Top 10 Things to Do in Chicago Over Thanksgiving Weekend 2018

If you are in Chicago over the 2018 Thanksgiving Weekend and looking for things to do in Chicago over the 2018 Thanksgiving weekend, then we have some ideas for you!  Here is our Top 10 list of things to do over the Thanksgiving in 2018 in ChicagoCLICK HERE to learn which museums are open and free this 2018 Thanksgiving week….


1. Free 2018 Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago on Nov 22, 2018 – If you are in Chicago and looking for things to do over Thanksgiving, make sure to start a great tradition by enjoying the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade,which takes place from 8-11am on November 22, 2018. 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.

Read more HERE


Chicago thanksgiving_day_parade



2. The 2018 Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza in Downtown Chicago – The Christkindlmarket is a free German market place located in Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. The 2018 Christkindlmarket will attract 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 in open Nov 16 to Dec 24 and open 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

christkindl market chicagochristkindle market chicago


3. Chicago’s Field Museum is Open on Thanksgiving Weekend – The Field Museum is open 364 days a year (Closed on Christmas). Last admission is at 4pm daily. The Field Museum will be open 9a-5p on Thursday, Nov 22, and Friday, November 23, 2018 and Saturday, November 24, 2018.   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 Field Museum is located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, 312-922-9410.   Check out their website HERE



4. Ice Skating in Millennium Park –  Check out the free ice skating in Millennium Park in Chicago this holiday season that starts on Nov 16, 2018. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Chicago, now in its 18th season, is open on Thanksgiving and 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 16, 2018 and will remain open through mid-March 2019, 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 $12.



5. 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 offers plenty of opportunities to give back to those less fortunate after finishing up your Thanksgiving dinner. St. Ignatius Church in Rogers Park opens its Ignatian Services Food Pantry for Thanksgiving lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and also hosts a musical concert. Each year, the pantry looks for kitchen volunteers and musical performers.
  • lets you search for Thanksgiving serving opportunities in Chicago.
  • The Salvation Army’s Midwest Corps Community Center also asks for servers and greeters to attend to more than 300 guests at its meal from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the East Garfield Park Salvation Army Center.
  • 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



6. 2018 Christmas Carolling at Cloudgate  aka  “The Bean’ – Mark your calendars for Thanksgiving Weekend! Come out and enjoy an annual Chicago holiday tradition in 2018 in Millennium Park.  Celebrate the holidays in Millennium Park, when Caroling at Cloud Gate returns on Friday evenings from November 23 through December 12, 2018 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 tenth season, Caroling at Cloud Gate has become a cherished tradition in Chicago, with hundreds of singers gathering each week in the Park.Following the 60-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 23, Millennium Park, Chase Promenade.


7. Kick Back and Watch a 2018 Thanksgiving Day NFL Football Game – NFL games are as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. This year’s 2018 Thanksgiving Day features a heaping helping of intriguing matchups, starting with our own Chicago Bears against the Detroit Lions.


Bears at Lions (11:30 p.m. Central time, CBS)

This has turned into a rematch of an ugly game from Week 10 — the Bears mostly manhandled the Lions before Detroit made a late comeback to pull within 12 points. Matt Nagy has his team in great shape, sitting at 6-3 and in first in the NFC North. With two games remaining against the Vikings, Chicago doesn’t have a whole lot of room for error if it wants to win the division, making this road trip to Detroit a pretty enormous matchup. The Lions, who are struggling badly this year and fell to 3-6 after losing to Chicago, have been impressive on Thanksgiving in recent years, going 4-1 over the last half decade.

Redskins at Cowboys (3:30 p.m. CT, FOX)

Enormous implications in this game for the playoffs, as Dallas decided to pull an Undertaker and rise right back up off the mat and into the NFC East and NFC wild card discussion with a victory in Week 10 over the Eagles in Philadelphia. That game sent both those teams to 4-5, while the Redskins went down to Tampa and surprised some people, picking up a victory despite — giving up 500 yards! — and moving to 6-3. Heading into Week 11 they were two games clear of their division rivals and could potentially deliver a knockout blow to Dallas with a win on Thanksgiving in Jerry World.   This is a pretty ideal way to shake off a turkey/gravy coma.

Falcons at Saints (7:20 p.m. CT, NBC, stream on fuboTV)

Blood feud here with two gentile Southern teams who do not care for one another. Despite the Falcons falling to 4-5 in Week 10 as a result of a loss in Cleveland, this should be a close matchup, because the two teams hate each other that much. The Saints are in the middle of an unbelievable stretch of football being played against an unbelievable stretch of opponents. They won three straight games on the road (Baltimore, Minnesota and Cincinnati) with a dominant win over the Rams stuffed in there as well. And they’re coming off a short week against the Eagles in Week 10. Heck of a schedule and New Orleans couldn’t care less. Drew Brees is one of the top two MVP candidates right now and has thrown 13 touchdowns versus just 30 incompletions (yes, incompletions) over his last five games heading into Week 11.

2018 NFL Thanksgiving Schedule

  • Chicago at Detroit Lions, 11:30 p.m. CT
  • Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys , 3:30 p.m. CT
  • Atlanta Falcon at New ORleans Saints 7:20 p.m CT



8. Join the Runners at the 41st 2018 Turkey Day Run Chicago – Like most cities, Chicago hosts “turkey trot” races and fun runs on Thanksgiving morning.  The Chicago Turkey Trot, now called the 41st Annual Turkey Day Run Chicago celebrates its 41st year in 2018 with an 5k and 8k race in Lincoln Park on Thanksgiving 2018 morning. Warm up your Thanksgiving appetite with the Turkey Day 5K and 8K! The Turkey Day Run Chicago 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.    Organizers ask participants to bring non-perishable food for donations around the Chicago area. The 2017 race included more than 5,000 participants and collected more than 10,000 pounds of food, according to the race website.

The Turkey Day Run Chicago 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 $20 to $45. Proceeds go to Greater Chicago Food Depository. Participants can also bring canned goods to the race to donate.



9. Morton Arboretum is FREE on Thanksgiving 2018 – 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 2018 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 22, 2018, are 7 a.m. to sunset. The Morton Arboretum is located at 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, Illinois.

10.  2018 ZooLights Spectacular at Lincoln Park Zoo Starting Nov 27 – The day after Thanksgiving, Lincoln Park Zoo kicks off their annual, free ZOOLIGHTS 2018 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 23, 2018.     This amazing free light show at Chicago’s free Lincoln Park Zoo is a holiday favorite in Chicago and part of many family traditions.


zoolights chicago


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