Downtown Chicago Holiday Happenings!

YIKES! It's only Halloween Weekend and my calendar's already booked for next month's Xmas holiday events, all scheduled in Downtown Chicago and surrounding neighborhoods. Here's my list of “insider's recommendations” for November. These are my personal-favorite things to do in November for the holidays – aside shopping.

Sat 11/6
Macy's/Marshall Field's on State Street (Loop): Their annual decorated window displays will be unveiled. This year's theme is “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”, a newspaper editorial written in 1897. Past displays have been “hit or miss” for me, so I'm anxious to see if this one will be a hit or a miss. Also, their 45-foot tall Xmas tree lighting ceremony will take place in the Walnut Room restaurant on the 7th Floor. If you miss the opening day and ceremonies, don't worry. These magnificent displays will be on view until after January 1st. The beautifully-decorated tree can be viewed from the base on the 7th floor, to the top, from a wrap-around terrace on each of 5-6 higher floors. For for information go to:

Sat 11/20
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival (Near North): An extremely popular (and extremely crowded) event. This annual festival is an all-day-long celebration of the season along Chicago's famous Magnificent Mile, from Oak Street to the Chicago River/Wacker Drive. The highlight of this event is the “procession” of holiday floats, giant character balloons, and decorated vehicles. Featured characters are all from Disney family, with Mickey Mouse leading the procession as the Grand Marshall. As he approaches each intersection of the route, the twinkling holiday lights in the trees of the entire block are 'magically' illuminated! The procession ends with a spectacular fireworks display over the river, just east of the Michigan Avenue bridge. For details and the full schedule of the day's events go to:

Wed 11/24
Christkindlemarket opens at Daley Plaza (Loop): Looking for a unique gift for that one recipient who already seems to have everything? Want a little taste of Germany without the travel hassle? If so, visit the Christkindlemarket at Daley Plaza. Not only will you find fabulous, one-of-a-kind gifts, you'll find several kiosks to literally get a taste of German cuisine! For details, schedule of events, and vendor lists go to And while you're there, stay for the Tree-lighting ceremony!

Wed 11/24
Tree-lighting Ceremony at Daley Plaza (Loop): Our own Mayor Richard J. Daley will be the Master of Ceremonies, for the last time as mayor of Chicago. Come for the fun, stay for the lights and the fireworks display! More information:

Thu 11/25 – Turkey Day
Thanksgiving Day Parade on State Street (Loop): Come on down for this annual, beloved, traditional parade and celebration on State Street! Be warned – this is a well-attended, very crowded event, even though it starts very early in the day at 8:30am. For many attendees, coming downtown for this parade is an annual tradition. For those like me, who volunteer to help with the parade, participating in this parade has become MY annual tradition. More information:

There's NEVER a shortage of things to see and do in Chicago, especially in the Loop/Downtown area. These events are free to attend. And the memories are priceless!
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
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