7 Ideas for Family Thanksgiving Fun in Chicago

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to spend some extra special quality time with the family. Gather the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins if possible and plan something fun in the city, or enjoy some time with just yourself and the kids with these fun ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago. 

1. Do a Puzzle

Before turkey day, head to the thrift shops and go on a family scavenger hunt to find a Thanksgiving, fall, or harvest-themed puzzle. It makes for a fun (and cheap!) family outing, in addition to the hours of fun you’ll have putting the puzzle together at home! On Thanksgiving Day you could make some tea, hot chocolate, or cider, gather the family around the table, throw the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the TV to share in the festivities elsewhere, and enjoy your cozy little family time at home!

2. Go on a tour of holidays around the world

From November 15 – January 6, you and the family can go to the Museum of Science & Industry and enjoy more than 50 trees that are decorated to represent different cultures from all around the world. It’s closed on Thanksgiving Day, but would make a great family adventure for the day before Thanksgiving to get in the holiday spirit, or over the Thanksgiving weekend to continue the fun family time festivities!

3. Watch a Dr. Seuss musical

Celebrate Thanksgiving weekend and get in the mood for Christmas from November 16 – 25 at The Chicago Theater with a live musical production of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, great for the whole family. 

4. Go Ice Skating at Millennium Park

Join in the fall festivities with your fellow Chicagoans with some free ice skating at Millennium Park. Take a fun family photo or two at the Bean, then lace up your skates for some laps with the kids. Admission to the rink is free, and skate rental is available for $13-15. If the little ones get cold, treat yourselves to a family hot chocolate excursion afterward!

5. Watch the parade

The beloved free Thanksgiving Parade will make its way north on State Street, from Congress to Randolph, starting at 8a on Thanksgiving Day. Bring your little ones to enjoy the music from the talented marching bands, marvel at the floats, and enjoy the giant inflated balloons. Everyone loves a good Thanksgiving Parade!

6. Visit the arboretum for free

After the parade on Thanksgiving Day, you can head on over to the Morton Arboretum and take the whole family in for free. The buildings and children’s garden will be closed but the trees will be waiting to greet you in all their splendor, with plenty of walking paths ready to help you work up an appetite for Thanksgiving dinner or help you burn off some of those candied yam calories afterward!

7. Go to a Turkey Trot

Another way to get the blood pumping is to go for a Thanksgiving run/walk, and there are several to choose from in the greater Chicago area. On Thanksgiving Day, Lincoln Park will host the Turkey Trot Chicago with 5K and 8K runs, and a kids’ ramble for kids aged 2-12. Another option, if you’ll be busy on Thanksgiving Day itself, is Grant Park’s Turkey Trot on Saturday, with a 5k race and kids’ dash. 

However you decide to celebrate the holiday weekend with your family, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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