November 1: Questlove—As the bandleader of the highly influential hip-hop collective The Roots and official drummer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Questlove takes a break to take over Smartbar with a special all-Prince DJ set.
November 2: Día de los Muertos: Love Never Dies Ball—Head to Pilsen and celebrate Day of the Dead at the National Museum of Mexican Art with this annual ball that features live music, face painting and spectacular dishes of food sponsored by Antique Taco, Mi Tocaya and more!
November 3: SOFA—Arguably on the same level as festivals like Miami’s Art Basel, the critically acclaimed Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA) Expo has become an essential proving ground in contemporary art’s international tour. Today is your last chance to stop by Navy Pier for spectacularly curated works from some of the world’s most promising artists. Also November 1-2.
November 4: Children’s Film Festival—The esteemed Lincoln Park art house cinema Facets hosts the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, a family-friendly event that aims to showcase the best in modern, non-violent, value-affirming and culturally diverse movies that truthfully speak to the experiences of teenagers and young children. Also November 1-3 and 5-7.
November 5: Chicago Bulls vs Los Angeles Lakers—Tonight, the mighty Chicago Bulls take on LeBron James and the Lakers at the United Center in a pivotal game on the road to basketball greatness.
November 6: Post-Work Day Mindful Meditation—Escape the calamity of modern life in the big city this evening as General Assembly hosts a 30-minute meditation session that helps you find your inner zen.
November 7: Danny Brown—In support of his kaleidoscopic new album, U Know What I'm Sayin?, the Detroit rapper touches down at the Metro tonight for an intimate performance.
November 8: Celebrity Chef Ball—Sample exquisitely adventurous dishes from over 80 of the best chefs in the city representing places such as Longman & Eagle, Frontier and more tonight at the Celebrity Chef Ball, held at Morgan MFG in the trendy West Loop district. A portion of ticket sales will help fund Meals on Wheels with the mission of feeding people in need.
November 9: Calligraphy Workshops—This holiday season, don’t just send a text message. Instead, surprise your loved ones with an elegant handwritten note. Learn all about the artform of calligraphy this morning at Travelle at the Langham’s wildly popular calligraphy brunch where you can enjoy a world-class meal and guided instruction. Brunch includes all of the necessary tools. Space is limited.
November 10: Chicago Humanities Festival—For almost 30 years, CHF has been at the forefront of American idea festivals. With an expertly curated lineup of authors, journalists, world leaders, musicians, artists and filmmakers, the festival aims to celebrate beliefs that matter and define us as a society. Today is your last chance to see speakers that include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ta-Nehisi Coates, George R. R. Martin, Patti Smith and more at over 100 events at locations throughout the city. Also November 1-9.
November 11: Pizzata!—Chicago takes pizza VERY seriously, and there’s no better way to elevate your Windy City pizza adventures than by checking out Eataly’s new culinary series, Pizzata! The chic Italian marketplace’s pizza party will include plenty of wine, beer, and of course, traditional Italian-style pizza.
November 12: MCA Benefit Art Auction—Help ensure the excellence of art in Chicago by stopping by the MCA’s premier art auction where you can bid on pieces from acclaimed artists such as Theaster Gates and Takashi Murakami. A portion of sales helps the MCA achieve their collective mission of bringing the transformative power of art to the people of Chicago and beyond.
November 13: Dead Man Walking—Based on the Oscar Award-winning film of the same name, the new theatrical production of “Dead Man Walking” musically tells the story of a man on Death Row condemned to die, and his spiritual advisor determined to see him to the end. After winning over audiences, it makes its highly anticipated Chicago debut with a month-long run at the Lyric Opera. Also November 2-10 and 16-22.
November 14: Angel Olsen—The critically acclaimed musician who has tastemaker publications such as Pitchfork and Rolling Stone singing her praises stops by the The Riviera Theatre to perform songs from her polished new album of downtempo indie folk, All Mirrors.
November 15: Christkindlmarket—A Chicago institution, Christkindlmarket is a month-long, open-air winter market in Daley Plaza modeled after the Germanic Christmas tradition dating back to the mid-16th century. Bundle up and grab yourself a freshly cooked brat, some goulash and a collectable mug of mulled wine while browsing through ornaments and everything you need to make your holiday season one to remember. Runs through December 24.
November 16: Ice skating in Millennium Park—A cherished winter tradition returns as part of Millennium Park is transformed into a massive ice skating rink. Explore the Loop in a whole new way as you skate along taking in the majestic downtown city lights. Admission to the rink is free, but it will cost you a few dollars if you need to rent skates. Runs through March 2020, weather permitting.
November 17: Lycée French Market—Upgrade your home’s style with bohemian French artwork, jewelry and clothing at Lycée Français de Chicago’s French Market in the bustling Ravenswood neighborhood. Afterwards, nourish yourself with authentic French cuisine from the school’s bistro. Also November 16.
November 18: American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago—Anchored in over 100 interviews about stories of faith, cultural identities and life experiences, the Chicago History Museum ampilifies the stories of Muslims in Chicago with the new exhibit, American Medina. Runs through December 31.
November 19: Moon Shine: A Speakeasy Event—Eddie V’s Prime Seafood celebrates the Roaring Twenties and the end of Prohibition with this special event where $20 gets you a decadent cut of steak and expertly curated cocktails such as The Bee’s Knees [Plymouth gin, honey and fresh lemon], or choose to pair a smooth ten-year old glass of rye whiskey with an expertly prepared filet mignon. Also November 1-18 and 19-24.
November 20: “Planes, Trains And Automobiles”—Celebrate the holiday travel season with this John Hughes comedy classic, starring Steve Martin and John Candy as unlikely travel companions trying to make it home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. This screening includes a conversation with James Hughes, son of director John Hughes, and Paul Hirsch, the film’s editor who also worked on Hughes’ “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and won an Oscar for his work on “Star Wars.”
November 21: Nick Kroll—Comedian, actor, writer and producer Nick Kroll brings standup comedy to the Vic Theatre for three nights. Kroll writes, produces and performs over 30 voices on the hit Emmy-nominated Netflix series “Big Mouth,” which is based on his childhood, and has starred in a variety of television and movie roles, from “The League to Sausage Party” to “Secret Life of Pets 2.” Also November 20 and 22.
November 22: Magnificent Mile Lights Festival—Led by Mickey and Minnie Mouse and featuring marching bands, a massive holiday tree and so much more, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade returns to Michigan Avenue. The free family-friendly weekend lights up over a million bulbs in this prime shopping district and includes special guests and performances.
November 23: Randolph Street Market—Featuring one-of-a-kind vintage jewelry, bohemian artwork, vinyl records and stylish decor, the massive Randolph Street Market at Plumbers’ Hall returns this weekend just in time for holiday shopping. Also November 24.
November 24: Six Flags Holiday in the Park—Make a quick road trip up to suburban Gurnee and stop by Six Flags Great America as it’s transformed into a winter wonderland with light shows, hearty fires and thrilling rides. Runs through December 31.
November 25: Kyle Kinane—After growing up in the Chicagoland area and performing all over the city, hometown favorite Kyle Kinane moved to Los Angeles where he continues performing stand-up, releasing three Comedy Central specials, and appearing on a variety of shows including “Drunk History,” “Workaholics,” and Nextflix's “Love.” Kinane returns home for two nights of his cynical comedy at Thalia Hall.
November 26: Figure Skating at Gallagher Way—Kicking off today and running every Tuesday during the winter holiday season, Gallagher Way (next to Wrigley Field) offers figure skating exhibitions with the Chicago Red Line synchronized skating teams that dazzle with choreographed performances.
November 27: Ganser—Named after a mental dissociative disorder, Ganser are a Chicago-based quartet making waves with their blend of Joy Division-style post-punk and arthouse film aesthetics. Exemplified by their latest single, “Bad Form,” Ganser’s music is provocatively dark with contemplative lyrics and frenzied instrumentation that explores themes of anxiety and intimacy.
November 28: Thanksgiving Day Parade—Ring in the holiday season before digging into your turkey dinner at the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade. Line up along State Street and enjoy festive floats, marching bands, a variety of performance groups, special celebrity guests, giant balloons sailing over downtown and a visit from Santa Claus himself.
November 29: Happy Holiday Railway—Stationed at the Illinois Railway Museum in the suburban city of Union, your family can hop aboard the Happy Holiday Railway and venture on a 40-minute voyage through the winter countryside along with Santa Claus. Runs through December 23.
November 30: “The Matrix”—Enjoy a 35mm showing of this cult classic at midnight to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Set in a simulated reality and dystopian wasteland in the future, “The Matrix” was the first chapter from a trilogy created by Chicagoans, the Wachowskis siblings. The series focuses on Neo, played by actor Keanu Reeves, a hacker who has been recruited by a rebellion that fights against machines that have taken over the world.