We are always on the prowl for great things to do in Chicago each weekend. We love to get the lowdown on great events this weekend and our research has paid off — here is more than 30 ideas for fun and excitement in the city as we prepare for Thanksgiving. — Timeout has their Top 5 list, WTTW has their Top 10 list and Chicagoist has the 25 best events this weekend, including our favorites:
SATURDAY’S MAGNIFICENT MILE LIGHTS FESTIVAL: Mickey is coming, and he’s on a mission. The giant mouse and his friends lead the 25th annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival along Michigan Avenue, illuminating one million lights along the way this Saturday. See floats, helium-filled balloons, marching bands and other musical performances. Cubs MVP Ben Zobrist is also expected to make an appearance (and may garner more cheers than Mickey himself). A fireworks show over the Chicago River ends the night. Events begin at 4 p.m. Friday and continue at 11 a.m. Saturday. See a complete schedule here. (Psst: Not interested in braving the crowds? You can watch the parade live on ABC 7.). Many Mag Mile businesses and restaurants like Ghirardelli Chocolate host ticketed viewing parties with VIP views of the free parade.
MORTON ARBORETUM LIGHT SHOW – The LED-powered, holiday inspired “Illumination: Tree Lights” show at the Morton Arboretum returns for a fourth year with thousands of blue, purple, green and hot pink lights and some new experiences–including a visual projection that makes it seem as if the trees are breathing–and returning elements such as the giant glowing orbs of Ornament Hill. Expect to spend 60-90 minutes along the mile-long, interactive path. Snacks and hot drinks available for purchase.
RANDOLPH STREET HOLIDAY MARKET: Randolph Street Market gets a holiday feel this month as we head into the indoor winter season. As usual, the market will have one of a kind and vintage sellers, plus a crafts table, portraits, henna tattoos and a free gift wrapping station. Live music and a DJ will serenade the room with festive tunes. Open at Plumbers Hall from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $8 ($10 at the gate).
RECORD AND ZINE GRAB: Grab a bunch of free punk CDs, records, zines and more from local record labels and self-publishers from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the CHI PRC Space, and it’s all for a good cause. The event is presented as part of the center’s newly opened exhibit “Flyerside: A Chicago Punk Scene Exhibition,” open for your perusal at the event. Proceeds benefit The Chicago Publishers Resource Center and Young Chicago Authors. Bonus: Free Dark Matter coffee while it lasts. Advice from the host, which sounds good to us: “Bring a bag!!!” Stonewall, RESIDUE, Forge Again, HARMLESS and so many more are participating in the event benefiting non profits CHI PRC and Young Chicago Authors. There will also be a FLYERSIDE exhibit of the local 90s punk scene on display. A $5 donation gets you in.
THANKSGIVING CO-OP POP UP: Shop local and sustainable at the Chicago Market Thanksgiving Co-op Pop Up from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Fill the holiday dinner with eats and goods from local farmers and friends like Americano 2211, Green Acres, Organic Bread of Heaven, Meadow Haven Farm and more. Entry is free, but RSVP is required.