Are you searching for what to do in Chicago this November? Here are the best things to do in Chicago in November 2023 (from a local).
November is a great month to visit Chicago. Even though the weather is getting colder, it is still comfortable enough to enjoy spending time outside. Depending on the year, you might still see some fall foliage in the beginning of the month. The middle of November brings the start of festive Christmas and holiday activities and events which are in full swing by Thanksgiving at the end of the month.
For out of town visitors, please note that the weather in Chicago in November is very unpredictable and temperatures can vary greatly. Be prepared for fall or winter temperatures (sometimes all in one day!) as well as rain and possibly snow. Make sure to pack layers, a travel umbrella and check the weather right before your visit to know what to expect.
I suggest bookmarking this blog post as I will be updating it regularly with new events and activities.
Things to Do in Chicago in November (2023)
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you make a booking using my links at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Take an Architecture River Cruise
Taking an architecture river cruise is a must when visiting Chicago and a great outdoor activity on a warmer November day. While you can go on an architecture cruise most of the year (except when the water is frozen in the winter), they tend to be less crowded in the fall.
Look for Street Art
November is a great month to walk around Chicago looking for street art while also enjoying fall colors or holiday lights and more moderate temperatures.
One of the most well known Chicago murals is “Moose Bubblegum Bubble” by Jacob Watts which located at 33 E. Congress (South Wall). This famous mural is part of the Wabash Arts Corridor and is walking distance to Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago and other tourist attractions.
Enjoy the Views from 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
360 CHICAGO, the observatory on the 94th floor of the former John Hancock Building, has one of the best views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. Early to mid November is one of the best times to visit as you can see panoramic views of fall colors from above. Click here to buy a skip the line ticket.
Where: 875 North Michigan Avenue, 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Disney100: The Exhibition
The Disney100: The Exhibition is coming to Chicago in November. The Walt Disney Archives opens its vault of historical and special treasures, works of art, artifacts, costumes, and memorabilia with the launch of Disney100: The Exhibition. This exhibition celebrates the magic of Disney, which is capturing the hearts of audiences of all ages around the globe. Wonder at more than 250 artifacts and props, see costumes from some of your favorite Disney classics, and explore enchanting galleries that bring the magic of Disney to life. Featuring the latest members of the Disney family (Pixar, Star Wars, and MARVEL) along with renowned classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and recent releases such as Encanto (2021).
When: Opens November 18, 2023
Where: Exhibition Hub Art Center Chicago, 2367 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647
Cost: Price varies. Click here for full prices and to purchase tickets in advance.
Attend a Candlelight Concert
Chicago’s Candlelight Concerts is a series of special classical music concerts that take place in beautiful venues bathed in candlelight. Some of the concerts taking place this November include:
Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift
Candlelight: A Tribute to Adele
Candlelight: A Tribute to Bad Bunny
Candlelight: Romantic Jazz featuring Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, & Ella Fitzgerald
Candlelight Día De Los Muertos: Celebrating the Day of the Dead
You can find the full list of candlelight concerts in Chicago here.
Watch Digital Art at Art on the Mart
Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART.
Where: The Merchandise Mart, 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654. Spectators can watch the show from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street.
When: 30-minute program of projections are shown nightly.
Have Fun at Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a must do if you are visiting Chicago with toddlers or kids. A ride on the large Ferris wheel offers paranoramic skyline views of Chicago and is another great way to see the fall colors from above early in the month. (Click here to purchase a fast pass ticket and skip the long line).
Enjoy the End of Fall Colors
There are many places in and near Chicago to admire the beautiful autumn leaves. The peak time for the best fall foliage in Chicago is usually mid to late October but you can usually still see some fall colors in the first half of November.
If you are willing to leave the city, you can find even more spectacular fall foliage in the suburbs. One of the best spots for fall colors in the suburbs is Morton Arboretum (in Lisle about 26 miles west of downtown) which is home to more than 4,000 different types of trees among 1,700 acres. They publish a weekly fall color report every Friday on their website.
If you missed fall foliage in the Chicago area, head south. There will likely still be fall colors in other places of the Midwest early November making it a great time for a weekend getaway from Chicago. (This weekly fall color report keeps track of fall foliage times across Illinois and this fall foliage map by weather.com shows the progress of fall foliage in all of the United States.)
Admire Famous Works at The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States and is frequently found on lists of the top museums in the world. (Click here to buy a skip the line ticket if you want to avoid long lines).
When: Hours are Monday and Thursday–Sunday from 11 a.m.– 6 p.m. (10–11 a.m. for members). Closed on Tuesday–Wednesday.
Where: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Cost: $25 for adults, $19 for seniors, students and teens (14-17); members and children under 14 are always free.
Go Outdoor Ice Skating
Outdoor ice skating rinks in the Chicago area open around mid-November. The best and picture perfect spots to go ice skating downtown are the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink right in front of the Bean and the skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park which has a path twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink.
Take a Holiday Tour
If you are in Chicago during mid to late November and your time is short, there are a few tours that focus on Chicago’s holiday attractions:
Visit an Authentic German-Style Christmas Market
Christkindlmarket is an authentic German-style outdoor market. Visitors can shop for Christmas ornaments and products from around the world and try various German food and drinks such as roasted nuts, fresh pretzels, bratwurst, and hot spiced wine. You can purchase a limited edition souvenir mug to remember your trip.
The market is in two locations in the city of Chicago: in front of Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago and Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville.
Where: 50 W Washington Street and 3635 N Clark St
When: Opens November 17, 2023. Hours vary- see official website for hours.
Cost: Admission is FREE.
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ at Lincoln Park Zoo is a cheerful, family-friendly holiday event in the heart of the city. Zoolights features hundreds of luminous LED displays and seasonal experiences, all under the glow of millions of lights. Tickets will be available for purchase beginning in mid-October. Pricing information is coming soon.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2400 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL
When: Opens November 17, 2023.
See the City of Chicago Christmas Tree
The City of Chicago will put up their annual Christmas Tree at Millennium Park on November 17, 2023.
Go Holiday Shopping (or Window Shopping)
Chicago is a great city for shopping with every type of store you can imagine. Many shopping centers and departments stores put up holiday decorations and attractions around early November. If you want to see holiday decorations before the holiday crowds, I recommend doing your holiday shopping (or browsing) in early to mid November.
Make sure not to miss Macy’s (formerly Marshall Fields) – the building is a National Historic Landmark and it is known for its holiday window displays.
The major shopping areas in downtown Chicago include State Street (where you can find Macy’s, Target and many smaller stores) and The Magnificent Mile (where you can find shopping centers, luxury designers and labels, several departments stores and popular brands).
If you are looking for unique and/or handmade items, check out there markets for your holiday shopping: Sauced – Fall Night Market (November 3-4, 2023), Randolph Street’s Holiday Market (November 4-5, 2023) and Chicago Artisan Market (November 25-26, 2023).
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
View this post on Instagram
The Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science and Industry annual celebration began in 1942 and features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of more than 40 trees and displays which represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe.
Where: Museum of Science and Industry at 5700 S Lake Shore Drive.
When: Opens mid-November, 2023
Cost: Included in regular museum admission. Here is a link to the official website for more information.
Walk the Illuminated Light Trail at Lightscape
Lightscape is an after-dark, illuminated trail with thousands of twinkling lights at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Ok so this is technically not in Chicago but it is in the suburbs only a 30 minute drive from downtown. Book early to guarantee your preferred dates. Tickets are available for purchase and sell out quickly!
Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022 (24 miles north of downtown Chicago)
When: Opens November 10, 2023.
Cost: See https://www.chicagobotanic.org/lightscape for prices and to purchase tickets.
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum is a one-of-a-kind, interactive spectacle of color, light, and sound that has been delighting audiences since 2013. Be surrounded by color as you walk a one-mile paved path amid interactive lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter.
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532 (28 miles west of downtown Chicago)
When: Opens November 18, 2023.
Cost: See their website for more information and to purchase tickets in advance.
Chicago November 2023 Events
In addition to the activities mentioned above, other November 2023 events include: Holiday Chicago Toy & Game Fair (November 4-5, 2023), Hot Chocolate Run (November 5, 2023), People of Play’s Toy & Game Fair (November 5, 2023), Skyrise Chicago (November 5, 2023), Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at at Millennium Park (November 17, 2023), Magnificent Mile Lights Festival (November 18, 2023), Turkey Trot Chicago 5K & 8K (November 23, 2023), Chicago Thanksgiving Parade (November 23, 2023) and Winter Fireworks at Navy Pier (November 25, 2023).
As you can see there are many fun things to do in Chicago this November.
Planning a trip to Chicago? Check out my Chicago guides and itineraries:
- Weekend in Chicago: The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary
- 24 Hours in Chicago: A Perfect One Day Itinerary
- Best Free Things to Do in Chicago
- Most Instagrammable Places in Chicago