The Best Thanksgiving Events in the Chicago Suburbs

Nov 28, 2019

Celebrate at these heart-pumping post-Thanksgiving events, perfect for the entire family.


What’s better than post-dinner pie? A chance to get your blood pumping—and maybe burn off a few Turkey Day calories—by walking, running, strolling and snapping your way through some amazing, family-friendly events in the Chicago suburbs. They’re all happening on and around the big day, so prepare to pack up the family and enjoy!

North Shore Turkey Trot

Gather your flock on T-Day for a beautiful run through the North Shore. Choose between a 5k and a 10k course (both begin at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving), and run along the beautiful areas in Highland Park. They’ll take pictures of you in hi-res, which you’ll receive for free, along with a turkey-riffic swag bag containing a cozy zip-jacket in Thanksgiving colors. This is a huge community event – and it’ll give you the excuse you need to eat all the turkey and sides following the race.

Addison Park District Turkey Trot

Run, walk or trot this annual 5K on November 17th at Centennial Park. Predict your run time for the 3.10-mile race, and each man and woman who guesses the closest will win a meal kit containing a $25 gift card, a turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Fitness watches and timing gadgets aren’t allowed (stop cheating!).

Yorkville Chili Chase

This is exactly the type of run we like: a short 5k, followed by a hot bowl of chili. A portion of each registration fee (total $35) will benefit the American Cancer Society, and your registration fee includes a race shirt. The Chili Chase is on November 24, and you’ll be running or walking through the Heartland Subdivision.

Flying Turkey 5K

Run along the waterfront (simply ignore those lakeshore breezes) for this 5K on Thanksgiving Day. This is a run for the whole family, and awards will go to the top three overall men and women, along with the top three in 5-year age divisions. After the race, nosh on water, fruit and other refreshments. There’s a separate start time for walkers, so don’t worry if you’re not planning on sprinting this time. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Evanston Vineyard Food Pantry and Foundation 65.

North Pole Express

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a Thanksgiving event, but it’s happening two days after Thanksgiving – and since holiday decorations are already up . . . the North Pole Express will be departing from the Glenview Metra station on November 30th. On your route to Fox Lake and back again, you’ll sing holiday carols, do holiday crafts and visit with Santa.

Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Get your phones out: this is Insta-worthy. It’s a mile-long path lit up with golden lights and sounds, creating colorful ribbons of light. There will even be singing trees (a choir) as you wander through this magical experience. It opens November 22 and runs through January 5, starting at 4:30 with the final entry at 8 p.m.

Long Grove Turkey Trot

AKA Run for Donuts. On Thanksgiving Day, run 5k or 8k through Long Grove, and end the race with a complimentary beer or hot cider and locally made Apple Haus donut. You’ll also receive a Long Grove Turkey Trot hoodie to keep you warm as if you were a turkey in the oven.

Holiday Homecoming Lighting of the Lights

So they’re marketing this as a kick-off to the holiday season. But it’s from Nov 29 to Nov 30, so we’re putting it in the Thanksgiving category because we like to take our holidays one at a time. It kicks off on Black Friday at 5 p.m. with a Lighting of the Lights, followed by a parade on Saturday on Main Street. There will be holiday music and sleigh rides.

Light Up the Holidays Festival and Parade

Skip Black Friday and head to the Joliet Area Historical Museum, Joliet Public Library and other locations throughout Joliet for free family activities, free entertainment and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The highlight (for us, at least) is the Light Up the Holidays Parade on November 29th at 5:15 just after the tree lighting.

IHSA State Football Championships

Get off the couch and get into the bleachers to cheer on your favorite team during the state football championships at the NIU Huskie Stadium in DeKalb. There will be two days consisting of eight games 16 teams and thousands of fans from November 29-30.

There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.

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