We’ve had a colorful transition into fall with gorgeous foliage and a mild October. Now, November brings us a bounty of even more festive celebrations, opportunities to get a head start on holiday shopping and, of course, plenty of Thanksgiving events. With Turkey Trots and November ice rink openings, there’s no excuse to hide inside—well, not just yet. Here are the most exciting events and openings this month.
THINGS TO DO
Nov 5–17: Beef up on comedy, technology, sports and media all for free at the first Made in Chicago Week, presented by General Assembly.
Nov 6: Don your best creative cocktail attire for the Dia de los Muertos Ball at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Nov 8: Sweat it out and satisfy your sweet tooth all in one event at the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k run.
Nov 8: Eat, drink and fiesta at the Chicago Humanities Festival’s closing night party, celebrating another fantastic year with a Thalia Hall bash.
Nov 13: Crawl your way through the odd and innovative art studios of Pilsen at the Art District’s 2nd Fridays Gallery Night, where you’ll see work from emerging talent and get plenty of free booze to boot.
Nov 13: For the best view of Chicago as you perfect your triple axel, head to Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, now open for the winter season.
Nov 14: Find acoustic performances in the most unusual places as part of Bucktown’s annual ChillFest, in which more than 60 performers stage pop-up performances throughout the neighborhood.
Nov 15: Get a healthy Dose of chic-as-hell shopping and splurge a little on your loved ones this holiday season at this upscale event.
Nov 19–Jan 3: Take a world tour at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World exhibit.
Nov 24: Celebrate the 102nd year of The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in a new location. This year, the tree moves to Millennium Park.
Nov 26: Cheer on floats, larger-than-life balloons and all the fanfare you can take at the Thanksgiving Parade.
Nov 27: The Art Institute’s steadfast guardian beasts get into the holiday spirit at the Wreathing of the Lions ceremony.
Nov 18: Celebrate the one-year anniversary of our favorite boozy night market by getting just a tiny bit Sauced.
Nov 6 & 7: Have a two-day laugh attack at the fifth annual Chicago Comedy Film Festival, presenting the best new and indie comedy films.
Nov 20 & 21: Sip superior suds at the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers, or FoBaB, as the kids are calling it these days.
Nov 20–Dec 23: Do some serious holiday shopping at Daley Plaza as Christkindlmarket brings us all the best seasonal vendors and German goods and bites.
Nov 21: Dozens of Chicago authors and more than 100 indie presses gather at the Chicago Book Expo for your reading pleasure.
Nov 21: Downtown lights up with The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, turning Chicago’s shopping mecca into a winter wonderland.
Nov 21 & 22: Find something extra special at one of Randolph Street Market Festival's 200-plus vendors, offering vintage clothes, jewelry and global goods and antiques.
Nov 22: Peruse the South Side’s farmers' market and artisan bazaar at Hyde Park Handmade and pick up some holiday gifts and fresh produce while you’re at it.
Nov 27–Jan 3: Bring the whole family to gaze at twinkling lights, sip steamy cocoa and hit the ice rink at the Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual (and free!) ZooLights.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
Nov 5: Latinicity, chef Richard Sandoval’s Latin-focused food hall, opens in Block 37 with a tapas restaurant, wine bar and market.
Early Nov: Alinea alumni Craig Sindelar and Michael Carroll open their own brewpub, Band of Bohemia, with executive chef Matt DuBois (formerly of EL Ideas) and chef de cuisine Kevin McMullen (formerly of EL Ideas and Longman & Eagle).
Mid Nov: Farm Bar opens in Lakeview with small plates, burgers and salads in addition to nearly Midwest-only wine, beer and cider.
Nov: Oyster on Halsted, an oyster bar and East Coast seafood restaurant by the Shaw’s Crab House Team and Lettuce Entertain You, will open in November.
Note: Restaurant and bar openings are subject to change and can be delayed; call ahead before setting out.
Nov 5–8: Navy Pier’s Festival of Sculptures, Objects and Functional Art (we just call it SOFA) returns with ceramics, wood, glass, fiber and metal works from more than 70 galleries.
Nov 21–May 8: Centered around the narrative of a presidential election, Kathryn Andrews’s first solo exhibit, “Run for President,” explores the visual techniques used by advertisers, brands and politicians.
Nov 21–June 5: Explore a collection of more than 100 surrealist works, including pieces by Magritte, Ernst, Durham and Koons, at the MCA’s new exhibit, “The Conjured Life.”
Nov 6: Spotlight is already looking like an Oscar front-runner. The drama is based on the true scandal that emerged through the Boston Globe’s investigation into the Catholic Church’s abuse cover-up.
Nov 6: Daniel Craig’s Bond is back and grittier than ever in Spectre.
Nov 20: The final Hunger Games film comes out just in time for Turkey Day. Satisfy your appetite for Katniss and company in Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part II one last time.
Nov 20: Get a double dose of Tom Hardy (yes, please!), starring as London’s infamous gangsters, the Kray twins in Legend.
Nov 3, 4 & 6: Returning to the road after a four-year hiatus, pop star Janet Jackson hits the Chicago Theatre behind her new record, Unbreakable.
Nov 6: Still not sick of hearing "Can't Feel My Face?" Moody R&B superstar the Weeknd is sure to play it when he comes to the United Center.
Nov 7: Lovable Brooklyn slacker Mac DeMarco brings his campy jangle pop to Metro.
Nov 13 & 14: Southern rock stalwarts the Drive-By Truckers turn in a two-night stand at Thalia Hall.
Nov 19: Perennial pop weirdo Miley Cyrus teams up with Flaming Lips for a wild (and possibly nude) performance of her latest record.
Nov 20: Garage rocker Ty Segall steps back behind the drum kit, underscoring the heavy, psych riffs of Fuzz at Thalia Hall.
Nov 20: Local rock icon Jeff Tweedy takes a break from Wilco for a solo acoustic set to benefit the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry.
Nov 21: Former street performer turned Oscar-winning artist Glen Hansard turns in heartfelt folk songs at the Chicago Theatre.
Nov 24 & 25: Grimes performs songs about gender-switching, space-traveling vampires from her new album, Art Angels.
THEATER & DANCE
Through Dec 19: TimeLine Theatre Company stages Leigh Fondakowski’s latest work, Spill, which examines the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Nov 4–Dec 12: Jackalope Theatre’s Kaiser Ahmed stages a new play by Idris Goodwin about white abolitionist John Brown’s failed 1859 attempt to start a slave revolt in Harpers Ferry, Virginia in The Raid.
Nov 5–8: Enjoy two new pieces by the legendary choreographer when the Twyla Tharp 50th Anniversary Tour rolls through Chicago.
Nov 5–Dec 13: Michael Shannon stars in Brett Neveu’s new Thanksgiving comedy Pilgrim's Progress about a family steeped in tension and deceit.
Nov 6–Dec 13: Director Devon de Mayo takes on Kaufman and Hart’s 1936 comedy You Can’t Take it with You about a family of eccentrics.
Nov 6–Dec 6: Never the Sinner, based on the 1924 murder trial of University of Chicago students Leopold and Loeb, gets revised at the Victory Gardens Theater.
Nov 12 & 13: Four of the original five improvisers who performed as the Cook County Social Club at iO for many years return for a 10-year reunion.
Nov 19–21: The former Chicagoan and comedy god Kyle Kinane manages to be both cerebral and lowbrow all in one punch, and he brings his phenomenal storytelling powers to us in a spree of shows.
Nov 22: Two of comedy’s living legends team up again when Steve Martin and Martin Short bring an evening of comedy and conversation, accompanied by bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers, to Rosemont.