There’s more to Thanksgiving weekend than eating turkey. Besides a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, there are tons of things to do in Chicago during the holiday weekend. It’s the perfect time to start some holiday shopping, take a spin on a ice skating rink, catch a mesmerizing lights display, see a live show, and more.

Here are some of the top things to do during Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago

Enjoy a Thanksgiving feast

Travelle; photo by Huge Galdones

Start the weekend off strong with an unforgettable Thanksgiving meal. Whether you’re looking for a traditional Thanksgiving feast or something unique, Chicago restaurants have you covered. Check out our list of Thanksgiving dinners for dine-in and carry-out. You’ll find fine-dining spots, neighborhood favorites, international restaurants, and more

See the Thanksgiving Day Parade

Turkey balloon float in front of Macy's at the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade

Don’t miss the return of the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. The family-friendly spectacle takes over Chicago’s iconic State Street in the Loop from 8 – 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. Watch the colorful procession, including more than 100 floats and live performances, make its way north on State from Ida B. Well Drive to Randolph Street.

Shop local for the holidays

Foursided; photo by Adam Alexander Photography

Planning on starting your holiday shopping? Black Shop Friday is a great way to discover local Black-owned businesses all around Chicago on the busiest shopping day of the year. Check out their guide with more than 700 boutiques, book stores, art galleries, salons, restaurants, and more.

Next, celebrate Small Business Saturday with our guide to the best Chicago neighborhoods for boutique shopping. And hear the stories behind some of the city’s most beloved local restaurants, shops, and more with our Only in Chicago spotlights.

Enjoy a weekend away

Ice Skating in Millennium Park
Ice Skating in Millennium Park

Turn your Thanksgiving holiday into a memorable Chicago getaway. A hotel stay is the perfect way to make the most of your long weekend. Plus, you’ll get to experience the start of the holiday season in Chicago, from scenic ice skating to spectacular holiday events.

Check out these special offers from Chicago hotels to find great deals, packages, and more. And find Chicago hotels serving Thanksgiving dinner for an all-in-one holiday experience.

More things to do during Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago

Nov 19 – Jan 2
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

ZooLights Chicago’s favorite holiday tradition is back and better than ever in 2021 with our new Pepper Family Wildlife Center at the heart of the…

Friday November 19, 2021 — Sunday January 2, 2022
Lincoln Park Zoo
Cannon Drive at Fullerton Parkway
Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
Nov 12 – Jan 2

The popular holiday event is back, with a new path and exciting new delights! We’ve got inventive new installations and all your favorites too. Hum…

North Suburbs

Event details
Friday November 12, 2021 — Sunday January 2, 2022
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd.
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Dec 4 – Mar 6
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park returns for its 20th anniversary season, open daily from November 19 through March 6 (weather…

Saturday December 4, 2021 — Sunday March 6, 2022
Millennium Park
201 E Randolph St
Illumination: Tree Lights
Nov 20 – Jan 2
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

The ninth annual Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns as a walking experience. Explore 50 acres of the Arboretum's majestic trees during this one-of-a-kind spectacle of color,…

Saturday November 20, 2021 — Sunday January 2, 2022
morton arboretum
Nov 19 – Dec 24
Christkindlmarket Chicago

The smell of roasted nuts, fresh pretzels, bratwurst and hot spiced wine, the sound of festive music, and the glimmer of sparkling Christmas ornaments, all…

Friday November 19, 2021 — Friday December 24, 2021
Daley Civic Center
50 W. Washington St.
Light Up the Lake
Nov 26 – Jan 2
Light Up the Lake

Brighten the winter season with Chicagoland’s biggest indoor, temperature-controlled light garden, featuring large-scale light-sculpture displays with more than 600,000 lights; Alpine ice rink with free…

Friday November 26, 2021 — Sunday January 2, 2022
Navy Pier, Festival Hall
Navy Pier, Festival Hall
A Christmas Carol
Dec 14 – Dec 31
A Christmas Carol

Experience the heartwarming story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s discovery of kindness, compassion and redemption—a must-see Chicago holiday tradition now in its fifth decade at Goodman Theatre,…

Tuesday December 14, 2021 — Friday December 31, 2021
Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn St.
‘Twas the Night Before… by Cirque du Soleil
Dec 4 – Dec 5
‘Twas the Night Before… by Cirque du Soleil

'Twas the Night Before... is an exhilarating spin on the beloved Christmas classic as only Cirque du Soleil could imagine. This festive show about the…

Saturday December 4, 2021 — Sunday December 5, 2021