November Events in the Chicago Loop

There’s so much to be thankful for in November! Besides the cold weather and tummies full of anything and everything pumpkin spiced, we’re also thankful for our full social calendar.

The holidays are definitely upon us, as we celebrate Thanksgiving with the annual parade, and count the days down to Christmas, with traditions of tree lighting, ice skating and Christmas markets.

Chicago International Movies and Music Festival

November 9 to 12

The Chicago International Movies and Music Festival organization is a nonprofit that seeks to explore the relationship between movies, music and all visual media all year round. Every November, it holds CIMMfest, one of Chicago’s biggest cultural events. Now on its ninth year, CIMMfest brings more than 100 screenings and concerts to Chicago. This year’s highlights include performances by Rich Jones, Kevin Coval, Matt Muse, and more to be announced. The event takes place at multiple venues around the city.

Chicagoland Holiday Chocolate Show

November 11

If you love chocolate, you’re going to love this event! With samples from over 40 artisans, demonstrations, talks, as well as a wine tasting and the chance to take home something from the raffle, the Chicagoland Holiday Chocolate Show promises to be a sweet treat. Tickets are required, but proceeds go to the Holiday Heroes, a local children’s charity.


November 18 to December 24

Daley Plaza comes alive in November, as the annual open air-market goes into full swing! Inspired by a market in Nuremberg, Germany founded in 1545, the Christkindlmarket has quickly become one of Chicago’s institutions, attracting both locals and tourists, attracting over a million visitors each year. The market is organized by the German American Chamber of Commerce in the Midwest, which aims to let Americans experience a traditional German Christmas, so expect that majority of the vendors at the market sell German food like sauerkraut, potato pancakes and sausages, as well as items such as nutcrackers and hand-blown ornaments.

Christmas Tree Lighting

November 17

Kicking off the Christmas season is the city’s 104th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, happening 6pm in Millennium Park. The same day, the McCormick Tribune ice skating rink opens to the public. Admission for both is free, with lessons an hour before the rink opens and a minimal fee for skate rentals.

Thanksgiving Parade

November 23

This may not be the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade that the whole world tunes in for, but it’s just as fun, and definitely better than watching it from home. Chicago’s McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day parade starts at 8am, with routes that run from State Street to Randolph Street. Here you’ll see tons of inflatable animals, floats, marching bands, local celebrities and lots of performances. The parade ends at 11am, which gives you plenty of time to prepare your own Thanksgiving feast.

Caroling at Cloud Gate

November 24 (and all Fridays through December 15)

Revel in the Christmas season as hundreds of singers of choral groups from around the city serenade you with Christmas classics and old favorites at the Cloud Gate (aka “The Bean”) every Friday, starting November 24 from 6-7pm.

What are your plans for November in Chicago? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Author: Maddy Osman, an SEO Content Strategist who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, ChicagoCheapAss, shows young adults how to find the best deals and values in Chicago!