5 Ways to Spend Thanksgiving in Chicago5 Ways to Spend Thanksgiving in Chicago

Thanksgiving is a beloved American holiday that comes with many fun traditions and celebrations. Whether you’re hosting this year or visiting your loved ones, it’s bound to be a great time. From good food to fun activities, the Windy City offers several different ways to enjoy the season with friends and family. Here are some of our favorite ways to spend this Thanksgiving in Chicago.

Run a turkey trot

Before eating turkey at the dinner table, many people enjoy running a turkey trot. Chicago offers a 5k and 8k fun run each Thanksgiving, where you can race along the Lakefront Trail. Both before and after the race, you can play corn-hole, football toss, and more. There is also apple cider available after the run, which you can sip while sporting your race day t-shirt and medal. Groups of 10 or more who register as a flock can even earn a turkey inspired gift for each of their members. 

Not a fan of running? You can still enjoy the fun by volunteering to help ensure the safety and fun of the race. Volunteers are awarded a branded beanie and can support a charity of their choice when signing up with a group. Pass out gift bags, line the course, and cheer on the runners to help put on this family-friendly event. 

See the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

This iconic celebration takes place every year, and features many different performers. Kids and adults alike will marvel at the floats, fire twirlers, and dancers. The official parade mascot, Teddy the Turkey, fills the sky as a giant balloon, along with other beloved characters. State Street floods with joy and laughter on Thanksgiving each year to provide unforgettable memories to your holiday morning. 

Santa finishes off the parade train, ready to wave in the Christmas season with a float of his own. The parade is usually televised, so that everyone can enjoy the talented performers and dazzling displays from the comfort of their homes as well. The parade takes place on State Street, from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph. When it comes to free holiday entertainment, there isn’t anything better than a festive fall parade.

Serve others

Thanksgiving is a very popular time to give to the less fortunate, and Chicago is up for the challenge. No matter what your favorite causes are, there is sure to be something you can do to support them in the Chicago area. 

Animal lovers can help out at the Anti-Cruelty Society by making toys, preparing snacks, or giving the shelter animals some love and attention. This is one organization that is perfect for the whole family to get involved with. If you’re looking to help feed those in need, Common Pantry allows volunteers to pack groceries and deliver them to elderly and homeless communities. There are many other organizations in the area, and finding one to support is a great way to spend the holiday. 

Eat delicious pie

Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without pie! Luckily, Chicago is known for its food scene, and pies are no exception. Once dinner is over, take a break from the kitchen and order some fresh baked pie from one of the best joints in the city. 

Beard & Belly is different everyday with a rotating menu, and it’s a great place to try multiple different flavors. Sold by the slice, you can share or mix and match to get a bit of everything. First Slice Pie Cafe is famous for their chocolate peanut butter pie, and their award-winning apple pie is a must-try. This is one of the best places to satisfy your sweet tooth on a day full of delicious foods. 

Shop for the upcoming holidays 

It’s no secret that soon after the pie is gone, people turn their attention to Christmas. Black Friday deals add to the sentiment, encouraging early gift shopping. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for your loved ones, Chicago has a great shopping environment with many options. 

If you’re looking to support small businesses, Chicago is home to a plethora of entrepreneurs. You can find many of them at the annual Christkindlmarkt, where you can find handmade gifts and treats. Vendors gather in person and online to provide an authentic holiday market experience. There are also several farmers markets that continue to run through November, helping you to find a thoughtful gift.

Of course, there are also plenty of traditional shopping options as well, from The Fashion Outlets of Chicago to the iconic Magnificent Mile, you can find anything on your list in the city. Be sure to check out the Macy’s holiday window display downtown, which they decorate according to a new theme for each year. Black Friday deals at these locations are sure to save you money and provide an exciting night of deal hunting.

Spending Thanksgiving in the city

This holiday season, there are so many ways to enjoy the spirit of Thanksgiving in Chicago. Whether you’re an aspiring athlete, philanthropist, shopaholic, or sweet tooth, there’s something for everyone in the city. 

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