Thanksgiving Weekend Things to Do in Chicago with Kids: Parades, Trees, Trolleys
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! This weekend is the official kickoff of the holiday season in Chicago, with Christmas tree lightings, parades galore, and plenty of seasonal fun. The big, booming Chicago Thanksgiving Parade steps off down the Mag Mile on Thursday, followed on Friday with neighborhood Christmas parades in Naperville and Joliet. On Friday, the lions at the Art Institute get their annual glow-up, followed by the weekly Friday night caroling party at Cloud Gate.
The FREE ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo light up on Friday night, and Holiday Magic at the Brookfield Zoo blazes to life on Saturday. Also on Saturday, the month-long Wheaton Christmas Festival kicks off, Naperville's Santa House opens for the season, and families can catch a FREE showing of Elf in Glen Ellyn.
Ready for some decked-out holiday trains and trolleys? The CTA runs its holiday trains and buses on Friday and Saturday on the Green Line, the Orange Line, and the #22 Clark and #97 Skokie bus routes—see the schedule for full details. The FREE Elmhurst Holly Trolley rolls through on Saturday with caroling all the way. Or book a ride on the Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour for a dazzling highlight reel of downtown Chicago's prettiest holiday displays.
And believe it or not, that's just the tip of the frosty festive iceberg—see our roundup below for even more weekend events for families, and keep an eye on our event calendar. Enjoy that turkey!