Top 10 Things to Do in Chicago Over Thanksgiving 2013

If you are in Chicago over 2013 Thanksgiving and looking for things to do in Chicago over 2013 Thanksgiving, then we have some ideas for you!  Here is our Top 10 list of things to do over Thanksgiving in 2013 in ChicagoCLICK HERE to learn which museums are open and free this 2013 Thanksgiving week….

chicago thanksgiving day parade
1. Free 2013 Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago on Nov 28, 2013
If you are in Chicago and looking for things to do over Thanksgiving, make sure to start a great tradition by enjoying the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,which takes place from 8-11am on November 28, 2013. The parade route is on State St from Randolph to Congress, Chicago. More than 400,000 visitors are expected to line the route for this annual televised event, which features marching bands, equestrian units, floats, performance groups, celebrities and everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving parade staple, enormous helium balloons.

The Christkindlmarket is a free German market place located in Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. Christkindlmarket attracts more than half a million visitors each year. Vendors sell authentic German food and creations and the event has several activities for children. The market usually opens on Thanksgiving Day right after the parade ends.    Christkindlmarket is located in Daley Plaza — 50 W. Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602.

Learn more at their website…  CLICK HERE


3.    See a Heartwarming Holiday Play —  Provision Theater Company, a non-profit equity theater dedicated to producing works of hope and reconciliation, ushers in the holiday season with their much-loved production of ‘A Christmas Memory and The Thanksgiving Visitor’.   highly recommended chicago theaterBased on the best-selling books by critically acclaimed author Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory and The Thanksgiving Visitor center on the author’s early years growing up in Monroeville, Alabama and will run Friday, November 22 through Sunday, December 29 with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. at Provision Theater, 1001 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL, 60608.   A tale of love and bonding between a young boy named Buddy and his eccentric, simpleminded, aging Aunt Sook, Capote’s ‘A Christmas Memory’ is set in Alabama during the 1930s Great Depression and is based on Capote’s childhood memories. Thanksgiving and Christmas mean something different to everyone. For seven year-old Buddy, it means a new home and a new family. When his mother drops him off with her somewhat eccentric family at the edge of a small town, Buddy’s first friend becomes his best friend – he develops an unforgettable relationship with his elderly cousin, Miss Sook Falk. The two find themselves on one amazing adventure after another, proving that friendship is the greatest gift of all.   Join Provision Theater for this heart-warming production adapted and directed by Provision Theater’s very own Artistic Director Timothy Gregory. Captivating all ages, ‘A Christmas Memory’ and ‘The Thanksgiving Visitor’ is sure to create new holiday memories for you and your family.


4. Chicago’s Field Museum is Open on Thanksgiving
The Field Museum is open 364 days a year (Closed on Christmas). Last admission is at 4pm daily. The Field Museum will be open until 6pm on Friday, November 29, 2013 and Saturday, November 30, 2013. See how we put science into action in Abbott Hall of Conservation Restoring Earth, journey through 4 billion years of life on earth in Evolving Planet, fall in love with ants in The Romance of Ants, see SUE the T. rex, climb down an ancient egyptian tomb in Inside Ancient Egypt, and so much more. The facility displays exhibits related to history, archaeology and science. The Field Museum houses permanent exhibits on bird habitats, African mammals, plants of the world, ancient Egypt and Tibet.  The Field Museum is located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, 312-922-9410.

Check out their website HERE



5. Ice Skating in Millennium Park

Check out the free ice skating in Millennium Park in Chicago this holiday season that starts on Nov 15, 2013. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Chicago , now in its 10th season, draws over 100,000 skaters annually.  Kicking off Chicago’s winter season, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park will open on Friday, November 15, 2013 and will remain open through mid-March 2014, weather permitting. This rink is free and open to the public. The rink, located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets, will still offer skate rental for only $10.



6. Volunteer

One of the most rewarding things to do on Thanksgiving Day is to volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. There’s no better time than Thanksgiving to teach our kids about thankfulness and get them involved in giving back. There are plenty of ways to help our Chicagoland community, from soup kitchens and canned food drives to pet and pajama donations.   Chicago Cares is one organization that recruits volunteers and matches them up with appropriate activities. Interested parties just have to complete the online orientation and can spend their Thanksgiving Day helping the less fortunate. Chicago Cares is headquartered at 300 W. Adams Street, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60606 – 312-780-0800
CLICK HERE to learn more at



7. 2013 Christmas Carolling at Cloudgate aka The Bean

Mark your calendars! Come out and enjoy an annual Chicago holiday tradition in 2012 in Millennium Park.  Celebrate the holidays in Millennium Park, when Caroling at Cloud Gate returns on Friday evenings from November 29 through December 20, 2013 at 6 PM during the holiday season. This free program, presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, showcases Chicago choral groups and invites visitors to participate in a holiday sing-along.


Now in its eighth season, Caroling at Cloud Gate has become a cherished tradition in Chicago, with hundreds of singers gathering each week in the Park. Complimentary warm beverages will be provided by Caribou Coffee. Following the 50-minute caroling session, everyone is encouraged to skate at Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, one of the most popular winter destinations in the city.  6pm on Friday Nov 29, Millennium Park, Chase Promenade



8. Kick Back and Watch a 2013 Thanksgiving Day NFL Football Game NFL games are as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. This year’s 2013 Thanksgiving Day features a heaping helping of intriguing matchups, starting with the Packers  in Detroit, followed by the Raiders in Dallas and concluding with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens.

2013 NFL Thanksgiving Schedule

  • Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions, 12:30 p.m. ET
  • Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens, 8:30 p.m. ET



9. Join the Runners at the 2013 ChicagoTurkey Trot 5K
Like most cities, Chicago hosts “turkey trot” races and fun runs on Thanksgiving morning.  The Chicago Turkey Trot, now called the 2013 Life Time Turkey Day 5K celebrates its 36th year in 2013 with an 5krace in Lincoln Park on Thanksgiving 2013 morning.   Warm up your Thanksgiving appetite with the Turkey Day 5K! The Chicago TD5K brings family and friends together to start the day in a healthy way. Come dressed the part, and join runners, joggers and walkers for some lighthearted run. We can’t anticipate the weather, but we can guarantee fun.     We can’t anticipate the weather, but we can guarantee fun.Organizers ask participants to bring non-perishable food for donations around the Chicago area. The 2012 race included more than 5,000 participants and collected more than 10,000 pounds of food, according to the race website.    The Chicago Turkey Day 5K will take place in beautiful Lincoln Park along the shores of Lake Michigan. The start and finish line will remain on Cannon Drive, north of Fullerton.    Participants will head south towards Fullerton Ave, turning east towards Lake Shore Dr. At Fullerton and Lake Shore, runners will turn left onto the north bound entrance ramp onto Lake Shore Drive.  Runners will continue along the curb traffic lane of Lake Shore Dr. for about 1.5 miles from Fullerton to Recreation Dr.      After exiting Lake Shore Dr. at Recreation Dr. runners will  immediately turn south along the Lake Front Path.  The course continues through Lincoln Park along the Lake Front Path passing beautiful Belmont Harbor and continuing south to a point north of Diversey where runners will enter Inner Lake Shore and continue south to the finish line. Organizers hold the race regardless of weather conditions in the Windy City.   Cost is $30 or $40 race day ($20 if you are a Life Time member) and $12 for the Plymouth Rock Ramble (lids 2-12). Proceeds go to Greater Chicago Food Depository. Participants can also bring canned goods to the race to donate.



10. Morton Arboretum is Free on Thanksgiving 2013
After that big Thanksgiving Day meal, why not check out the Morton Arboreteum for a nice walk…The Morton Arboretum is giving free admission on Thanksgiving 2013 for everyone, so take a hike and burn off some calories! Admission is normally $10 for seniors; $11 for adults; and $8 for children 2-17. The arboretum has 16 miles of trails and nine miles of paved roads. On-site nature gems include Meadow Lake, evergreens, the Schulenburg Prairie and more. Hours on Thanksgiving, which is November 28, 2013, are 7 a.m. to sunset. The Morton Arboretum is located at 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, Illinois.




11. FREE Thanksgiving Cooking Class at William-Sonoma
With Thanksgiving around the corner, get cooking tips and favorite Thanksgiving recipes during William-Sonoma’s Thanksgiving cooking classes this month. William-Sonoma has several Chicago area locations but the Chicago store is located at 900 N. Michigan Avenue. Attend a FREE cooking technique class in the Chicago area this month of November 2013 and learn how to prepare a memorable Thanksgiving feast. At the class at your local Williams-Sonoma store, you see demonstrated delicious recipes (you’ll get to sample them) and share tips for hosting a holiday meal with ease.



12.  2013 ZooLights Spectacular at Lincoln Park Zoo Starting Nov 29

The day after Thanksgiving, Lincoln Park Zoo kicks off their annual, free ZOOLIGHTS 2013 holiday celebration, featuring luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout the zoo grounds.  They will flip the on switch for free holiday fun on November 29, 2013.     This amazing free light show at Chicago’s free Lincoln Park Zoo is a holiday favorite in Chicago and part of many family traditions.



13.  Shop in Chicago —   The word is out: Macy’s flagship store and most of its 800 around the country will open Thanksgiving Day at 8 p.m.  Opening its doors on the holiday breaks a 155-year tradition of being closed that day. But Macy’s says it’s a “response to interest from customers who prefer to start their shopping early.”   One Macy’s employee said he couldn’t be happier about the decision. He said everyone can still enjoy a good turkey dinner with their family, and head to the stores afterwards.    Sears and Kmart stores will open on Thanksgiving Day and keep the lights on through Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, the retailers’ parent company said Monday.  Kmart will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, and won’t close until 11 p.m. the next day, Black Friday.  Sears will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will remain until 10 p.m. on Black Friday. Some Sears stores were open last year on Thanksgiving as well.


14.  Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting —  November 26, 2013

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Christmas Tree, so we expect a some pretty special stuff during this event. The ceremony begins at 6 pm in Daley Plaza, although you can also watch from the comfort of your home (which you may want to do if it’s typical November weather!). Daley Plaza is located in the heart of the city, and is a great place to begin your explorations of Chicago. You can customize a Chicago Pass to make the most of your excursions.




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