The Best November Events in Chicago

You might think that Chicago slows down with winter blowing in during the month of November. Actually, it’s one of the busiest months of the year. From one of the best art fairs in the country to a cornucopia of holiday festivities, here are some of the best November events in Chicago.

During the first weekend of the month, Navy Pier’s Festival Hall turns into an enormous gallery filled with unique works of art. SOFA, or Sculptural Objects Functional Art, is a highly curated art fair that only selects the best works from around the world. Galleries are selected based on the quality of their selections, and individual artists are often available for questions as well as to conduct demos.

Every holiday season, Daley Plaza turns into a German market. Christkindlmarket, modeled after the historic market in Nuremberg, opens the Friday before Thanksgiving and runs through December 24. The majority of the vendors are from Germany and many of them offer handcrafted gifts. One of the favorite aspects of the market is enjoying the traditional German food and drink in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Also before Thanksgiving is the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. The event begins mid-morning when Pioneer Plaza, next to Tribune Tower and the Chicago River, becomes Festival Lane. There are family events and entertainment, but the big event is that evening’s parade. The Grand Tree-Lighting Parade is a spectacle with floats, marching bands, and celebrities and is broadcast nationally. The day culminates with a rousing display of fireworks.

People look forward to November all year just for the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade. The parade kicks off at 8 a.m. from Congress Avenue and continues up State Street until Randolph Street, covering about a mile of downtown Chicago. This parade has happened annually since 1934, when it was started to lift spirits during the Great Depression. It continues to make the season bright with its festive floats and spirit of community.

While the cold weather might tempt you to stay indoors during the month of November, these events are just the tip of the iceberg. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for even more fun things to do this winter.