Chicago events, festivals, things to do – November 2018

November 2018
best events in Chicago

Wine tasting

November 1, 2018

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 2 - 3, 2018

19 miles west

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

November 3, 2018

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+.

Race in Grant Park

November 4, 2018

0.7 miles south

The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K and 2-mile walk begin and end in Grant Park and include hot chocolate.

Family lantern festival

November 10, 2018

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 1726 W. Berteau Avenue.

Japanese festival

November 10, 2018

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.

Comedy film festival

November 10 - 11, 2018

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 may include a reception.

French soirée

November 15, 2018

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.

Horror convention

November 16 - 18, 2018

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 16‑18, 2018

29 miles NW

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

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

November 17, 2018

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.

Toy and game fair

November 17 - 18, 2018

1 mile east

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

Holiday market

November 17 - 18, 2018

2.5 miles west

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

Muscle car show

November 17 - 18, 2018

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.

Thanksgiving Parade

November 22, 2018

1 mile south

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

Christmas caroling

November 23 - Dec. 14, 2018 (Fridays)

0.7 miles SE

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

Holiday market

November 29 - Dec. 2, 2018

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.

Children’s film festival

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Expand your mind

November 2018 (undated)

Chicago locations

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

Latin classical music

November 2018 (undated)

multiple locations

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

Polish film festival

November 2018 (undated)

Chicagoland locations

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

Cookies & wine

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Cocktail party

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Holiday art fair

November 2018 (undated)

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.)

Adult zoo night

November 2018 (undated)

2.5 miles north

Leave the kids at home and head to Adults Night Out at Lincoln Park Zoo to experience unique animal chats and live entertainment. You must be age 18+ to attend, and age 21+ for the cash bars.

Holiday market at the zoo

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Aged beer festival

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Holiday trains - Lincoln Park

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Macaroni & cheese festival

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Movies and music festival

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Science-fiction plays

November 2018 (undated)

7 miles north

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

French market

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Short films

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Kinky film festival

November 2018 (undated)

9.7 miles north

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

Frequent traveler expo

November 2018 (undated)

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

Games convention

November 2018 (undated)

14.7 miles NW

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

Whisky tasting

November 2018 (undated)

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.

French wine tasting

November 2018 (undated)

17 miles SW

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

Holiday trains - Botanic garden

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Wine tasting

November 2018 (undated)

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+.

Thanksgiving cruise

November 2018 (undated)

1.3 miles east

The two-hour Thanksgiving Day Cruises by Odyssey Cruises include a holiday lunch or dinner, departing from Navy Pier.

Christmas tree lighting

November 2018 (undated)

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. Free.

Christmas market

November 2018 (undated)

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 in Naperville and Park at Wrigley, which may have different dates. Free.

Christmas lights - Lincoln Park Zoo

November 2018 (undated)

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.

Christmas ship musical

November 2018 (undated)

4.8 miles north

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

Holidays around the world

November 2018 (undated)

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 on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Mexican Christmas music

November 2018 (undated)

9.8 miles NW

Hear traditional mariachi music, Mexican posada songs, and favorite Christmas classics at the Merry-Achi Christmas Concert at Copernicus Center.

Christmas lights - arboretum

November 2018 (undated)

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.