The holiday season is finally here, and with it comes dozens of chances to celebrate. Here are a few local events, starting with the beloved Thanksgiving parade, for you to enjoy through the new year:
McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade: The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, now in its 80th year, features Santa Claus, Ronald McDonald and a cast of thousands! Find a spot early along State Street so you can see everyone march on Thanksgiving Day. The parade features marching bands, gigantic inflatable helium balloons, talented entertainers, and decorative floats dispensing holiday cheer.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on November 22: The stretch of Michigan Avenue between Wacker Drive and Oak Street, known as The Magnificent Mile, turns into a winter wonderland every holiday season. On the Saturday before each Thanksgiving, the “Mag Mile’s” towering hotels and shops light up in glorious fashion, with more than one million lights adorning 200 trees! Plus a parade and a fireworks show over the majestic Chicago River end the night’s festivities. The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is the perfect opportunity to get you in the holiday spirit!
Parade of Lights: Michigan Avenue shuts down traffic so you and your loved ones can roam freely on the streets and pick the perfect perch to watch the spectacular parade.
- Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse act as the masters of ceremonies on the head float, along with their Disney friends
- Kids will love the giant, floating balloons
- Marching bands, twirling dancers, singers and the elaborate floats create an unforgettable parade
Holiday Shopping: Take a moment to see street entertainers and celebrities as you stroll past decorative windows and shop to your heart’s content thanks to extended shopping hours.
Randolph Street Holiday Market on November 21-23: Have fun shopping while you stretch your stylish dollars to the max as you get your holiday shopping off to the right start with gifts in all price ranges. At this indoor urban market, you’ll discover fabulous keepsakes from embroidered hankies to estate jewelry. Timeless antiques and modern treasures including vintage and indie fashion, jewelry, art, decorative objects, house wares, and more! Plus FREE parking and FREE gift wrapping!
Christkindlmarket Begins November 21: One of the most timeless Christmas celebrations takes place within the quaint Main Market Square of Nuremberg, Germany. The Christmas Market is a lively and bustling village of stalls in which more than two million come to enjoy the holiday spirit. Thanks to Chicago’s international communities, you can enjoy the unique villages of Christkindlmarket right in the Loop, now in its 19th season! Set under the shadow of an enormous, 70-foot fir tree, Chicago’s largest open-air Christmas festival features a variety of vendors selling authentic German products that cannot be found anywhere else in town. Items include hand-blown ornaments, clothing, jewelry, beer steins, wooden handicrafts, including toys, nutcrackers and cuckoo clocks. And what German festival is complete without its famous pastries and treats? Delectables include roasted nuts, sweet cakes and potato pancakes, schnitzel, gluewhein (a hot spiced wine), as well as chocolates and candies imported from Germany.
Santa House Open from November 25 until Christmas: Santa Claus will once again set up shop on Daley Plaza in an all-new Santa House provided by ECODOME Inc. Santa’s Midwest headquarters will be open to children of all ages where they can experience the wonder of the North Pole and have their picture taken with Santa Claus throughout the holiday season.