In just a few weeks, we'll be eating turkey, gathering with family and realizing that Christmas is drawing near. For the moment, it's time to enjoy fall in Chicago (before we're all snowed in) with our guide to November's most anticipated events and openings. Get in line at the city's very first Shake Shack and find out if the burgers live up to the hype. Prepare for your Thanksgiving feast by pounding the pavement at the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K. Participate in some of Chicago's finest holiday traditions by showing up for the Daley Plaza Tree Lighting or taking a stroll through the twinkling ZooLights display. Turn up the thermostat and look through our list of the best openings in Chicago in November.
THINGS TO DO
Nov 2: For his latest televised feat, high-wire artist Nik Wallenda will attempt to cross a wire between the Marina City towers and the Leo Burnett building.
Nov 8: Barn Dance Apocalypse brings and old-fashioned hoedown to Thalia Hall, complete with dance instructors and music from the Golden Horse Ranch Band.
Nov 9: Run a race and then indulge in the chocolatey spoils of victory at the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K.
Nov 25: Watch as the city flips the switch on the holiday season at the Daley Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Nov 27: Decked-out floats and gigantic inflatable cartoon characters fill the Loop at the annual Thanksgiving Parade.
Nov 28–Jan 4: Walk through a brightly lit winter wonderland (there might even be snow) during the Lincoln Park Zoo's annual ZooLights display.
Nov 8: BellyQ owner and executive chef Bill Kim hosts Ramenfest, a gathering of 21 chefs who will each prepare their own culinary interpretation of the classic dish.
Nov 15: Chillfest welcomes more than 100 artists to Wicker Park and Bucktown, where 30 local businesses host acoustic concerts in storefronts throughout the neighborhoods.
Nov 20–22: Hungry cinephiles can eat their way through a lineup of food-centric films at the annual Chicago Food Film Fest.
Nov 22: Kick off the holiday season with fireworks, a tree lighting parade and some shopping at the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.
Nov 22, 23: The yearly Chicago Toy & Game Fair at Navy Pier allows families to test drive some the latest products, just before the beginning of the holiday shopping season.
FOOD & DRINK
Nov 4: The first Chicago outpost of Shake Shack opens, bringing burgers, custard and shakes (duh). Let’s act like we’ve seen a restaurant before, Chicago.
Nov 10: When Ten Mile House opens this month, Evanston will add a smoked meat, pizza and craft beer restaurant to its culinary landscape.
Nov TBD: An Evanston outpost of beer and sausage spot Bangers & Lace will open.
Note: Food & Drink openings are subject to change and can be delayed; call ahead before setting out.
Nov 7: Christopher Nolan sends Matthew McConaughey into space to save the human race in Interstellar.
Nov 7: Disney adapts the Marvel comic Big Hero 6, a story of a young prodigy and his friendship with a large, inflatable robot.
Nov 21: Benedict Cumberbatch makes a play for Oscar gold in The Imitation Game, a biopic about the brilliant and tragic life of Alan Turing.
Nov 7: From The Daily Show to Saturday Night Live, Michael Che is clearly on his way up. This stand-up appearance at Zanies Rosemont was scheduled before he scored the plum gig as the latest Weekend Update co-host.
Nov 12: In advance of the second season of their Comedy Central show Broad City, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson take their show on the road.
Nov 20: After 30 years of stand-up experience, Todd Glass has had a refreshing career resurgence after his public coming out on the WTF podcast, making numerous TV appearances and hosting his own podcast.
Nov 1–Feb 1: The Art Institute's "Strokes of Genius: Italian Drawings from the Goldman Collection" assembles example of draftsmanship from the late 15th to the mid-17th century.
Nov 7–9: SOFA Chicago returns to Navy Pier, offering up a selection of ceramics, wood, glass, fiber and metal works from more than 70 galleries.
Nov 7–Nov 30: Texas artist and designer Jermaine Rogers—best known for his colorful, irreverent concert posters—brings a sampling of his work to Rotofugi.
Nov 22–Mar 8: The MCA's survey of the career of Anne Collier explores her deconstruction of commercial photography, including pieces from her Woman with a Camera series.
Nov 23–Jan 25: "Temptation: The Demons of James Ensor" explores the work of Belgian artist James Ensor from the 1880s, including a restored, six-foot-tall mural.
Nov 1–Jan 4: Drury Lane revisits Lerner and Loewe's 1960 musical, Camelot, based on the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
Nov 6–Dec 7: Charles Newell stages Euripides' recounting of Agamemnon's sacrifice of his daughter, Iphigenia in Aulis.
Nov 14–Dec 21: The Humans, a new play from Stephen Karam, follows a young woman living in a shabby apartment in New York City hosting a tense Thanksgiving dinner for her family.
Nov 15–Dec 28: The Goodman Theatre’s annual holiday production of the Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol enters its 37th year with seasonal charm intact.
Nov 25–Dec 21: Set in small-town Indiana in the 1980s, Buddy Cop 2 is a quirky tale of cops, cancer and Christmas cheer with a slightly sinister bent. Don't worry about missing Buddy Cop 1.
Nov 1, 2: Alt-J brings its weirdly pretty art-rock to the Riv for two nights.
Nov 7: Oscar winning rapper Juicy J and his band will make you dance at the Aragon. Former Community star Childish Gambino opens.
Nov 12: Eclectic popsmith Gruff Rhys brings his wonderful American Interior to Schubas, a documentary and album about his search for a lost tribe of Welsh speaking Native Americans.
Nov 13: The eerie R&B of FKA Twigs oozes alien sexuality. Here, she melds the stylings of Aaliyah and Björk at Metro.
Nov 18: Julian Casablancas and his scuzzy band of '80s punks tear into his crusty solo material and classic Strokes tunes at the Vic.
Nov 19: Mavis Staples is turning 75, and friends like Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Glen Hansard, Michael McDonald, Grace Potter and more are in town to toast her at Auditorium Theatre.
Nov 22: All of the MCA's Bowie tribute concerts this month are intriguing, but we're most looking forward to krautrockers Disappears locking into Low.