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6 Things To Do If Celebrating Thanksgiving In Chicago

September 26, 2023 By CityPASS

If you plan to spend Thanksgiving in Chicago this year, you may be wondering what kind of fun you can get into on your trip. Well, you're in luck because there's so much you can see and do this holiday season in Chicago. Let's look at some of the excitement you and your family can have visiting Chicago on Thanksgiving weekend.

What Is Open on Thanksgiving in Chicago?

Although many businesses are closed on Thanksgiving Day, plenty of popular locations are open in Chicago. Most of the museums in the city are open on Thanksgiving.

Don't forget about the amazing restaurants open for Thanksgiving dinner in Chicago as well. Many businesses have a special menu, adding holiday staples such as green bean casserole, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, turkey, ham, and many more Thanksgiving favorites. Some grocery stores may also be open if you need to pick up some last-minute food for dinner.

Now, let's check out our list of attractions to visit in Chicago this Thanksgiving.

Six Can't-Miss Attractions During Thanksgiving in Chicago

Whether you're looking for something fun with the kids or a romantic getaway spot for couples, there will be something for everyone to do in Chicago this Thanksgiving. From Thanksgiving dinner to the beautifully lit Christmas Tree in Millenium Park, you'll surely find something magical this holiday season.

Here are six top Chicago Thanksgiving events you can't miss:

1. Watch the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Chicago's Thanksgiving Day Parade starts the holiday morning off with a colorful fleet of over 100 floats and performers. This parade began in the 1930s and is still a local treasure today. The parade begins at Ida B. Wells Drive and the route goes through State Street in the Loop and ends at Randolph.

You'll get a chance to see Teddy Turkey, the official parade mascot, leading the parade off, followed by many other characters, performers, and marching bands. This annual celebration is fun for the whole family.

2. See the Whole City From the 360 Chicago Observation Deck

Going to the 360 Chicago observation deck is a fun way to see the entire city. Rising around 1,000 feet above Michigan Ave., 360 Chicago is one of the most visited tourist places in the city.

You'll get to ride one of the fastest elevators in the United States up to the 94th-floor observation deck. The interactive exhibits allow you to explore the observation deck and learn about the surrounding areas. You can grab a drink and a bite at the cafe and bar if you'd like.

If you're feeling brave, try the thrill ride TILT. TILT allows riders to tilt out at an angle over the Magnificent Mile and experience the view from a heart-pounding position.

3. Eat Roasted Turkey at Drake Oak Brook's Thanksgiving Buffet

Suppose you don't feel like cooking and baking this year. Why not go to Drake Oak Brook's annual Thanksgiving Buffet? You can enjoy turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, grilled vegetables, a carving station with prime rib, a turkey with cranberry orange sauce, and bourbon and brown sugar fire-roasted ham at this Thanksgiving feast. They will also serve breakfast food if you prefer waffles or an omelet. You can also grab a piece of pumpkin chiffon pie or cheesecake for dessert.

4. Visit Chicago's Museum Campus

One of Chicago's most popular places, the Chicago Museum Campus is home to the world-renowned Adler Planetarium, The Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium.

Take the whole family and spend the day checking out stars and planets at the Adler Planetarium. Hop over to Shedd Aquarium, one of the biggest aquariums in the United States. You'll see beluga whales, penguins, sea otters, and more. Last but not least, you can learn about Egypt's ancient history and see one of America's most extensive mummy collections at the Field Museum.

5. Ride the Centennial Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a must-see location when you visit Chicago, and riding the iconic Centennial Ferris Wheel is a must. You can see a 360-degree view of the skyline and look down at the majestic Lake Michigan. Heaters are installed on the Ferris wheel, so even if it's a chilly fall night, you can comfortably enjoy the ride.

6. Enjoy Ice Skating at Millennium Park

One of the places open on Thanksgiving is Millennium Park. When the weather is colder, there are two free ice-skating spots in the park, and one popular rink is at the McCormick Tribune skating rink.

If you don't have your own ice skates, it's okay because ice skate rentals will be available. Show off your skating skills, enjoy the holiday lights sparkling and the Christmas tree glistening, and become a part of the holiday traditions that take place in Millennium Park each year.

Have the Most Memorable Thanksgiving in Chicago With CityPASS® Tickets

Planning to spend Thanksgiving in Chicago? With Chicago CityPASS® tickets, you can see the best attractions that the Windy City offers and save up to off the retail value. Grab your CityPASS® tickets today for an amazing Thanksgiving vacation.

Chicago Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Chicago, we recommend finding lodging near Chicago's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

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