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We’ve made it to the beginning of the ’ember months of this year and that in itself deserve some back patting and praise giving. Although most of our days/weeks/months for many of us, the ones non-essentially gallivanting around the world like there’s no pandemic, has felt like GD Groundhog day, we hope the sights and sounds of all things holidays gives us a much needed mood boost. For those of you looking for some in-person experiences this month or still not ready to “go outside” we’ve curated a list of virtual and in person things to do to keep you our dear discerning readers occupied and looking forward to the Holidays. From philanthropic fundraising virtual galas, online cook along, days/night out at our civic institutions, and more. These are the best things to do virtual and in person in Chicago and elsewhere this month of November 2020.
WHAT :: Union League Chicago Boys & Girls Club Inspirational Heroes Gala
WHERE :: VIRTUAL
WHEN :: Saturday, November 7, 2020 | 6:00pm – 9:00pm
WHY:: Join us for our virtual Inspirational Heroes Gala a fun evening where we will honor our Heroes of 2020 and raise funds to support our vital programming and services for our 15,000 Club youth! Enjoy a delicious three-course meal prepared by Chef Michael Ponzio of the Union League Club of Chicago, drinks and the chance to take part in our on-line silent auction and Fund the Mission campaign, all from the comfort of your home.
COST ::Event Link Only Ticket/$100; Beverage-Only Package (for two)/$175; Virtual Table of 10/$1,850; Food & Beverage Package (for two)/$400. Sponsorship and donations encouraged Click here for more info
WHAT :: American India Foundation (AIF) Chicago 2020 Virtual Gala
WHERE :: VIRTUAL
WHEN :: Saturday November 7, 2020 | 6pm CST
WHY:: The 2020 version of the AIF annual gala will be held online though organizers promise a fab time nonetheless where the Leadership in Philanthropy award will be presented to Masha Sajdeh. Gala chairs are: Varsha and Ashish Kaura, Mukta and Kailash Purohit, Abhinav Anand and Hitika Tanwar and Savi and Ravi Simhambhatla. Joining presenting sponsor TransUnion for the AIF gala are Reena and Harit Talwar of Goldman Sachs as Diamond Angel sponsors.
COST :: Complimentary Click here for more info
WHAT :: Chicago Urban League’s Golden Fellowship Dinner
WHERE :: VIRTUAL LIVE STREAM
WHEN :: Saturday November 7, 2020 | 6:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. CST
WHY:: The Chicago Urban League’s annual major fundraising event is going virtual this year. Enjoy live performances by three artists with Chicago roots: Grammy Award-winning rapper Common, Grammy Award-winner R&B group The Emotions, and Stellar Award-winning gospel musician Jonathan McReynolds.
COST :: Registration for this event is free but donations encouraged. Click here for more info
WHAT :: Naadam Opens Chicago Pop-Up
WHERE :: 66 E Walton Street, Chicago, IL
WHEN :: Friday, October 23 – Thursday, December 31 | Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12-6pm
WHY:: Sustainable luxury cashmere brand Naadam has launched a Chicago Pop-Up that will go through the Holidays. Guests will be able to browse and shop from a selection of their best-selling luxurious, cozy cashmere sweaters, tees, men’s and women’s ready-to-wear.
COST :: Free to attend Click here for more info
WHAT :: Paul Kahan x All-Clad Meal Kit & Giveaway
WHERE :: VIRTUAL
WHEN :: Live Cooking Demo on Thursday, November 12th at 6:30 pm; Pick up meal kits at Avec on Wednesday, November 11 and Thursday, November 12, 2020 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
WHY:: One Off Hospitality’s Paul Kahan is partnering with kitchenware maker All Clad for a chance to win their coveted D5 Stainless Steel 10 Piece Cookware Set. In order to be entered, you have to order a Paul Kahan x All-Clad Meal Kit from avec for pick-up on November 11th or November 12th between 4-5:30 pm. Each meal kit which will receive a gifted 7.5-inch All-Clad Stainless Steel French Skillet will feature a five-course dinner for two, with wine selections from Paul and One Off Creative Culinary Director Perry Hendrix as add-ons. Four items within the meal will require minimal assembly & reheating while the fifth invites you to cook alongside Paul on his Instagram account.
COST :: $125 per ticket Click here for more info
WHAT :: Lightscape Preview
WHERE :: Chicago Botanic Garden
WHEN :: Thursday, November 12 (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
WHY:: The Woman’s Board, Board of Directors, and Guild of the Chicago Botanic Garden have planned an exclusive first look at Lightscape, the holiday event that sold out in its debut season. The enchanting, after-dark, illuminated trail will include an all-new path filled with favorite artistic installations, such as the Cathedral of Light, along with many new features to surprise and delight the senses created by local artists for a world-class event. Attendees will enjoy trailside hot bites and seasonal drinks as they leisurely stroll the mile-long trail with family and friends.
COST :: Ticket price and entry times vary Click here for more info
WHAT :: Metropolitan Family Services at Mpower the Night 2020
WHERE :: Virtual
WHEN :: Thursday November 12, 2020 | 4:30-6:00PM CST
WHY:: Celebrate the culmination of 2020 for Metropolitan Family Services at Mpower the Night, an engaging evening to empower and support our neighbors. Northern Trust will be honoured with the Legacy Award, to be accepted by Michael G. O’Grady, Chairman, President and CEO of Northern Trust. Mpower the Night will feature a unique and important dialogue, exploring the realities of violence prevention and the reasons to feel hopeful about peace in Chicago. We’ll hear from those directly involved in the conflicts our city faces about what is needed to establish and maintain peace.
COST :: Registration is FREE; Donations highly accepted Click here for more info
WHAT :: 8th Annual Brushes with Cancer Chicago
WHERE :: VIRTUAL
WHEN :: Saturday, November 14 | 7 p.m
WHY:: International non-profit organization, Twist Out Cancer which provides psychosocial support to individuals touched by cancer through creative arts programming will host a virtual ‘Brushes With Cancer’ event this fall. Brushes with Cancer is a unique celebration that pairs accomplished artists with “Inspirations” – people who are previvors, survivors, fighters, and caregivers affected by cancer. The 2020 program in Chicago features 28 Inspirations and 27 Artists. In addition to seeing the artwork created for this year’s Inspirations and learning the stories behind them, several speakers will also be taking part in the live event
COST :: General admission tickets/$75, Virtual Premier Tickets/$100, and Virtual VIP Tickets/$150. Click here for more info
WHAT :: Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival!
WHERE :: VIRTUAL
WHEN :: November 6-30
WHY:: The festival usually held over the summer has been retooled due to the current COVID-19 climate but even though we can’t all meet in person to watch and discuss, there are still over 50 carefully curated indie films to watch at the 26th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival. Opening night festivities on November, 6 MCeed by Leanne Trotter kicks off the monthlong virtual fest. Highlights for this year’s Black Harvest Film Festival includes “The Outside Story” starring Atlanta’s Bryan Tyree Henry; The Richard and Ellen Sandor Black Harvest Film Festival Prize Presentation on November 13; Closing night tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman with the screening of Kill Hole, his first starring feature film role; Presentation of the Black Harvest Film Festival Legacy Award to Jacqueline Stewart the University of Chicago professor of cinema studies and director of the nonprofit arts organization, Black Cinema House as well as host of the Turner Classic Movies’ weekly programming series “Silent Sunday Nights,” and so much more.
COST :: Feature films and shorts: $10 ($5 for members) | Black Harvest Film Festival Unlimited Pass: $100 | Black Harvest Film Festival Seven-Film Pass: $50 ($30 for members). Click here for more info
WHAT :: Chicago Botanic Garden Lightscape 2020
WHERE :: Chicago Botanic Garden |
WHEN :: Friday, November 13, to Sunday, January 3, 2021 | Select Nights 4:30 to 10 p.m.
WHY:: The light spectacle in partnership with Sony Music, creatively produced by Culture Creative that sold out in its debut year in 2019, is back and a perfect way to enjoy a social distanced holiday event. Along a mile-long path, the night will come alive with color, imagination and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees, new delights from Chicago-based artists, captivating favorites from international artists, to a spectacular Cathedral of Light. This year’s trail has also been designed with modifications to keep visitor safety in mind. New procedures include limited capacity per timeslot, a one-way trail with a separate entrance and exit, and keeping the entire event outdoors.
COST :: Varies Click here for more info
WHAT :: An Evening in Marfa
WHERE :: Virtual Experience
WHEN :: Thursday November 12 | 7pm EST
WHY:: Join celebrated international photographer Douglas Friedman in conversation with The Capri restaurant’s beloved restaurant in Marfa, TX chef Rocky Barnette and proprietor, James Beard award winning author Shane Mitchell and philanthropist Virginia Lebermann as they go deep on the development of Cooking in Marfa: Welcome We’ve Been Expecting You. This is a unique community told through the lens of food, sharing the cuisine and characters that make The Capri a destination unto itself.
COST :: Member Cost/$60.00 Includes Book | Non-Member Cost/$65.00 Includes Book | Livestream Only/$10 Click here for more info
WHAT :: Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
WHERE :: Museum of Science and Industry Chicago |
WHEN :: Friday, November 13 and will run through Sunday, January 3, 2021.
WHY:: What began with just a single tree back in 1942 is now one of The Museum of Science and Industry and Chicago beloved annual holiday celebration that features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of 40 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof and helps you create your own traditions with loved ones.
COST :: Included with Museum Entry; Adult tickets/$21.95 | Children Ages 3-11/$12.95 Click here for more info
WHAT :: Orgain x Thaddeus Young Virtual Immunity Up! Pledge Kick-off
WHERE :: VIRTUAL (Facebook Live!)
WHEN :: November 16 | 5-6 pm PST
WHY:: This winter, more than ever, optimizing your immune health is vital. Clean nutrition products company Orgain is giving away 30,000 samples of its Organic Protein & Superfoods Protein Powder, which includes 50 organic superfoods, organic plant-based protein, iron and vitamin B6.
COST :: Free. Click here for more info
WHAT :: ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ
WHERE :: Lincoln Park Zoo |
WHEN :: November 21–January 3 | 4 to 10 p.m
WHY:: Just like many of the things we enjoyed BC (Before Corona), they are returning but just in a bit of a different manner, though the vibes should still be there. Case in point is Chicago’s holiday favorite ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ at Lincoln Park Zoo. The formerly free event, save for special activity nights, will now require attendees to book ahead and charge a nominal ticket price. “Despite the loss of revenue this year brought on by the pandemic, we couldn’t fathom a Chicago winter without the joy of ZooLights,” said Zoo Director Megan Ross, Ph.D. In addition to the dazzling lights at ZooLights, guests can partake in several special activities and paid experiences throughout the season both at home and at the zoo: Free Members-Only Nights (Nov. 20 and Dec. 1), Virtual ZooLights Challenge (beginning Nov. 27), Adults Night Out: Holidaze! (Dec. 10), Chris White Trio Tribute to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (Dec. 13), Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ and Snowy’s Spirits & S’more pop-up bar.
COST :: $5 per person. Click here for more info
WHAT :: Rudolph’s Rooftop at Londonhouse Hotel Chicago
WHERE :: Londonhouse Hotel Chicago (85 E. Upper Wacker Dr.) | 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
WHEN :: Now open through Sunday, January 3
WHY:: This winter, luxury lifestyle hotel LondonHouse Chicago invites locals and visitors to welcome the holiday season with its first-ever Rudolph’s Rooftop experience atop the hotel’s famed 22nd level terrace, LH Rooftop. Guests can enjoy a whimsical winter wonderland of unmatched panoramic city views while surrounded with imaginative holiday décor and festive photo ops for capturing the moment. New this year, LH Rooftop invites guests to cozy up in one of its outdoor igloos or enjoy refreshing drinks from the Ice Bar.
COST :: Igloo reservations ([email protected]) can be made beginning November 10 for $500 per group for up to six guests. Click here for more info
WHAT :: MCA Chicago Exhibitions
WHERE :: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago | 200 E. Chicago Avenue
WHEN :: Friday Oct 30, 2020, 7–9 pm CST
WHY:: There are two exciting exhibitions coming to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago that you must check out this November or before its run ends. The first is The Long Dream (–, named after the 1958 novel by socially committed author Richard Wright, inviting visitors to see the city of Chicago, the world, and themselves, through the eyes of more than 70 emerging and established Chicago artists whose work offers us ways to imagine a more equitable and interconnected world against the backdrop of a global pandemic and a renewed reckoning over racial justice and inequality. The exhibition extends beyond the gallery walls into the digital space, culminating in a live arts event in January where artists from across the exhibition will share their work. The other exhibit is Alien VS Citizen (Jul 17, 2020–Feb 21, 2021) which explores and in ways makes us think about the way a person’s value is determined in the United States, through mechanisms including citizenship, work, and personal relationships. Inspired by conversations about the visas awarded to “aliens of extraordinary ability” and other merit-based immigration policies, Alien vs. Citizen considers how an individual’s value is understood in relationship to community. Not into going outside quite yet, you can check out the virtual Talk: Nick Cave and Friends (November 17).
COST :: $Varies. Click here for more info
Featured image credit: Pedro Lastra @peterlaster
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