November 2017 events calendar for Chicago

Pack your month with the best activities, concerts, free things to do and festivals
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
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With so many things to do this fall in Chicago, there’s plenty to be grateful for. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means we’ll be stuffing our faces (and planners) full this month. Whether you want to take advantage of all the amazing arts and culture events or kick back at a bar and cheer on the Bears, there’s so much happening this November. Whatever you do, resist the urge to go into hibernation mode just yet. 

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2017

 

Featured events in November 2017

Limor Garfinkle
Things to do

Saturday Night Live: The Experience

icon-location-pin River North
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The exhibit is spread over two floors of the museum and is structured like a week at SNL. If you’re not familiar, the show has a very rigid schedule; each day of the week has a specific purpose and goal. The first room of “SNL: The Experience” is Monday (with Lorne Michaels’ desk and a replica of the original 1975 set), the next is Tuesday (with videos screening late-night stories from writers including Seth Meyers and Paula Pell), and so on. It concludes, of course, with Saturday: a complete replica of Studio 8H. 

SOFA Chicago 2015
Photograph: Courtesy SOFA Chicago
Art, Fairs

SOFA Chicago

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One of Chicago's longest continually running art fairs returns to Navy Pier, displaying a variety of sculptures, objects and functional art (that's why it's called SOFA). You'll find towering sculptures, 3D-printed furniture and more one-of-a-kind objects on display, sourced from more than 80 galleries and dealers. If you've got some extra cash, most of the items are available for purchase, but plenty of attendees come to take in the sights and connect with artists.

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Shopping

Randolph Street Market Festival

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More than 200 vendors hawk their antique housewares, furniture, ephemera, clothing and more at this indoor-outdoor festival. Stop in for vintage clothes and jewelry, a vinyl swap meet, a fancy food market and global goods bazaar or bring your own items for appraisal. This event typically occurs on the last weekend of each month. During the warm-weather months, the market adds an outdoor area, offering even more vintage shopping and a beer garden.

Music events in November 2017

Young Thug
Photograph: Garrett Coyte
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Young Thug

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Though Young Thug may be best known for his Auto-Tuned vocals, it's his unpredictable marble-mouthed delivery and improvised lyrics that make him one of hip-hop's most interesting (and frequently imitated) personalities. On his recent mixtape, Beautiful Thugger Girls, the Atlanta rapper strips away the trap stylings of his previous records and embraces a more subdued R&B vibe—including a track that might be the closest he'll ever come to writing an acoustic guitar ballad. Taking a short break from his daily routine of writing 10 songs, Young Thug will kick off Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Days in Chicago concert series with an intimate show at Metro.

Photograph: Max Herman
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

The Weeknd

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Once an anonymous singer-songwriter, Abel Tesfaye (a.k.a. The Weeknd) is now the one of the biggest artists in pop music—a Starboy, if you will—who is able to flesh out his hazy, nihilistic slow jams with contributions from the likes of Daft Punk and Kendrick Lamar. He's already stopped by Chicago once this year, but you can expect his latest United Center appearance to be another sold out affair.

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Whitney
Photograph: Sandy Kim
Music, Rock and indie

Whitney + Ne-Hi + Mt. Joy

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When Logan Square roommates Max Kakacek and Julian Ehrlich (former members of the Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, respectively) began making music together, they found inspiration in the lovelorn, soulful folk rock of the Band and Neil Young. Whitney's 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake, wears its heart on its tattered plaid sleeve, whistfully reflecting on failed relationships and youthful trysts atop easy-going horn arrangements. At this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago show, the group is joined by local rockers Ne-Hi and Philly folk group Mt. Joy. 

Colleen
Photograph: Estudio Primo
Music, Dance and electronic

Colleen + Sam Prekop

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French multi-instrumentalist Cécile Schott puts down her baroque instrument and picks up some decidedly modern synthesizer on her new record, A Flame My Love, A Frequency. Recorded in response to the terror attacks in Paris, the electronic dub music-informed melodies meld with reflective lyrics that search for guidance and comfort in tragic times. Sea and Cake frontman Sam Prekop opens the show with a modular synthesizer set.

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Kehlani
Photograph: Courtesy Atlantic Records
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Kehlani + Kodie Shane + Blaise Moore

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America's Got Talent finalist-turned-R&B star Kehlani has spent the past year working on her major label debut, SweetSexySavage, and appearing on tracks featured in blockbusters like The Fate of the Furious and Suicide Squad. Her quick rise to prominence makes sense—she's got the type of unassuming silky voice that's difficult to ignore and a ’90s-inspired sound that courts nostalgia without going overboard. 18-year-old rapper Kodie Shane and R&B singer-songwriter Blaise Moore fill out the bill at this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago show.

Music, Rock and indie

Slowdive

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Reunited UK shoegazers Slowdive dial in the reverb and dreamy melodies on its new, self-titled LP, taking listeners back to a time before think pieces about genre revivals existed. The group's latest album sound like a conscious continuation of where it left off with 1995's Pygmalion, but informed by the decades worth of music that has been put into the world since then—a neat balancing act between nostalgia and progress.

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Music, Rock and indie

Guns N' Roses

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Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan are still getting along with one another and blazing through a catalog of heavy metal hits as GnR’s Not in this Lifetime tour makes its second stop in Chicago. It's hard to say how long this hatchet will stay buried, so if you want to your steamiest early ‘90s make out sessions, hurry up and catch the reunited act before Axl is forced to go solo again and subject the world to another Chinese Democracy.

LCD Soundsystem
Photograph: Jakob Layman
Music, Dance and electronic

LCD Soundsystem

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It's almost as if LCD Soundsystem never left us in a climactic fashion just six years ago. James Murphy and his dance-rock band have headlined Lollapalooza and Pitchfork Music Festival over the past two summers—now they're returning to fill the Aragon with pulsing beats and impassioned refrains for three straight nights. Yes, you'll be subjected to some competent tracks from the group's recent American Dream LP, but your desire for disco ball-dappled renditions of "All My Friends" and "Dance Yrself Clean" won't go unfulfilled.

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Mitski
Photograph: Ebru Yildiz
Music, Rock and indie

Mitski + Miya Folick + Hazel English

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With her 2014 release, Bury Me at Makeout Creek, Mitski Miyawaki transitioned from orchestral avant-pop to yearning indie rock—a transformation that highlighted her talents for emotive melodies and pointed lyricism. Her latest, Puberty 2, is another collection of dreamy, gut-wrenching ballads that explore deeply personal topics, such as the singer-songwriter's struggles with depression and the constant uncertainty of adulthood. California indie rocker Miya Folick and Hazel English support at this Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago show.

6lack
Photograph: Faisal Mohammed
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

6lack + Tobi Lou + EMI

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The Weeknd may be the reigning king of dark and moody hip-hop, but Atlanta rapper 6lack can get just as dour about failed relationships and career struggles. That's probably why he ended up as a featured artist on the Weeknd's recent Legend of the Fall tour, appearing during a break in the headliner's set to perform his breakout single "PRBLMS" from his 2016 debut Free 6lack. Now he's at the top of the bill for a Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days in Chicago concert, joined by Chicago rapper and singer Tobi Lou and Seattle R&B artist EMI.

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See more November 2017 concerts

Free things to do in November 2017

Comedians You Should Know
Photograph: Melissa Mamroth
Comedy, Stand-up

Comedians You Should Know

icon-location-pin Streeterville
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This weekly night of comedy, curated by a group of funny dudes, puts local stand-ups on your radar. It's totally free and BYOB, so why not?

Hopleaf3.venue.jpg
Photograph: Kelly Peloza
Things to do, Literary events

Tuesday Funk

icon-location-pin Uptown
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This eclectic reading series is where good writing and good beer mix. Every month five local writers and authors put together pieces to read while you order off Hopleaf's extensive beer menu.

Comedy to see in November 2017

Photograph: Byron Hatfield
Comedy, Sketch shows

Bye Bye Liver: The Chicago Drinking Play

icon-location-pin Lake View
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Bye Bye Liver combines two robust Chicago traditions: comedy and heavy drinking. The show opened 10 years ago for a three-week run, then kept getting extended. It centers on common party situations most Chicagoans can relate to and incoroprates interactive audience games like "Would You Rather." If you're looking to get drunk, quick, and have a great time doing so, Bye Bye Liver is always a solid bet. 

iO Theater
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Comedy, Improv

Whirled News Tonight

icon-location-pin River North
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Now in its 15th year, Whirled News Tonight has become an institution at the iO Theatre, hence its prime time slot. Improvised scenes are based on news articles from that week, which audience members post to the back wall of the stage. The show boasts alumni including Jordan Klepper (The Daily Show, The Opposition with Jordan Klepper), Sarah Haskins (Trophy Wife) and Arnie Niekamp (Hello From the Magic Tavern)

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Comedians You Should Know
Photograph: Melissa Mamroth
Comedy, Stand-up

Comedians You Should Know

icon-location-pin Streeterville
icon-calendar

This weekly night of comedy, curated by a group of funny dudes, puts local stand-ups on your radar. It's totally free and BYOB, so why not?

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