Chicago events calendar for November 2016. 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 2016
November 2016

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

Mileage is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Discount tickets marked green are from trusted sellers (Goldstar, Groupon, and LivingSocial).

Children’s film festival

November 1 - 6, 2016 (begins Oct. 28)

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.

Expand your mind

November 1 - 12, 2016 (begins Oct. 29)

Chicago locations

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

Film festival

November 1 - 13, 2016

Chicago & Glenview

Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema screens new films about Israeli culture at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago and ArcLight Cinemas in Glenview.


November 1 - 30, 2016 (also Oct.)

multiple locations

Discount prices include all taxes and ticket fees.

Tony-winning best musical

November 2 - 13, 2016

0.5 miles SW

Fun Home tells the story of Alison at three different ages, alongside her dysfunctional family, at the Oriental Theatre. Discount tickets.

Game of Thrones parody

November 2 - 13, 2016 (also Oct.)

3.8 miles north

Described as “darkly humorous and beautifully vulgar,” Thrones! The Musical features hilarious songs about six seasons of the HBO show at Apollo Theater for age 16+. Discount tickets.

Wine tasting

November 3, 2016 (6:30 to 9:30 p.m.)

8 miles NW

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

Young Frankenstein the musical

November 3, 2016

26 miles NW

Young Frankenstein is a live musical by Mel Brooks that spoofs the horror-film genre at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Discount tickets.

Cubs comedy

November 3 - 6, 2016 (also Oct.)

6.5 miles north

See a nostalgic production of the Chicago classic comedy Bleacher Bums about an assortment of die-hard Cubs fans at The Broadway. Discount tickets.

Female Sherlock Holmes

November 3 - 27, 2016 (also Oct.)

10.2 miles north

Miss Holmes (private investigator) and Miss Watson (doctor) are unconventional women solving a murder mystery at Lifeline Theatre. Discount tickets.

Blue Man show

November 3 - Dec. 31, 2016 (also Oct.)

4.5 miles north

Blue Man Group puts on an exciting show that combines comedy, theater, music, and special effects at Briar Street Theatre. Discount tickets.

Haunted house at Rosemont

November 4 - 5, 2016 (begins Sept. 30)

14 miles NW

Disturbia: Screams in the Park is a 35-room nightmare at MB Financial Park at Rosemont. See schedule.

Morton Grove haunted house

November 4 - 5, 2016 (begins Sept. 23)

14 miles NW

House of Torment has two themes at 8240 N. Austin Ave. in Morton Grove. (Closed on Oct. 3, 4, 5, 10, 17, and Nov. 1, 2, 3.)

Wilder Mansion market

November 4 - 5, 2016

19 miles west

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

Art and design fair

November 4 - 6, 2016 (preview Nov. 3)

1 mile east

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

Rubber fest

November 4 - 6, 2016

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.

All-American musical

November 4 & 6, 2016

27.8 miles north

Singin’ in the Rain is a song and dance classic about actors in the early days of Hollywood at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Discount tickets.

Aquarium show

November 4 - 6, 2016

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.

Oliver Twist

November 4 - 13, 2016 (also Oct.)

6.2 miles NW

Oliver! is a musical about a London orphan, based on the classic book Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, at St. Sebastian Players Theatre. Discount tickets.

Award-winning musical

November 4 - 20, 2016

12.7 miles north

Sweet Charity is a comedy by Neil Simon with show-stopping production numbers about a girl seeking love in gritty 1960s New York, live in Evanston Discount tickets.

Romantic comedy

November 4 - 20, 2016

14 miles north

Beyond Therapy is a satire about relationships and personal ads that features two singles and their misguided therapists at Skokie Theatre. Discount tickets.


November 4 - 27, 2016

Chicago & Rosemont

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey: Out of this World is an intersteller space story of good versus evil with video projection, acrobats, aerialists, and animals.

Adult drama

November 4 - Dec. 17, 2016 (begins Oct. 26)

9.4 miles north

Written by a Nobel Prize-winning playwright, Betrayal tells the story of a love affair in reverse, with an unusual twist at Raven Theatre. Discount tickets.

Adult variety show

November 4 - Dec. 23, 2016 (10 p.m.)

7 miles north

Kiss Kiss Cabaret is a fun mix of burlesque, off-color comedy, music, magic, and variety acts at Uptown Underground. Reviews.

Discount tickets.

Ballet-free Nutcracker

November 4 - Dec. 30, 2016

7.4 miles north

Clara struggles to save Christmas in the imaginative, family-friendly version of The Nutcracker onstage at the Chopin Theatre.

Discount tickets.

Party cruise

November 5, 2016 (9 p.m., board 8:15)

0.7 miles east

A Booze Cruise aboard the Anita Dee II offers amazing views from the open top deck, dancing, and a cash bar, departing from 200 N Breakwater Access. Discount tickets.

Dinner cruise

November 5, 2016 (7 p.m.)

1 mile east

Enjoy a buffet meal, DJ dance music, and views of the Chicago skyline aboard the Spirit of Chicago Dinner Cruise, which departs from Navy Pier.

Discount tickets $82.

Chili tasting

November 5, 2016 (5 to 8 p.m.)

3 miles west

Taste 20 meaty and meat-free chilies plus gelato and beer at The Arts of Life Charitable Chili Cook-Off at 2010 W Carroll Ave.

Macaroni & cheese festival

November 5, 2016

3 miles SW

Try cheesy dishes by 50 chefs (from truffle-braised duck to white cheddar and chorizo), and then vote for the best at Mac & Cheese Fest at UIC Forum.

Beer tasting

November 5, 2016

5.9 miles SW

A ticket to BeerHoptacular gets you 20 tickets to sample among 150 American craft beers, live music, local food for sale, and a homebrew competition at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios for age 21+.

Vegas style Shakespeare

November 5, 11, 13, 2016

0.9 miles south

The Fairy Queen by Chicago Opera Theater reimagines “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in a sultry Las Vegas nightclub at Studebaker Theater. Discount tickets.

Polish film festival

November 5 - 20, 2016

Chicagoland locations

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

College football

November 5 & 26, 2016

14.4 miles north

Watch the Northwestern Wildcats play in Evanston.

Children’s fairy tale

November 5 - 27, 2016 (begins Oct. 22)

10.2 miles north

Thumbelina is a musical based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen about a miniature girl who meets amazing creatures at Lifeline Theatre. Discount tickets.

Magic show

November 5 - Dec. 30, 2016

0.7 miles south

The Magic Parlour is an evening of close-up magic by an award-winning magician in the beautiful Palmer House Hilton Hotel. Discount tickets.

Cuban band

November 6, 2016 (2 p.m.)

27 miles west

The Havana Cuba All-Stars deliver a contemporary take on traditional Cuban music at McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn. Discount tickets.


November 7, 2016 (7 p.m.)

3 miles west

Watch the Chicago Bulls play the Orlando Magic in a home game at United Center. Discount tickets.

Comedy dinner

November 9 & 12, 2016

5.8 miles north

We Gotta Bingo delivers corny, bawdy, slapstick humor plus lasagna, bread, and salad, as you participate in a bingo game between rival parishes at Chicago Theater Works. Discount tickets.


November 9 - 13, 2016

0.7 miles SW

She’s back! Red-headed Annie belts out songs like “Tomorrow” in a new version of the popular musical at Cadillac Palace Theatre. Discount tickets.

Royal drama

November 9, 2016 - Jan. 15, 2017

1 mile east

In critically acclaimed King Charles III, the queen is dead. Now what happens to Prince Charles, Camilla, William, and Kate? See it live at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. Discount tickets.

Climbing the corporate ladder

November 10 - Dec. 23, 2016

3 miles NW

After being promoted from hotel housekeeping to management, Millie must decide who she’ll sacrifice to secure her family’s future in The Fundamentals, a funny and scathing look at America’s corporate culture at Steppenwolf Theatre. Discount tickets.

Chocolate & wine tasting

November 11 - 12, 2016

2.2 miles west

Chicago Artisan Chocolate Festival has lectures, demonstrations, exhibitors, and tastings at Stephen Bailey Auditorium. Repeats in April. Discount tickets.

Wood-aged beer festival

November 11 - 12, 2016

2.6 miles SW

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

Comedy film festival

November 11 - 12, 2016 (reception Nov. 10)

10 miles north

See funny feature films, short films, and student films at Chicago Comedy Film Festival at The New 400 Theaters. Opening reception Friday, after-party Saturday.

Indoor art market

November 11 - 13, 2016

0.9 miles north

Visit 60 artists and a dozen food vendors at Artisan Market Streeterville at Northwestern University. Free.

Baking show

November 11 - 13, 2016

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.

1980s and ‘90s convention

November 11 - 13, 2016

30 miles west

The inaugural RewindCon [sound] promises TV celebrities, live music, and vendors in Bloomingdale. Discount tickets.

Nutcracker musical

November 11 - Dec. 30, 2016

34 miles north

The Nutcracker is a one-hour fantasy featuring Marie, a nutcracker that comes to life, a mouse king, a sugar plum fairy, and music by Tchaikovsky at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Discount tickets.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

November 11, 2016 - Jan. 8, 2017

0.8 miles north

Kids ages 3 to 13 will enjoy watching Peanuts cartoon characters on stage during A Charlie Brown Christmas at Broadway Playhouse.

Discount tickets (except Nov. 14 to Dec. 25).

Whiskey tasting

November 12, 2016 (noon, VIP 11 a.m.)

0.7 miles west

River North Whiskey Festival features 50 varieties of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch at Moe’s Cantina and Old Crow Smokehouse. Discount tickets.

Dinner cruise

November 12, 2016 (7 p.m.)

1 mile east

Enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne and a three-course meal aboard the luxurious Odyssey as you cruise past the Chicago skyline, departing from Navy Pier. Discount tickets $106.

Japanese festival

November 12, 2016 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

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.

Book fair

November 13, 2016

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.

Family lantern festival

November 13, 2016

7 miles north

A ticket to Laternenfest and St. Martin’s Parade gets you a lantern kit to assemble and join the parade, with singing, crafts, and a bake sale at Dank Haus.

French soirée

November 17, 2016

1 mile south

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

French wine tasting

November 17, 2016 (5 p.m.)

17 miles SW

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

Family musical: Rudolph

November 17 - 20, 2016

0.4 miles SW

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a cheerful, song-filled live adventure featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Abominable Snow Monster, Hermey the Elf, and Rudolph at The Chicago Theatre. Discount tickets.

Contemporary dance

November 17 - 20, 2016

0.5 miles south

The Fall Series by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has four works, including two world premieries, at Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Discount tickets.

Villa Park arts & crafts

November 17 - 20, 2016

21 miles west

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

It’s a Wonderful Life: radio play

November 17 - Dec. 31, 2016

3.3 miles north

It’s a Wonderful Life recreates a live radio play based on the popular movie about a man seeking purpose in life at Greeenhouse Theater Center. Afterwards, join the cast for milk and cookies. Discount tickets.

Holidays around the world

November 17, 2016 - Jan. 8, 2017

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. Closed Nov. 24 & Dec. 25.

Playful fashion show

November 18, 2016 (8 p.m.)

1 mile east

PlayCHIC is a toy-and-game-inspired fashion show of haute couture, with an open bar, desserts, and DJ music in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier.

Modern dance

November 18 - 20, 2016

1 mile south

The legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem performs three works with passion, power, and technical perfection at Auditorium Theatre. Discount tickets.

Sports memorabilia

November 18 - 20, 2016

17 miles NW

Sports Spectacular is a sports collectibles convention with 300 vendors plus athletes selling autographs at Rosemont convention center. Repeats in March.

Horror convention

November 18 - 20, 2016

28 miles NW

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

Stamp show

November 18 - 20, 2016

29 miles NW

See postage stamp exhibits and shop from 80 vendors at Chicagopex at the Westin in Itasca. Free.

Christmas market

November 18 - Dec. 24, 2016

1 mile SW

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

Christmas lights - arboretum

November 18, 2016 - Jan. 2, 2017

27 miles west

See colorful tree lights and interactive laser lights on a one-mile walk at Illumination, and then warm up at the fire pit at the Morton Arboretum. Closed dates for 2016: Nov. 21, 24, 28 and Dec. 5, 12, 24, 25.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

November 19, 2016

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.

Tasting event

November 19, 2016 (2 sessions)

3.2 miles SW

A ticket to Drink Local gets you samples from local wineries, distilleries, and breweries, with food for sale at Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC. Discount tickets.

Toy and game fair

November 19 - 20, 2016

1 mile east

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

Muscle car show

November 19 - 20, 2016

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

November 19 - Dec. 11, 2016 (see below)

2 miles west

Randolph Street’s Holiday Market offers affordable antique, vintage, and modern goods indoors at W Randolph & Washington on Nov. 19, 20, 26, 27; Dec. 10, 11. Discount two-day tickets.

Christmas play

November 19 - Dec. 31, 2016

multiple locations

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

Contemporary ballet

November 20, 2016 (3 p.m.)

0.9 miles south

Elements Contemporary Ballet performs two works: Pathos (a modern take on Mozart’s Requiem) and The Sun King (set in the court of France’s Louis XIV) at Studebaker Theater. Discount tickets.

Vintage holiday market

November 20, 2016

8.1 miles north

Shop for classic holiday trees, ornaments, toys, and lighting at Vintage Garage Holiday Market , which also has clothing, jewelry, and household furnishings in a covered parking garage at 5051 N. Broadway.

Christmas tree lighting

November 22, 2016

0.5 miles south

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony begins with a music program at 5:30 p.m. in Millennium Park.

Thanksgiving dinner

November 24, 2016

Greater Chicago area

Find a list of restaurants offering special menus for Thanksgiving at the Chicago Tribune and OpenTable.

Thanksgiving Parade

November 24, 2016

1 mile south

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

Free day at the arboretum

November 24, 2016

28 miles west

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

Thanksgiving run/walk

November 24 - 26, 2016

Greater Chicago area

Magic show

November 25 - 26, 2016

0.8 miles north

Ivan Amodei involves the audience in his entertaining 90-minute magic show Intimate Illusions, with live cello accompaniment at the Ritz-Carlton. Discount tickets.

Games convention

November 25 - 27, 2016

27 miles west

Wolfcon is for players of board games, computer games, and role-playing games at the College of DuPage.

Christmas lights - Lincoln Park Zoo

November 25, 2016 - Jan. 1, 2017

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). Free entry. Open Nov. 25-27; Dec. 2-4, 9-23, 26-31; Jan. 1.

Holiday trains - Botanic garden

November 25, 2016 - Jan. 2, 2017

24 miles north

Wonderland Express features trains running through an indoor garden past miniature buildings at Chicago Botanic Garden. See events schedule. Closed Dec. 25.

Holiday trains - Lincoln Park

Nov. 25, 2016 - Jan. 8, 2017 (every day)

3 miles north

Model trains wind their way through a miniature village among poinsettias during the Winter Flower & Train Show at Lincoln Park Conservatory. Free.


November 27, 2016 (noon)

2 miles south

Watch the Chicago Bears play the Tennessee Titans in an AFC-NFC battle at Soldier Field. Discount tickets.
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© November 2016 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois. ord-11