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Chicago Thanksgiving 2012 - Events and Things to Do

This year Thanksgiving is on Thursday, November 22


Check out our top picks for celebrating Thanksgiving in Chicago, including Thanksgiving related events in the Windy City throughout the month of November. Have a Thanksgiving event or Thanksgiving Day dinner you would like to list? E-mail the event's information to Chicago@aboutguide.com.

Looking for more things to do this November? Check out our November 2012 in Chicago Guide.

Suggested Reading: Christkindlmarket 2012 l Shedd Aquarium Holiday Events l Thanksgiving Recipes

1. McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade

This annual favorite that attracts almost a half a million spectators and starts off on State Street at 8:30 a.m. and includes marching bands, holiday-themed floats, and gigantic inflatable helium balloons (similar to what you see in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City). The route is State Street from Congress to Randolph. Can't make it out to the parade? No problem. WGN Channel 9 will broadcast the parade.

2. Morton Arboretum is Free on Thanksgiving

If your Thanksgiving Day plans include time outside for a walk, The Morton Arboretum has good news: On Thanksgiving Day, they are offering free admission for everyone. Admission is normally $10 for seniors; $11 for adults; and $8 for children 2-17. The arboretum has 16 miles of trails and nine miles of paved roads. On-site nature gems include Meadow Lake, evergreens, the Schulenburg Prairie and more. Hours on Thanksgiving, which is November 22, 2012, are 7 a.m. to sunset. The Morton Arboretum is located at 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, Illinois.

3. Turkey Trot 5K in Lincoln Park

The Life Time Turkey Day 5K (walk or run) will take place on Thanksgiving morning in Lincoln Park - Cannon Drive north of Fullerton. Cost is $30 or $40 race day ($20 if you are a Life Time member) and $12 for the Plymouth Rock Ramble (lids 2-12). Proceeds go to Greater Chicago Food Depository. Participants can also bring canned goods to the race to donate. (Tip: New to running and want to do a Turkey Trot? Check out our Running for Beginners Guide)

4. North Shore Turkey Trot

Start your Thanksgiving Day off with a 5K or 10K run or walk during the annual North Shore Turkey Trot in Highland Park, IL. Event kicks off at 7:30 a.m. and prices start at $35.

5. 30th Annual Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner at the Chicago Diner

Vegans and vegetarians will be glad to know that the Chicago Diner will be hosting a Vegan Thanksgiving. Seatings will be at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. Carry-out is also offered. The vegan menu is $37.99 per person ($22.99 for kids under 12). Menu includes a veggie turkey made out of tofu with stuffing and gravy, as well as a beefy wellington made out of marinated seitan and pumpkin ravioli. For reservations, call 773-835-6696 ext 305. (Suggested reading: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes.)

6. Thanksgiving Day Dining Options

Roasting a turkey and mashing potatoes may not be for everyone. If you want to leave the cooking to someone else, check out these Chicago restaurants that are hosting Thanksgiving Day dinners.

7. Christkindlmarket

Get in the holiday spirit early with the Christkindlmarket, which opens the day before Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 21. The Christkindlmarket is Chicago's largest open-air Christmas festival and includes European arts and crafts, as well as brats, spiced wine and other German specialties. The only downside to this year's market will be the city's Christmas tree. Due to budget cuts, the tree will be considerably smaller this year. Normally, the tree is comprised of several large Christmas trees. This year, it will just be one tree, at least that is what I have heard. The Christkindlmarket is open daily through December 24, 2012 at Chicago's Daley Plaza.

8. Catch a Thanksgiving Day NFL Football Game

NFL games are as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. This year's Thanksgiving Day features a heaping helping of intriguing matchups, starting with the Texans in Detroit, followed by the Redskins in Dallas and concluding with the Patriots at the Jets.

9. Thanksgiving Open House at Peet's Coffee

I have to admit, Peet's Coffee is one of my favorite coffee houses in Chicago. Great service. Organic coffees. Free WiFi. Heaven. (Tip: To get into the holiday spirit, try one of Peet's Peppermint Mocha lattes. I tried one yesterday. A mug full of yumminess. Godiva chocolate makes the drink rich and chocolaty with a hint of peppermint that isn't too overpowering. Whipped cream on top adds more creamy goodness.) On Saturday, November 17, Peet's is having a Thanksgiving Open House with coffee tastings, brewing demos and tips, music, and a special promotion - spend $25 or more and get a $5 gift card.

10. All-Star Thanksgiving Class at William-Sonoma

With Thanksgiving around the corner, get cooking tips and favorite Thanksgiving recipes during William-Sonoma's All-Star Thanksgving class on Sunday, November 18, from 2 to 6 p.m. Class is free but reservations are required. Call 312-587-808 to reserve a spot. William-Sonoma in Chicago is located at 900 N. Michigan Avenue.

11. Thankgiving Buffet at Drury Lane Theatre

Drury Lane is hosting a Thanksgiving Buffet on Thursday, November 22 from noon until 5 p.m. The buffet will include Chilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce, Smoked Gravlax with Cream Cheese, Bruschetta, Deviled Eggs, freshly baked Breads, Muffins, Spinach, Caesar and Crabmeat Salads, Meatballs with Marinara Sauce, Cheese Manicotti, Italian Sausage with Sweet Bell Peppers, Baked Norwegian Salmon, Crab Cakes, Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow Topping, Honey Glazed Acorn Squash, Homemade Country-Style Rigatoni, and Fresh Egg Fettuccini with Chef’s Choice of Sauce. Other items will include Slow-Roasted Turkey, Baked Virginia Ham with Honey Mustard, and Roast Leg of Lamb with trimmings including Traditional Herb Stuffing, Homemade Butter-Whipped Mashed Potatoes, and Turkey Gravy. The Thanksgiving Buffet is $30.95 per adult, $11.50 for children ages 6 – 12, $8 for children ages 3 – 5, and free for children 2 and under. Reservations are required by calling Drury Lane at 630-530-8300. Starters include
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