Chicago events calendar for November 2017. Best festivals, fun things to do, Thanksgiving events, holiday lights, kids activities, free entertainment Chicago, Illinois.

Best events for 12 months

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

Miles are from the Wrigley Building in Chicago.

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Children’s film festival

November 1 - 5, 2017

Chicago locations

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

Israeli film festival

November 1 - 5, 2017

multiple locations

Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema screens new films about Israeli culture at ArcLight Cinemas in Glenview and a few other locations.

Expand your mind

November 1 - 12, 2017

Chicago locations

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

Wine tasting

November 2, 2017 (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 in April.

Wilder Mansion market

November 3 - 4, 2017

19 miles west

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

Intense haunted house

November 3 - 4, 2017

45 miles NW

The Realm of Terror Haunted House promises “the craziest, most intense, extreme Halloween experience” located halfway to Milwaukee in Round Lake Beach..

Aquarium show

November 3 - 5, 2017

27 miles NW

Visit the sea lions, join a seminar, shop the vendors, and see fish on display at the Aquatic Experience at Schaumburg Convention Center.

Macaroni & cheese festival

November 4, 2017 (noon & 6 p.m.)

3 miles SW

Try cheesy dishes by 50 chefs (from truffle-braised duck to white cheddar and chorizo) with five drink tickets included at Mac & Cheese Fest at UIC Forum.

Beer tasting

November 4, 2017

5.9 miles SW

A ticket to BeerHoptacular gets you 20 tickets to sample some of the 150 American craft beers, live music, food for sale, and a home-brew competition at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios for age 21+.

Aurora haunted house

November 4, 2017

38 miles west

Basement of the Dead has creative special effects and entertaining characters. See schedule.

Comedy film festival

November 9 - 11, 2017

10 miles north

See funny feature films, short films, and student films at Chicago Comedy Film Festival mostly at The New 400 Theaters. The first night (Nov. 9) includes a reception.

Movies and music festival

November 9 - 12, 2017

5 miles NW

The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CIMMfest) is “where movies and music meet.” See films with a music connection by day, and hear live music with a film connection by night at Wicker Park and Logan Square.

Short films

November 10 - 11, 2017

8.5 miles north

See nearly 100 short films at the Chicago International Reel Shorts Film Fest at Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark Street. The schedule consists of programs 70 to 120 minutes long.

Whisky tasting

November 10, 2017 (6:30 p.m., VIP 6)

16 miles NW

A ticket to Whisky Live Chicago includes a dinner buffet, a comedy show about whisky, educational classes, and a glass to sample 150 different scotches, bourbons, and whiskies at The Westin O’Hare.

Aged beer festival

November 10 - 11, 2017 (SOLD OUT)

2.6 miles SW

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

Kinky film festival

November 10 - 11, 2017

9.7 miles north

CineKink Chicago screens films “that celebrate and explore a wide diversity of sexuality” at Leather Archives & Museum for age 18+.

Cocktail party

November 11, 2017 (8 p.m.)

0.5 miles north

Buttercream Ball promises a “casually elegant evening full of cocktails, confections, entertainment, and fun” with dancing and a cake competition at The James Hotel to support charity.

Family lantern festival

November 11, 2017 (3 p.m.)

7 miles north

A ticket to Laternenfest & St. Martin’s Parade gets you a lantern kit to assemble so you can carry it in the parade at dusk, with singing, crafts, a bake sale, and an optional dinner at Dank Haus.

Japanese festival

November 11, 2017 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

7.6 miles north

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

Wine tasting

November 11, 2017 (5 to 9 p.m.)

29.4 miles NW

Sample 150 wines from around the world with craft spirits and “a vast buffet menu” at the Wheeling Wine Festival at The Westin Chicago North Shore for age 21+.

Holiday art fair

November 11 - 12, 2017

0.6 miles NW

Gazebo Holiday Market features local artists selling jewelry, clothing, and food at Embassy Suites on State Street. Donation. (A preview party on Friday and a brunch on Saturday support the Junior League.)

Science-fiction plays

November 11 - 12, 2017

7 miles north

See short plays with science-fiction and fantasy themes during Paragon at The Public House Theatre.

French market

November 11 - 12, 2017

7.5 miles north

Lycée French Market has vendors of fine and decorative arts, French foods, food trucks, and a Saturday night party at 1929 W. Wilson Avenue.

Dance spectacular

November 12, 2017 (7:30 p.m.)

1 mile south

Auditorium Theatre celebrates the past 50 years with A Golden Celebration of Dance, featuring dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Dutch National Ballet, Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, Parsons Dance, Vienna State Ballet, and The Washington Ballet.

French soirée

November 16, 2017

1 mile south

Passport to France celebrates fine gastronomy, French chefs, wines and spirits, culture, and entertainment at the Union League Club, followed by a party at Untitled Supper Club.

French wine tasting

November 16, 2017 (5:30 to 8:30 p.m.)

17 miles SW

Walk between restaurants in downtown La Grange to taste wine with appetizers during Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Tasting, a charity benefit.

Christmas tree lighting

November 17, 2017 (6 p.m.)

0.5 miles south

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony includes holiday music, a choir, and an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus at Millennium Park. The tree will remain in place until January 6, 2018. Free.

Museum party

November 17, 2017 (9 p.m.)

1 mile south

Mix and mingle, visit the bar, eat snacks, see exhibits, and dance to bands at After Dark in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago for age 21+.

Frequent traveler expo

November 17, 2017

14.6 miles NW

Experts tell how to maximize travel rewards at the $39 FTU Travel Expo by Frequent Traveler University (FTU) with exhibitors at Chicago Marriott O’Hare. Serious travelers who pay $249 also get seminars on Sunday

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

November 17 - 18, 2017

Downtown Chicago

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival begins with family activities and Santa Claus in Pioneer Court at Lights Festival Lane (Friday 4 - 8 p.m. & Saturday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.). A Tree-Lighting Parade goes down Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive (Saturday 5:30 p.m.) ending with fireworks at 6:55 p.m. Free.

Latin classical music

November 19, 2017

multiple locations

Chicago Latino Music Festival offers concerts of classical music from Latin America and Spain.

Polish film festival

November 19, 2017

Chicagoland locations

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

Toy and game fair

November 19, 2017

1 mile east

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

November 19, 2017

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.

Horror convention

November 19, 2017

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 19, 2017

29 miles NW

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

Holiday market

November 19 & Dec. 16 - 17, 2017

2.5 miles west

Randolph Street’s Holiday Market offers affordable antique, vintage, and modern goods indoors at 1340 W. Washington Boulevard. Free parking.

Christmas market

November 19 - Dec. 24, 2017

1 mile SW

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

Classic Christmas play

November 19 - Dec. 31, 2017

multiple locations

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

Christmas lights - arboretum

November 19, 2017 - Jan. 1, 2018

27 miles west

See colorful tree lights and projections on a one-mile walk at Illumination, with fire pits to warm you up along the way at Morton Arboretum. Closed Nov. 23, Dec. 24 & 25, and Mondays (except Jan. 1).

Holidays around the world

November 19, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018

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. 23 & Dec. 25.

Christmas musical

November 21 - Dec. 3, 2017

0.7 miles SW

See Irving Berlin’s song-and-dance extravaganza White Christmas, based on the classic film starring Bing Crosby, live at Cadillac Palace Theatre.

Discount tickets $30 to $80.

It’s a Wonderful Life: radio play

November 22, 2017 - Jan. 6, 2018

5 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 Stage 773. Afterwards, join the cast for milk and cookies.

Discount tickets $22 to $29.

Thanksgiving dinner

November 23, 2017

Greater Chicago area

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

Thanksgiving Parade

November 23, 2017 (8 to 11 a.m.)

1 mile south

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

Games convention

November 24 - 26, 2017

14.7 miles NW

Wolfcon is for players of board games, computer games, and role-playing games at Omega Station.

Dating comedy

November 24 - Dec. 10, 2017

7.5 miles north

“Wickedly funny antics ensue in the blind-date-gone-bad black comedy” Becky Shaw says Entertainment Weekly. Watch it live at Windy City Playhouse.

Discount tickets $23 to $38.

Christmas caroling

Nov. 24 - Dec. 15, 2017 (Fridays 6 p.m.)

0.7 miles SE

Bundle up and prepare to belt out holiday classics when asked to sing along with the choirs at Caroling at Cloud Gate outdoors in Millennium Park.

Ballet-free Nutcracker

November 24 - Dec. 30, 2017

7.4 miles north

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

Discount tickets $25 to $32.

Christmas ship musical

November 24 - Dec. 31, 2017

4.8 miles north

The Christmas Schooner tells the moving story of a 19th-century captain who risks everything to bring the Christmas spirit to Chicago, at Mercury Theater.

Christmas lights - Lincoln Park Zoo

November 24, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018

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 through Dec. 23). See schedule. Free entry.

Holiday trains - Lincoln Park

November 24, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018

3 miles north

Model trains wind their way through a miniature village among poinsettias during the Holiday Flower Show at Lincoln Conservatory. Open daily. Free.

Holiday trains - Botanic garden

November 24, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018

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.

Zoo shops

November 28, 2017 (6:30 to 10 p.m.)

2.5 miles north

Shop from local artisans and boutiques at the Holiday Market, set against the glittering backdrop of ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Holiday humor

November 28 - Dec. 30, 2017

3.4 miles north

Barney the Elf is a musical parody of the film Elf with a drag twist that makes it PG-13 at Greenhouse Theater.

Discount tickets $13.

Adult zoo night

November 30, 2017 (6:30 to 10 p.m.)

2.5 miles north

Leave the kids at home and head to Adults Night Out at Lincoln Park Zoo for dazzling light displays, live music, hot chocolate, mulled wine, and beer. You must be age 18+ to attend, and age 21+ for the cash bars.

Cookies & wine

November 30 - Dec. 1, 2017 (5:30 p.m.)

0.4 miles SE

Taste wine and cookies, and bring home three dozen chef-made cookies at Cookies & Cheer at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park.

Holiday market

November 30 - Dec. 3, 2017

29 miles NW

Holiday Lights Gift and Craft Fair has hundreds of booths selling food, gifts, and decorations to holiday shoppers at Arlington International Racecourse.

It’s a Wonderful Life: radio play

November 30 - Dec. 30, 2017

20.1 miles north

It’s a Wonderful Life recreates a live radio play based on the film about a man seeking purpose in life at the Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview.

Discount tickets $18.

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© November 2017 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois. ord-11