Your Guide To Chicago In November

Everything You Need To Know For A Great Time During Your Stay in November

••• Photo courtesy of Chuck Cherney

Wow. Look at how fast this year has gone by.

In a few weeks, we'll be in the heat of the holiday season, so if you plan on spending it in Chicago, you'll want to keep reading for everything you need to know for a great time. In addition to holiday happenings, you'll also want to take note of where to dine during hardcore shopping season.

We hope you enjoy your time in the city!


  • Average High Temperature: 47°F (8°C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 32°F (0°C)
  • Average Precipitation: 2.7"
  • Average Snowfall: 2.9"


• Despite what the averages say, weather during November can widely vary; sometimes it's unseasonably cool, and others can get downright cold. Packing layers of clothing is definitely in order.

• We also recommend checking out Chicagoland shopping malls for additional apparel, including comfortable shoes if you plan to walk a lot.


• The city is lit up, getting everyone in the holiday spirit, from Magnificent Mile Lights Festival & Parade to the official Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting.


• Chance of flight/travel problems if a storm comes through; here's where to dine and drink if you get stranded at one of the airports.

• Hotel prices go up as it's prime-time holiday season.


  • Magnificent Mile Lights Festival (Nov. 19): Mickey and Minnie Mouse, plus others, kick off the holiday season during the annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on the famed Magnificent Mile shopping district. More than one million lights on 200 trees will be lit during the event that will also include a number of family-friendly performances. It happens the second Saturday of November.
  • Ice Skating kicks off at Millennium Park (Nov. 17-March 6): The rink draws more than 100,000 skaters annually and is free and open to the public. Located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets, the rink offers skate rental for $12.

  • Caroling at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park (Nov. 25-Dec. 23): Revelers are encouraged to bundle up and get ready to belt out some holiday classics at these festive events that are part concert, part sing-along. Local choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song. Santa makes an appearance 5-6 p.m.; Caroling commences 6-7 p.m.

  • Christmas Around the World (Nov. 17-Jan. 4): Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry gets into the holiday spirit by taking a look at how various cultures celebrate the winter holiday across the globe.
  • Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade: New York City's not the only one with a grand Thanksgiving day parade. Chicago's is pretty great, too, and has been since 1934.
  • Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting (Nov. 22): Head to Millennium Park to witness the lighting of a giant evergreen tree, which is donated by an area resident and decked out in thousands of lights. This takes place near Michigan Avenue and Washington Street 5:30–6 p.m. Note that the Chicago Christmas Tree has moved to a new location (It was previously at Daley Plaza).
  • Santa Claus in Millennium Park (various dates): Santa Claus is coming to...Millennium Park. His first appearance occurs immediately following the tree lighting ceremony 6-8 p.m. Nov. 24. He will also make appearances noon-3 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and noon-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays Nov. 28-Dec. 30 at the welcome center (201 E. Randolph St.).
  • Christkindlmarket Chicago in Daley Plaza (Nov. 18 -Dec. 24): This Christmas holiday market takes place in Daley Plaza from Thanksgiving to Christmas and offers unique crafts and gifts for sale, live entertainment, as well as German-focused food and drinks.The largest of its kind in the United States, this German holiday market offers unique crafts and gifts for sale, a variety of entertainment, as well as German food and drinks.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo's ZooLights: Lincoln Park Zoo gets into the holiday season when it decks itself with lights, Santa's Safari, ice carving demonstrations and more.
  • Dance-Along Nutcracker at Chicago Cultural Center: Put your best foot forward during this family-friendly event that's a free afternoon activity. Sugarplum fairies and mouse kings of all ages and abilities are invited to point their toes to the familiar music of Tchaikovsky's holiday classic with Ballet Chicago. It takes place noon and 3 p.m.

--edited by Audarshia Townsend