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Guide For Thanksgiving Weekend Visitors To Chicago

Thanksgiving weekend means, for many people, the start of the holidays and visitors to Chicago will find a variety of holiday-related activities especially appropriate for families. Whether the focus of the Chicago visit is on food, entertainment or cultural experiences; families will find holiday activities that will please all family members and a weekend trip to Chicago will be a visit that will make memories to last a lifetime.


Christkindlmarket Chicago
Daley Plaza
50 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 494-2175

Visitors to the Christkindlmarket Chicago will feel as if they stepped into a fantasyland of German tradition and will walk out filled with the holiday spirit. A visit to the Christkindlmarket Chicago over the Thanksgiving weekend is a great way to get a start on the holiday shopping and to get a good dose of the holiday spirit. This German holiday market is inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545. The holiday market offers unique, handmade crafts and gifts, a wide range of entertainment and authentic German food and drinks. Be sure to try to a traditional German drink called "Glühwein," a delicious hot spiced wine that is served at the holiday time and perfect for sipping on while walking around the market. Visitors to the Christkindlmarket Chicago will feel as if they stepped into a fantasy land of German tradition and will walk out filled with the holiday spirit. Christkindlmarket Chicago is open from November 26 through December 24, 2013. Admission is free.

McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade
State Street-from Congress to Randolph
Chicago, IL 60602

The McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade is Chicago's biggest holiday parade and will be held on Thursday, November 28, 2013 from 8 to 11 a.m. If you are planning on visiting Chicago over the holiday weekend, be sure to start out the visit with a bang by seeing the spectacular McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade. The giant helium balloons are amazing to see in person, the floats are moving works of art, there are many outstanding performing groups and numerous local and national celebrities. Attending and seeing the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade is fun for the whole family and is an event that the family will have fond memories of for years to come.


Lincoln Park Zoolights
2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

The Lincoln Park Zoo offers a fun-filled holiday celebration geared towards families which includes a plethora of holiday light displays and holiday-related activities. And best of all, the celebration and activities are free. The switch will be flipped on for the holiday lights at Lincoln Park Zoo on Friday, November 29, 2013 at 4:55 p.m. The Zoolights will be displayed from Friday through Sunday until December 13. Following this date, the lights will be on nightly (excluding December 24 and 25) until January 5, 2014. Lights will shine from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

RelatedA Guide to Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
The Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414

The Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light is a Chicago tradition that began in 1942 and for many people, attending this holiday celebration is a "must do" over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Museum displays a 45-foot grand tree surrounded by 50 smaller trees that are decorated by Chicago volunteers from different ethnic communities representing their cultures and holiday traditions. While strolling through the trees, "fake" snow will periodically fall and also performances can be viewed on the Holiday Stage. The Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light opens on November 14, 2013 and runs through January 5, 2014. It is included in the Museum entry fee. The museum hours are daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Thanksgiving and Christmas when the Museum is closed.

A Holiday Fantasea
The Shedd Aquarium
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 939-2438

The Shedd Aquarium offers a multi-species aquatic show featuring a variety of marine mammals. The marine mammals will showcase their natural behaviors among the twinkling lights and festive music. A Holiday Fantasea show opens Thanksgiving weekend and is a "must see" for the family. The holiday aquatic show will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from November 29 through December 22, 2013 and Monday, December 23 through Saturday, December 28 (The Shedd will be closed on December 25).

Related: Best Zoo & Aquarium Events in Chicago

Michelle Guilbeau is an elementary teacher living in Chicago, Illinois. She has also experience in school administration and literacy coaching. Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on

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