Tickets are $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for kids (and cheaper online!).


What are you excited to do in November? Tell us below!


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