Thanksgiving in Chicago

Make new holiday traditions this year with top-notch takeout, sparkling light displays and other social distance-friendly festive fun.

thanksgiving turkey
Photograph: Shutterstock

Some of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions may be off for this year, but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the food- and family-focused holiday in Chicago. When you're not busy planning turkey prep and decking the halls with fall decor, catch twinkling holiday light displays at some of the best attractions and gardens in Chicago. Instead of heading downtown to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, bundle up and take the fam on a long hike through your favorite Chicago park. And if you're not in the mood for cooking a whole bird this Turkey Day (we feel you), consult some of the best restaurants in Chicago for delightful takeout options. Make new holiday traditions this year with the help of our guide to Thanksgiving in Chicago. 

When is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November. In 2020, Thanksgiving is celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

Things to do on Thanksgiving

The 14 best pies in Chicago
Restaurants

The 14 best pies in Chicago

Nothing caps off Thanksgiving dinner better than a big ol' slice of pumpkin pie. 

The best restaurants for delivery and takeout in Chicago
Restaurants

The best restaurants for delivery and takeout in Chicago

It's been a tough year, and no one will blame you if you don't feel like cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving feast.

Alinea is offering an extremely luxe Thanksgiving dinner feast to go
News

Alinea is offering an extremely luxe Thanksgiving dinner feast to go

Make your Thanksgiving extra bougie with this multi-course menu from Chicago's only three-Michelin-starred restaurant. 

Pumpkin patches near Chicago
Kids

Pumpkin patches near Chicago

Pro tip: Nothing screams "Thanksgiving" like a table decked out with gourds picked at the Chicago area's best pumpkin patches.

Advertising
Amazing Airbnb cabins for the perfect late fall getaway
Travel

Amazing Airbnb cabins for the perfect late fall getaway

Opt for a change of scenery by stealing away to one of these remote cabins to host an intimate Thanksgiving dinner.

You can now order Glühwein and other Christkindlmarket treats online
News

You can now order Glühwein and other Christkindlmarket treats online

Christkindlmarket, the annual German-style holiday market, might be canceled this year, but you can still stock up on treats online. 

A glittering tunnel of lights will illuminate the Chicago Botanic Garden this winter
News

A glittering tunnel of lights will illuminate the Chicago Botanic Garden this winter

Make your Thanksgiving break extra festive with a visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden's twinkling Lightscape installation. 

ZooLights will still decorate Lincoln Park this year, but you’ll have to pay admission to get in
News

ZooLights will still decorate Lincoln Park this year, but you’ll have to pay admission to get in

Just be sure to snag a $5 ticket before you head over to see the spectacle at Lincoln Park Zoo. 

26 ways to still have an amazing fall in Chicago
Things to do

26 ways to still have an amazing fall in Chicago

Step one: Grab your coziest sweater and settle in with this list. 

More November events
Things to do

More November events

The best events, concerts and theater to enjoy in November (and during Thanksgiving).

Archived coverage of Thanksgiving in Chicago

20 Chicago restaurants open on Thanksgiving
Restaurants

20 Chicago restaurants open on Thanksgiving

Preparing a Thanksgiving feast is no joke—there's brining and baking and peeling and roasting. Did we mention the mountain of dirty dishes at the end of the night? If you'd rather not step foot in the kitchen on November 22, make plans at one of these restaurants open on Thanksgiving. Whether you're looking for a traditional spread with mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce, or you're craving something a bit more refined (king crab, anyone?), these top Chicago restaurants have you covered. We even included plenty of takeout options for those who want to bring the feast home. As with any holiday, be sure to make a reservation or place your order in advance. And for the love of stuffing, tip the waitstaff appropriately—they're taking care of those dirty dishes at the end of the night, after all.

How Time Out Chicago celebrated Thanksgiving
News

How Time Out Chicago celebrated Thanksgiving

Happy (day after) Thanksgiving, Chicago! In the spirit of the holiday we thought we'd share with you how our staff celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday. Most of us stayed at home in Chicago, but some of us took to the roads and traveled to find and eat with our families elsewhere. Others decided to forgo the pomp and circumstance of slaving over a turkey all day and go out to a Chicago restaurant for Thanksgiving.  We sincerely hope you all had a wonderful holiday, stayed safe and spent some good time with your friends and family. Have a great weekend! There's no better time to be a Chicagoan than the holiday season.  Laura Rote, Editor   A photo posted by laura_rote (@laura_rote) on Nov 26, 2015 at 4:19pm PST   Amy Cavanaugh, Restaurant & Bars Editor   A photo posted by Amy Cavanaugh (@amycavanaugh) on Nov 26, 2015 at 11:52am PST   Christine Griffith, Sales Manager   A photo posted by Christine Griffith (@youcancallmecg) on Nov 26, 2015 at 5:33pm PST   Jaclyn Rivas, Photo Editor Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas   Nick Kotecki, Assistant Editor, Social Media   A video posted by Time Out Chicago (@timeoutchicago) on Nov 26, 2015 at 5:52pm PST   Clayton Guse, Assistant Editor   A photo posted by Clayton Guse (@clayguse) on Nov 26, 2015 at 4:15pm PST

Photos from the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade
News

Photos from the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Delicious meals, turkey trots and football games may take the spotlight on Thanksgiving, but there's one tradition that always seems to capture the excitement of the beginning of the holiday season. The annual Chicago Thanksgiving Parade marched down State Street on Thursday, filled with marching bands, costumed performers and some gigantic inflatable versions of cartoon characters. If you were stuck at home preparing a turkey dinner instead of cheering from the sidewalk, take a look at some of the most exciting scenes from the parade. RECOMMENDED: Our guide to Thanksgiving in Chicago Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: Jordan Avery   Photograph: J

Conversations every Chicagoan will have this Thanksgiving
News

Conversations every Chicagoan will have this Thanksgiving

The holidays are upon us, and that means food, family and forced conversation. Thanksgiving kicks off this season of oversharing with the people you know all too well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a meaningful exchange about the most trivial of subjects. Take note of conversation prompts or signs of discussions you may want to avoid and chew over our list of likely table talk this Thanksgiving. Whining about driving out to the 'burbs: You used to love going on long drives. But after living in the city for the better part of your 20s, the thought of spending 40 solitary minutes in a car (alone) on your way out to Alsip is equal parts annoying and terrifying. Undoubtedly, you’ll need to unpack that complex with someone. And since your therapist doesn’t have office hours until after the holiday, complaining about that ass-pain of a drive to your parents will have to do. The new Metra seats: At some point during your impassioned yarn about traffic on the Dan Ryan, one of your solution-oriented relatives will remember hearing about those dope new Metra seats. You should have “rode the train,” they’ll say, and you and your deformed lumbar will have to point out the benefits of hindsight. A way too in-depth conversation about craft beers: You made it to your family Thanksgiving party, casually greeted relatives and now it’s time to make a subtle (mustn't show too much haste) move toward the fridge for a can of cold beer. All of a sudden, you’re blindsided by that cousin y

Show more

Explore some of the most incredible attractions in Chicago

The 17 best Chicago attractions
Attractions

The 17 best Chicago attractions

Ready to dive into the Windy City? Here are the Chicago attractions you simply shouldn't miss.