THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – 2021 Holiday Season Grand Opening!

Come One, Come All to the official start of the 2021 holiday season! 

Here in Chicago, this weekend before Thanksgiving, expect lots of festive fun as many of our traditional, annual events return live after being on hiatus last year!

On the Saturday before each Thanksgiving, the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave. between Wacker Dr. and Oak St.) turns into a winter wonderland to kick off Chicago’s holiday season. This year, the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival will once again grace Michigan Avenue with more than one million lights adorning 200 trees. But this is not the only attraction within this festival. This event-filled day begins at 11 a.m. with a festive thoroughfare of booths and family activities until 4 p.m. The grand tree-lighting parade starts at 5:30 p.m. featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as the Grand Marshals, fabulous floats, giant helium balloons, celebrities, and much more. As if this wasn’t enough, the festival draws to a grand conclusion with spectacular fireworks over the Chicago River (7 p.m.) at the DuSable Bridge!

Not a big fan of Black Friday? Avoid that mad rush at all costs? Well, this weekend brings not one but two shopping events for you:

Taking place in a tent on the north end of the Chase Promenade (east Randolph St. between Michigan Ave. and Columbus Dr.) this Saturday and Sunday, the Millennium Park Art Market will feature 30 local artists selling a variety of creative items which include jewelry, paintings, sculptures, pottery and more! In addition to the professional artists, this Market will also feature student artists from organizations such as After School Matters along with a café, pop-up programming, and a special visit each day from 1-3 p.m. by Dreezy Claus. Come support our local artists and avoid the Black Friday rush!

Shop local artists and makers while enjoying seasonal beers that include Holiday Bock and Glühkriek (warmed, spiced Kriek) at Dovetail Brewery’s (1800 W. Belle Plaine Ave.) Holiday Market this Sunday (1 p.m. – 5 p.m.) in the North Center neighborhood!

If you happened to have missed the ceremonial tree-lighting at The Wrigley Building Centennial Plaza this past Friday, you can still kick off the holiday season at the Lakeview Tree Lighting Ceremony on Sunday (6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) at St. Alphonsus Church (1429 W. Wellington Ave.). This ceremony will also include live performances, a special visit from Santa, free hot chocolate and coffee, and more!

Returning this Saturday (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.) to the Andersonville neighborhood is the Viking Pub Crawl for those not ready to kick off the holidays. Over 200 revelers clad in full Viking attire descend upon this neighborhood for their annual pub crawl inspired by the Swedish holiday St. Martin’s Day. Check-in begins at 2 p.m. at @mosphere (5355 N. Clark St.). Each ticket includes a lanyard for drink discounts at 14 participating bars and restaurants, a free appetizer at check-in and a commemorative Viking Pub Crawl beer glass which can be used during the event. There’s also a costume contest for best group and best individual Viking costume!  And, if you really want to lean into the Viking theme, nab one of the pub crawl’s cow horn-shaped drinking vessels!

Finally, here’s a link for Thanksgiving Day 2021 Chicago next Thursday! Gobble, Gobble!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago