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The 12 best things to do with kids in November

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors

1. McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade Skip the parade on TV and head downtown with the whole family to watch the giant balloons, dancers and marching bands make their way down State Street on Thanksgiving morning. (State St, between Congress Pkwy and Randolph St, Nov. 24, 8am. Free)

2. Grant Park Turkey Trot Older kids can join in on the 5K fun while little ones can participate in the free Kids' Dash. Either way, it's family fun that will help everyone work up an appetite just before Turkey Day. (Grant Park, 337 E Randolph St, Nov. 26, 9am. $35)

3. Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Welcome the holidays as the Mag Mile lights up with a magical tree lighting parade led by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. (Pioneer Court, 401 N Michigan Ave, Nov. 18, 4pm; Nov. 19, 11am. Free)

4. Ice Skating in Millennium Park Skate with a phenomenal view of the skyline. Hit the ice starting November 18 when the city's tree lighting ceremony takes place. (Millennium Park McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, 11 N Michigan Ave, Nov. 18–March 5, 2017. Free, $12 skate rental). 

5. Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum Take a stroll through the woods to admire award-winning light projections at Illumination. Kids can hug trees or sing to them to see them respond or marvel at dancing lights coordinated to music from the Nutcracker, recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL, Nov. 18–Jan. 2, 2017. $12–22)

6. Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo The zoo is in full holiday mode with its annual ice rink amongst the animals. Warm up in the Main Barn with snacks in between loops around the rink. (Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, Nov. 25—Feb. 26, 2017. $5 admission, $5 skate rental)

7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical Rudolph and friends bring the beloved stop-motion film to the stage in this charming family musical that should put everyone in the holiday spirit. (Chicago Theatre, 175 N State St, Nov. 17–20, various times, $25–$125)

8. ZooLights Every year the Lincoln Park Zoo lights up for the holidays with dazzling light displays. Bring the kids for holiday fun with the animals—though no one will judge you if you make another trip back on your own—as well as visits with Santa, ice sculptures, crafts and more. (Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, Nov. 25—27, Dec. 2–4, 9–23, 26–31, Jan. 1, 2017, 4:30–9pm. Free)

9. Christkindlmarket In addition to delicious food and shopping for the whole family, kids can check out plenty of activities throughout the market, including a scavenger hunt designed just for the kinder. (Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn Streets, Nov. 18–Dec. 23, 11am–8pm Sun–Thurs; 11am–9pm Sun–Thurs. Free)

10. Juicebox Series at the Chicago Cultural Center This recurring event is designed to get your kids' creative juices flowing. (Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St, November 4, 18; Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N Central Park Ave, Nov. 5, 19. Free)

11. Auditorium Theatre Family Fun Day Explore the ins and outs of the Auditorium during this free day, packed with activities including dance, choreography and architecture workshops. (Auditorium Theatre, 50 E Congress Pkwy, Nov. 13, 1pm. Free) 

12. Chicago International Children's Film Festival Inspire your budding actors or filmmakers during this 30-year-old film festival, featuring great flicks, workshops and more cinematic events. (Various locations, through Nov. 7. $5–10) 

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