Chicago events calendar for November 2015. Best festivals, fun things to do, Thanksgiving events, holiday lights, kids activities, free entertainment Chicago, Illinois.

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Best events for 12 months
November 2015

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do in November 2015 with this calendar of events.

Events are listed by starting date, and all dates are confirmed. Mileage is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Children’s film festival

November 1, 2015 (begins Oct. 23)

Chicago locations

Billed as North America’s largest film festival for children, the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF) showcases the best in culturally diverse, non-violent, value-affirming new cinema for children and offers interactive workshops.

Haunted House at Rosemont

November 1, 2015 (begins Oct. 2)

14 miles NW

Disturbia is a 35-room nightmare at MB Financial Park at Rosemont. See hours.

Family haunts

November 1, 2015 (begins Sept. 26)

32 miles SW

The Haunted Barn at Bengtson’s Pumpkin Farm in Homer Glen is fine for mature kids. The Fun Barn will entertain even the youngest children. Also visit the corn maze, kiddie rides, and petting zoo.

Aurora haunted house

November 1, 2015 (begins Sept. 26)

38 miles west

Basement of the Dead and Shattered 3D are two horrifying attractions in one place. Nov. 1 is “lights out” night.

Joliet haunted house

November 1, 2015 (begins Oct. 1)

38 miles SW

Take a 40-minute trip through 40 terrifying rooms and play Zombie Paintball at Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead [sound] in Crest Hill.

Expand your mind

November 1 - 8, 2015 (begins Oct. 24)

Chicago locations

Chicago Humanities Festival is a series of talks and events that explore the human condition and feature exciting thinkers, artists, and performers.

Ballet-free Nutcracker

November 5 - Dec. 27, 2015 (uncertain)

7.4 miles north

Clara struggles to save Christmas in the imaginative, family friendly version of the Nutcracker that returns to The House Theatre of Chicago.

Wilder Mansion market

November 6 - 7, 2015

19 miles west

Wilder Mansion Holiday Market has arts, crafts, and seasonal gifts in a historic Elmhurst mansion. Free.

Art and design fair

November 6 - 8, 2015 (preview Nov. 5)

1 mile east

Sculpture Objects and Functional Art + Design Fair (SOFA) is a curated art exposition of design, fine art, and decorative art at Navy Pier.

Rubber fest

November 6 - 8, 2015

5 miles north

Mr. International Rubber (MIR) is a rubber-fetish event that includes cocktail parties, a rubber/leather market, and awards at the Center on Halsted.

Aquarium show

November 6 - 8, 2015

28 miles NW

Visit the shark encounter, take a fish seminar, shop the vendors, and get tickets for a Saturday dinner at Aquatic Experience at Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Schaumburg.

Polish film festival

November 6 - 22, 2015

Chicagoland locations

The Polish Film Festival in America shows new films by Polish filmmakers from around the world.

Whiskey tasting

November 7, 2015 (12 to 4 p.m.)

0.7 miles west

A ticket to River North Whiskey Festival gets you 30 tastes of whiskeys, bourbons, and scotches at John Barleycorn and Moe’s Cantina. Discount tickets $29.

Chili contest & tasting

November 7, 2015

3 miles west

A ticket to the Chili Cook-Off includes unlimited chili, gelato, and two beers at The Arts of Life.

Yoga festival

November 7, 2015

3.5 miles north

We Love Yoga Festival has classes, workshops, and a bazaar at DePaul University Lincoln Park Campus.

Baking show

November 13 - 15, 2015

28 miles NW

America’s Baking and Sweets Show has baking competitions, celebrity demonstrations, hands-on classes, vendors, and a family zone at Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.
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Japanese festival

November 14, 2015

7.6 miles north

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

Wood-aged beer festival

November 14 - 15, 2015

2.6 miles SW

Enjoy beer with exotic flavors at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer, billed as the country’s largest celebration of wood-and-barrel-aged beer at UIC Forum, afternoon or evening.

Christmas play

November 14 - Dec. 27, 2015

multiple locations

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

French soirée

November 19, 2015

1 mile south

Passport to France celebrates fine gastronomy, French chefs, wines and spirits, culture, and entertainment at the Union League Club.

Playful fashion show

November 19, 2015

2 miles west

PlayCHIC is a toy-and-game inspired fashion show of haute couture at Alhambra Palace Restaurant.

Villa Park arts & crafts

November 19 - 22, 2015

21 miles west

See hundreds of craft booths at Autumn Festival, an Arts & Crafts Affair in the Odeum Expo Center.

Holidays around the world

November 19, 2015 - Jan. 3, 2016

8 miles south

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.

Horror convention

November 20 - 22, 2015

28 miles NW

Days of the Dead includes live music, a monster ball, panels, celebrity signings, contests, and after parties, at Chicago Marriott Schaumburg.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

November 21, 2015

Downtown Chicago

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival begins midday with family events at Lights Festival Lane in Pioneer Court. The Tree-Lighting Parade starts at 5:30 p.m. and runs down Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive, ending with fireworks. All free.

Book fair

November 21, 2015

1.5 miles south

Chicago Book Expo features local publishers and authors, with a pop-up bookstore, panel discussions, and readings at Columbia College on Wabash. Free.

Toy and game fair

November 21 - 22, 2015

1 mile east

The Chicago Toy & Game Fair features new toys and games, tournaments, stage entertainment, and costumed characters at Navy Pier.

Muscle car show

November 21 - 22, 2015

17 mile NW

Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals is an indoor showcase of 500 high-horsepower cars that includes “unveilings” and events for kids at the Rosemont convention center.

Holiday market

Nov. 21 - 22 and Dec. 12 - 13, 2015

2 miles west

Randolph Street’s Holiday Market offers affordable antique, vintage, and modern goods indoors at W Randolph & Washington.

Christmas tree lighting

November 24, 2015 (4:30 - 5 p.m.)

1 mile SW

Watch the mayor and tree donor flip the switch at Chicago’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, which includes a 4:30 p.m. music program in Daley Plaza.

Thanksgiving Parade

November 26, 2015

1 mile south

The Thanksgiving Parade features giant balloons, floats, and marching bands that go north on State Street from Congress to Randolph. Free.

Thanksgiving dinner

November 26, 2015

Greater Chicago area

Find a list of restaurants offering special menus for Thanksgiving at OpenTable.

Free day at the arboretum

November 26, 2015

28 miles west

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

Thanksgiving run/walk

November 26 & 28, 2015

Greater Chicago area

Gaming convention

November 27 - 29, 2015

14 miles NW

Wolfcon is for players of board games, computer games, and role-playing games at SpringHill Suites Chicago O’Hare.

ZooLights

Nov. 27, 2015 - Jan. 2, 2016 (dates below)

2.5 miles north

ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo features millions of holiday lights, ice carvings, music, carousel and train rides, food and gift shopping (plus photos with Santa some days). Open Nov. 27-29, Dec. 4-6, 11-23, 26-31, Jan. 1-2. Free entry.

Holiday trains - Botanic garden

November 27, 2015 - Jan. 3, 2016

24 miles north

Wonderland Express features trains running through an indoor garden past miniature buildings at Chicago Botanic Garden. See the schedule of daily events.

Improvised jazz

November 2015 (undated)

0.4 miles south

European Jazz Meets Chicago is an extraordinary evening of improvised jazz with local and European performers at the Chicago Cultural Center. Free.

Wine tasting

November 2015 (undated)

8 miles NW

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

Jazz festival

November 2015 (undated)

12 miles north

The Music Institute of Chicago celebrates jazz with musical performances and a lecture at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

Mustache soiree

November 2015 (undated)

0.9 miles south

The first Mustachio Ball has food stations, a bar, live music, entertainment, and a mustache theme at 410 S. Michigan Ave.

Beaujolais wine tasting

November 2015 (undated)

17 miles SW

Walk between restaurants in downtown La Grange to taste 18 to 20 different wines and appetizers during Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Tasting.

Beverage tasting

November 2015 (undated)

1.7 miles SW

Try 20 tastings of wine, beer, and spirits that pair perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner, with appetizers, at the Pre-Thanksgiving Tasting at Paola’s Vinum.
Next month: December 2015
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November 2015 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.