Sure, November’s all about Thanksgiving, but that’s not the only way in which Chicagoans can indulge this month. Design enthusiasts can geek out at Navy Pier's SOFA festival, international cinema fanatics have the Polish Film Festival in America and Red Bull 30 Days in Chicago brings packed slate of concerts to venues throughout the city. Plus, the holidays officially get underway this month, with local institutions such as Zoolights and Christkindlmarket opening for the season. Pack up your zombie costumes and spiderwebs and get ready to do it big this November in Chicago.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete November events calendar
THINGS TO DO
Nov 4: Celebrate the Hindu festival of light with Indian traditions, live music and performances at the Diwali Family Festival at the Art Institute.
Nov 4: Taste all the gooiest noodles in Chicago during Mac & Cheese Fest at UIC Forum.
Nov 4–19: The 29th annual Polish Film Festival in America showcases 60 Polish films (with English subtitles) at various venues throughout the city.
Nov 9–12: Take in live concerts, panels and movie screenings at CIMMfest, a festival dedicated to the intersections of music and film.
Nov 10, 11: Embrace your inner beer nerd at the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers (FoBAB), which features more 90 breweries and lots of high ABV brews.
Nov 11, 12: Browse Chicago-made posters and prints at the second annual Chicago Printers Guild Publishers Fair.
Nov 17, 18: Turn on the holiday spirit at Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, a two-day event that ends with an evening parade and a fireworks display.
Nov 17–Mar 4: The McCormick-Tribune Ice Rink and the Maggie Daley Ice Ribbon, both at Millennium Park, open up for the winter this month.
Nov 17–Dec 24: Chicago’s beloved German holiday market, Christkindlmarket, sets up shop in Daley Plaza.
Nov 18: Play table tennis with a paddle in one hand and a Bloody Mary in another at Bottomless Brunch N' Ping Pong at AceBounce.
Nov 23: Burn some calories before you gorge yourself at Thanksgiving dinner with the Turkey Day Run, a 5K or 8K race through Lincoln Park.
Nov 23: Head to State Street for the Thanksgiving Parade where inflatable cartoon characters, bands and floats greet the arrival of Turkey Day.
Nov 24–Jan 7: Enjoy ice sculpting, hot beverages and thousands of multi-colored LED lights during ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Nov 25: Businesses in Wicker Park and Bucktown host over 60 acoustic storefront concerts at ChillFest.
Nov 25: Run off your mashed potato-induced coma with a breezy, family-friendly 5K at the Grant Park Turkey Trot.
Nov 1–30: Red Bull Sound Select curates a hip-hop, R&B or rock concert every day this month (except for Thanksgiving) throughout its 30 Days in Chicago festival.
Nov 2: The Weeknd returns to the United Center with even more of his moody, nihilistic R&B in tow.
Nov 3: French musician Colleen trades her Baroque instrument for a synthesizer during a solo performance at the MCA theater.
Nov 4: Smart Bar celebrates its 35th anniversary with a 23-hour party featuring sets from Derrick Carter, Robert Hood and various resident DJs.
Nov 5: Reunited shoegaze act Slowdive unleashes reverb-drenched guitars and dreamy melodies at the Vic Theatre.
Nov 6: Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan have kept the hatchet buried long enough to bring Gun N' Roses and its heavy metal hits back to Chicago for a second round.
Nov 6–8: Dance rockers LCD Soundsystem bring disco balls and danceable beats to a three-night stand at the Aragon.
Nov 9–11: Banjo-strummers the Avett Brothers settle in for three evenings of folk and bluegrass at the Chicago Theatre.
Nov 14: Influential Los Angeles producer Flying Lotus pads out his atmospheric electronica with eye-popping visuals on this special, 3D glasses-assisted tour.
Nov 15, 16: Alt-country singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless digs into her catalog of brutally honest ballads at a pair of solo shows.
Nov 19: Unrelentingly self-assured and sporting a scathing sense of humor, R&B singer Lizzo calls out exes and celebrates her body at this Thalia Hall gig.
Nov 21: Local rapper Noname confront her insecurities and mortality with low-key candor at this Red Bull 30 Days in Chicago concert.
Nov 25: Former Smiths frontman Morrissey returns to Chicago for the first time since he forced Riot Fest to go vegan for two hours.
Nov 29: You might know Khalid by name, but you've probably heard his single, "Location," which grapples with love in the time of smartphones.
Nov 30: Hip-hop trio Migos and SoundCloud rapper Lil Yachty team up on an absolutely bonkers double bill to close out Red Bull's 30 Days in Chicago fest.
Nov 2–5: SOFA packs Navy Pier's festival hall with sculptures, objects and functional art, including towering sculptures, 3D printed furniture and more one-of-a-kind objects.
Nov 3–Mar 4: On the 100th anniversary of his death, the Art Institute explores the work of Auguste Rodin in "Sculptor and Storyteller", which features sculptures and drawings from private collections.
Nov 18–Jan 28: In his new exhibition "Song", artist Alejandro Cesarco arranges films, videos, prints, drawings and photos to mimic the structure of music.
THEATER & DANCE
Nov 3–Dec 9: Alex Weisman stars in Significant Other, a comedy about a perpetually single gay man who feels left behind as his female friends keep getting married.
Nov 9–Dec 31: Tracy Letts’ The Minutes, a comedy centered around a contentious town meeting that unearths hidden truths, premieres at Steppenwolf before heading to Broadway in February.
Nov 9–Dec 8: The new Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical, aptly titled Escape to Margaritaville, makes Chicago its final layover before touching down on Broadway in the spring.
Nov 17–18: Masterful monologuist Mike Daisey performs at Theatre Wit, touching on the current states of politics, journalism and white male privilege.
Nov 18: Explosive fusion troupe Chicago Dance Crash marks its 15th year with Crash Year 15, a one-night-only performance featuring returning alums and secret special guests.
Nov 18–Dec 31: The Goodman Theatre’s annual holiday production of A Christmas Carol enters its 40th year with seasonal charm intact. No bah humbugs here.
Nov 21-Dec 31: Brothers GQ and JQ spin Dickens’s story into a charming hip-hop tale that also serves as a history of rap in Q Brothers Christmas Carol.
Nov 6: Ilana Glazer (Broad City) and Phoebe Robinson (2 Dope Queens) stop by Thalia Hall for two shows on their ‘YQY’ (Yaaas Queen Yaaas) comedy tour.
Nov 7–28: Generation LatinX, a partially-English, partially-Spanish comedy variety show, performs Tuesday nights at iO this month.
Nov 10: Former iO house team and superb improvisers Cook County Social Club will reunite to celebrate the group’s 10th anniversary.
Nov 11: Chicago-bred writer and stand-up comic Joel Kim Booster celebrates the release of his album Model Minority at Schubas.
Nov 21: Kyle Kinane brings his storytelling powers and self-deprecating stand-up to Thalia Hall for one night.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Nov 3: Shoot darts and sip gin cocktails at Point & Feather in River North.
Mid-Nov: Chefs Matthias Merges and Graham Elliot make moves on Randolph Street with Gideon Sweet, which will offer internationally inspired cocktails and snackable bites.
Nov TBD: River North will welcome Bounce Chicago, an upscale sports lounge that will serve Cap'N Crunch-crusted chicken nuggets, signature cocktails and craft brews.