We’re Grateful For This List Of 10 Ways To Celebrate Thanksgiving In Chicago

Charli Renken Charli Renken

We’re Grateful For This List Of 10 Ways To Celebrate Thanksgiving In Chicago

It’s almost Turkey Day! Celebrate with these 10 ideas to celebrate the holidays!

Thanksgiving can be a really stressful time of year. Between visiting family, food prep, and awkward dinner conversations, sometimes we’d be thankful just to get it over with quickly. It doesn’t have to be that way, though! Here are a few ideas to make Thanksgiving a fun holiday to look forward to!

1. Watch the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade in person or on TV

Chicago's thanksgiving day parade turkey float
Photo: @centralloophotel

Macy’s Thanksgiving parade is all fine and good, but wouldn’t you rather spend time with your fellow Chicagoans this year? Nearly half a million people show up to watch the parade’s many floats, equestrian riders, dancers, and balloons travel down State St. Take a vacation from the TV and head downtown for a magnificent celebration at The Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade. Check out our guide to the parade here.

2. Or I guess you could watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Photo: @jolieguz

We get it. It’s a holiday tradition for thousands of Americans around the world. While we might prefer Chicago’s, we won’t fault you if you want to watch the New York one. Better yet, watch both by recording Macy’s parade while you’re out watching Chicago’s!

3. Celebrate early with a little holiday drink at The Black Wednesday Dress Party.

Get your Thanksgiving party started early by attending the Black Wednesday Dress Party at the Hubbard Inn. Celebrate the holidays in style with other finely dressed, young Chicagoans. Completely separate from Black Friday, Black Wednesday (sometimes known as Blackout Wednesday) is a pre-Thanksgiving drinking tradition. This Black Wednesday party is much more refined than your typical booze fest, though. The Hubbard Inn party has a strict dress code: black, cocktail party attire. Tickets for this classy event are on sale now.

4. Let someone else do the heavy pastry lifting by ordering a pie instead of making one.

Photo: @chicagoavocado

Baking can be fun, but when you’ve got 20+ people to feed, it gets hectic fast. Give yourself a break this year by ordering an expertly made pie instead of making one. We recommend Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits, Hoosier Mama Pie Company, or First Slice Pie Cafe. (We won’t tell if you want to pass it off as your own.)

5. Better yet, dine out for Thanksgiving this year.

Photo: @mapleandash

You don’t have to cook every single meal to make Thanksgiving special. Kick your feet up (not on the table, please) and let someone else take care of cooking this year. Many Chicago restaurants have special Thanksgiving pre fixe menus to feed your whole family. A few good options include Maple & Ash, Big Jones, and Prime & Provisions. We’ll leave it to you to suss out the bill, though.

6. Watch one of these Thanksgiving movies or TV episodes.

There are tons of fun Thanksgiving stories to watch while you’re cooking. Here are a few of our favorites:

Literally any Bob’s Burgers Thanksgiving episode.
Between Linda’s Thanksgiving song, Bob’s cooking determination, and Tina’s general awkward demeanor, literally any of Bob’s Burgers‘ Thanksgiving episodes are worth a watch, especially during this time of year.

“Huangsgiving,” Fresh Of The Boat (Season 2, Episode 8)
Jessica (Constance Wu) has to scramble to prepare a full Thanksgiving feast after her mother decides last minute that the Huangs should host this year. Fresh of The Boat is one of our favorite shows, but this episode really takes the cake… er, pie.

Free Birds (2013)
Two turkeys go back in time to the first Thanksgiving to take turkeys off the menu for good. Starring Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, and George Takei, it’s a wacky movie that makes a hilarious time for the whole family.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
This one’s a classic holiday short that’s a fun watch for the whole family. It’s short, too, so you can squeeze it in between dinner and dessert.

7. Prep for Black Friday by making a playbook of all your desired deals.

Photo by Kaboompics.com from Pexels

While some of us might cringe at the consumerism of this spenders holiday directly after Thanksgiving, you can’t deny Black Friday deals are a real holiday-shopping game changer. If you’re the type to camp outside Best Buy Nov 29, a little prep hurts nobody.

It helps to have a plan so you don’t go hog-wild the night of. Make a budget and pull together a list of all the Black Friday deals before you head out for splurging. Better year, shop online and bookmark your favorite sites for easy access come shopping day. Your pocketbook will thank you.

8. Better yet, support local artisans by shopping at the Christkindlmarket.

Photo: @lovegallivanting

Target, Best Buy, and Amazon might have some great Black Friday deals, but where they can’t compete is with handmade gifts. The Christkindlmarket features tons of local artisans and one-of-a-kind gifts you’ll never find in any Black Friday deal. Plus, there’s amazing food, fun events, and delicious hot chocolate to enjoy!

9. Go ice skating at Maggie Daley Park.

Photo: @cle_chi

The ice ribbon at Maggie Daley Park recently opened and offers a unique skating experience. The ribbon loops over the rolling landscape in a circle and is twice the distance of a regular lap around a traditional skating rink. With the Chicago skyline in the background, guests can enjoy alpine skating in the middle of the city! Admission is free and ice skate rentals are available for $13-$15.

10. Celebrate two holidays at once by watching the Christmas tree lighting at Millenium Park.

Photo: @arteffect

We have to stop shaming people for wanting the best of both worlds when it comes to the holidays. No, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but what’s the harm in enjoying a little Christmas joy early? Let people enjoy things! Millennium Park’s Christmas Tree lighting is a great way to get a head start on holiday cheer. Head downtown Nov 22 to watch Chicago’s largest Christmas tree light up the night sky.


Feature photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash.

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