Thanksgiving Activities in Illinois

Thanksgiving Activities in Illinois


Thanksgiving is a time when we express gratitude for the abundance of blessings in our lives; it is celebrated as a holiday and a chance to spend a memorable time with our loved ones. It is the perfect occasion to gather your friends, neighbors, and family at a place and share a delicious feast.

Thanksgiving is all about gathering and giving thanks for the good in life. Illinois offers many opportunities to enjoy the holiday season with pumpkin patches, fall festivals, turkey dinners, and local parades. 

In this blog post, we’ll let you know some places in Illinois to celebrate Thanksgiving and the most exciting, entertaining, and fun things to do with family. 

The Best Places To Celebrate Thanksgiving in Illinois:

1- Chicago:

Chicago is a dynamic hub for Thanksgiving festivals. It offers a variety of events, including the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Christmas tree lighting in Millennium Park, with gawking cartoon balloons rising in the air.

Families can enjoy diverse dining experiences at renowned restaurants such as Palmer House Hilton. Enjoy your festival in the heart of Illinois with classic dishes, cultural attractions, holiday markets, a Santa and reindeer cruise, and a vibrant cityscape.

2- Bishop Hill:

Bishop Hill is a small historic village that offers an ideal destination for a peaceful Thanksgiving celebration. It is the best vacation destination with Julmarkand Christmas Market, stores with hand-made items, special sales and discounts on a variety of goods, and characters of Swedish folklore.

Take part in the Holiday Cookie Walk and enjoy the freshly baked cookies from local families.

3- Alton:

Alton is situated along the Mississippi River and offers beautiful scenes, natural trails, waterfront dining areas, themed events, seasonal dishes, and riverboat cruises. Take part in the early morning 2-mile or 10-mile Great River Road Run.

Enjoy the Christmas Wonderland Rock Spring Parks and make memories with four million twinkling lights, rainbow colors, and jingle bells ringing. 

4- Galva:

Galva, a small town, gives a community a warm spirit. Enjoy Thanksgiving meals, cultural offerings, and community events at the traditional American holiday. Galva is a place for Ol’ Fashion Christmas that annually offers dance, music, and theater.

Galva also offers a Mini-Tree Festival at the Art Council’s Building, decorated with wreaths and trees; enjoy delicious communal meals, drinks, and desserts.

5- Rockford:

Rockford offers scenic beauty, charming destinations, parks with autumn colors, festivals, events, and attractions in Rockford. Take part in the annual festival at State Street, offering marching bands, dancers, floats, and Santa Claus Workshops. Shop and get discounts at the Black Friday Sale in local stores.

6- Champaign:

Champaign, the University Town, offers celebrations and cultural events. Enjoy Thanksgiving meals at diverse restaurants, explore the university campus, and take part in holiday-themed events. Check out the Seasons of Lights at the Planetarium, start your Friday with the Christie Clinic Annual Parade, and visit the Kris Kringle Kid’s Scavenger Hunt to take a round of the town in horse-drawn carriages.

7- Effingham:

Effingham provides the celebrations for Thanksgiving and provides the chance to celebrate the festival with a spirit, Thanksgiving meals, and exploring the historical landmarks. Take part in the Effingham Turkey Trot at the Effingham Performance Center and enjoy the Hometown Holiday Show at Johnny and June. Sign up for a city tour and view historic scenes with Heritage and Holly Tour.

8- Aurora:

Aurora provides a family-friendly atmosphere for Thanksgiving, shopping, and historic Downtown. Enjoy the holiday events at Paramount Theater and have cultural experiences and family-fun activities. At the Thanksgiving Farm Festival, watch the turkeys stroll by you, farm animals in their cages. Have a lot of fun at the corn maze, find the way, take part in candle making, and eat Thanksgiving Brunch at the Hound Blue Moon with a pasta dish.

9- Peoria:

Peoriasa is situated along the Illinois River and offers a scenic backdrop, beautiful views, and dining options. It provides a blend of natural beauty and cultural offerings. Enjoy delicious meals at a variety of restaurants, including the most famous Dave’s Buffet and Jim’s Steak House. Get tickets for the weekend Comedy Explosion and enjoy the best acts. The Chocolate Turkey Race is a 33-mile run for great swag.

Family-Friendly Thanksgiving Activities in Illinois:

The crisp autumn air, roast turkey, and vibrant fall hues are signs of the Thanksgiving Festival. The Heartland of America, Illinois, offers many Thanksgiving activities for this tradition; let’s explore together and make the Thanksgiving festival extra special;  

1- Lincoln Log Cabin:

Travel back in the 19th century with the historic Lincoln Log Cabin in Charleston, Illinois. Take a guided tour to learn how the ancient people prepared Thanksgiving dinner without modern kitchen facilities and how they celebrated the holidays.

2-  Starved Rock State Park:

Explore the fall colors at Starved Rock State Park, a natural wonder that attracts visitors. The park is transformed with the changing leaves during Thanksgiving and offers a stunning display. Hike through the 13 miles of trails and enjoy the beauty of Illinois. Stay at the Lodge for cozy and rustic scenic views.

3- Thanksgiving Parade:

Thanksgiving Activities in Illinois: Chicago Thanksgiving Parade
Thanksgiving Activities in Illinois: Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Attend the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade in Downtown Chicago, an annual tradition from 1934 featuring floats, giant balloons, marching bands, and performances. Choose a spot along the Magnificent Mile and enjoy a cherished tradition. Start the holiday season with creativity and community spirit.

4- Signature Room at the 95th:

Dine on Thanksgiving meal at the Signature Room at the 95th and have a gourmet dinner experience. It is a fine dining restaurant that offers a feast with breathtaking views of Chicago’s skyline. Enjoy a menu including roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Make sure to make a reservation in advance.

5- Christkidlmarket:

Christkindlmarket is a popular destination during the holiday season, inspired by the traditional German Christmas Market. It is a festive market during holidays featuring vendors selling crafts, hand-made items, ornaments, and holiday treats like bratwursts, pretzels, and hot cocoa. Explore the market with your family, enjoy food, and find gifts for your loved ones.

6- Turkey Trot Tradition:

Burn your calories with a family-friendly Turkey Trot tradition across Illinois. This festival is organized for a festive run and welcomes participants of all ages for a leisurely walk or brisk run. The Turkey Trot adds a healthy element to your Thanksgiving morning.

7- Farms And Orchards In Illinois:

At Thanksgiving, take your family to a local pumpkin patch to enjoy the sight of orange pumpkins in a picturesque setting. Enjoy hayride corn mazes, and let your little ones pick the pumpkins of their choice. It’s a memorable outing, made lasting memories with the stunning backdrop of autumn’s beauty.

8- Community Centers and Volunteers:

Illinois offers lots of opportunities for families to express their joy and gratitude. Join local community centers, food banks, soup kitchens, or homeless shelters and provide help to prepare and distribute meals to the needy. It’s a powerful way to teach your children the importance of giving and developing a sense of responsibility in the community. Take part in community clean-up events or visit nursing homes to spend time with older people.

9- Cooking Classes For Kids:

Thanksgiving Activities in Illinois
Thanksgiving Activities in Illinois: Cooking Classes for Kids

As Thanksgiving is all about Food, engage your little one in the art of fun Thanksgiving cooking. Make creative and traditional recipes with them and spend quality time with your kids. Many cooking schools and stores in Illinois offer Thanksgiving cooking classes, especially for kids. They can learn to roast turkey, make stuffing, bake pies, or make cranberry sauce with the help of elders. These cooking classes are informative and fun-filled. Kids can learn tips and tricks from experienced chefs.

10- Craft Stores:

Visit local craft stores to pick the perfect gift for your family and buy items for home decorations. You can also find supplies or materials to create any DIY project, handmade cards, or Thanksgiving decorations for your home or friends. It’s a beautiful way to spend the holiday with homemade charm.

11- Family Movie Night:

After the feast and Turkey meal, gather your family for a tremendous & cozy movie night. Choose films with a Thanksgiving theme so your kids learn the messages of gratitude. You can watch classic movies like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” or “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”

12- Visit Historical Sites:

For a unique experience, visit historical sites such as New Salem State Historic Site in Springfield. It’s an educational way to connect your kids with the roots of the Thanksgiving tradition.

13- Neighborhood Feast:

Organize a neighborhood feast, make dishes, share with others, and create a positive community celebration. It creates a sense of unity and strength and turns your neighbors into extended family.

14- Nature Walks:

Thanksgiving Activities in Illinois
Thanksgiving Activities in Illinois: Rock State Park Utica

Explore nature and enjoy the cool weather, spend time at natural trails, and walk with your family. Take a stroll through the forests; the Moraine Hills State Park in McHenry County is a great place to start. Enjoy trails, fishing, and picnics here. Starved Rock State Park in Utica also offers beautiful trails and stunning views of 13 canyons.

15- Board Game Night:

Thanksgiving is a great time to make a strong bond with family and friends over board games. Illinois has various cafes offering exciting board games, including Bonus Round Game Cafe in Chicago, Pieces Board Game Bar and Cafe in St. Louis, and Red Raccoon Games in Bloomington.

16- Bus Tour:

Take a Bus Tour of the city to explore the architectural marvels, historical sites, and festive decorations. This amazing experience allows you to tailor your journey, hopping off at points of your interest and spend great time there

17- Christmas Tree Lighting:

Join the Chicago’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Millennium Park, where the city’s majestic Christmas tree takes center stage. The ceremony is the official start of the holiday season and makes your moment cherished.

18- Zoo Lights:

For a family-friendly adventure, visit the Lincoln Park Zoo for the annual Zoo Lights event. Enjoy the dazzling light displays, animated light shows, and festive decorations that transform the zoo into a wonderland.

Other Things to do on Thanksgiving with your family and kids:

  • Cook a Thanksgiving meal Together.
  • Create a Gratitude jar. Each family member writes and reads aloud things they are thankful for during the meal.
  • Engage in Thanksgiving-themed crafts like making handprint turkeys, pilgrim hats, and autumn decorations.
  • You can play football with your kids in the backyard. It’s a great way to burn calories and have fun.
  • You can walk with your seniors and respectful family members and spend quality time with them.
  • You can read stories about the history of Thanksgiving with your kids.
  • Bake-decorated cookies are also a fun activity that makes your kids creative. And give them a chance to prove their creativity.
  • Creste’s list of autumn-themed items for a scavenger hunt in your backyard or nearby park.
  • You can save the memories of your family by taking family photos.
  • If some family members can’t attend, arrange a virtual Thanksgiving celebration.
  • Let the kids create their own Thanksgiving centerpieces for the dinner table.
  • If weather permits, end the day with a small backyard campfire and make more memories together.

What is the Thanksgiving Weekend holiday?

Thanksgiving Weekend is a time when people celebrate the holidays that are known as Thanksgiving. It usually starts on Thursday in late November and lasts through the weekend. People gather with families and friends to share a special meal and express gratitude for the good things in their lives. It is the time for reflection, giving thanks to their loved ones, enjoying time together, and making some memories together.

Which type of restaurant can you choose for dinner with your family on Thanksgiving?

If you want to make a dinner special for your family and friends and make some extra effort to make them special this Thanksgiving, booking a specific restaurant for dinner is a great idea. So, when you are busy choosing some restaurants for Thanksgiving dinner, you can consider the following types of restaurants to make your dinner extra special for your loved ones that are as follows:

  • Traditional Restaurants
  • Hotel Restaurants
  • Fine Dining Establishments
  • Buffets
  • Family-friendly restaurants
  • Local Favorites
  • Steakhouse Restaurants
  • Ethnic Cuisine Restaurants
  • Waterfront or Scenic View Restaurants

Thanksgiving is a time to gather and celebrate little things in life. There are so many activities and events held to celebrate this family festival, and it provides a chance to make lasting memories. Illinois offers Thanksgiving Giving Day Parade and much more to enjoy with your loved one.

To get to the parade venue or your favorite restaurant, you need a reliable transportation service to get you to your desired location safely and within your budget. You can use public transportation, taxis, or private car services. There are a lot of Taxi alternative services that provide affordable rides from your doorstep to your desired destination.

You can book these for Hourly/ Full-day service, Point-to-Point services, or multiple-stop services. If you want to travel more luxuriously, book with any reliable Black Car & Limo Service to make your travel even more memorable and comfortable. You can book Sedans, SUVs, and Stretch Limos to get your location in style with a professional chauffeur.

If you are traveling with kids, you can ask for car seat service limo or car service as well. For larger groups, these services also offer Sprinter Vans, Party Buses, and Motor Coaches. Thanksgiving in Illinois is a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday with family, gather memories, explore historic sites and natural wonders, participate in parades, and enjoy!

Book Online Today And Travel In Comfort On Your Next Trip

Call Us On (800) 967 9416 or Email [email protected]