PLEASE NOTE: Events may be postponed or simply canceled. Please call ahead to make sure they are still scheduled to take place.

1 Art in Memoriam

The National Museum of Mexican Art’s Día de los Muertos exhibition is always poignant, but this year speaks to a collective grief: It features works honoring those lost to COVID-19 in the United States and Mexico. Through Dec. 12.


‘Sister Act’
Photograph: Brett Beiner Photography

2 Get in the Habit

After what looked like a permanent closure in 2020, Mercury Theater Chicago reopens with a production of Sister Act, based on the Whoopi Goldberg movie about a lounge singer hiding out as a nun. Nov. 5–Jan. 2.


‘Florencia en el Amazonas’
Photograph: Lynne Lane/Houston Grand Opera

3 Opera En Español

Mexican composer Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, loosely inspired by the Gabriel García Márquez novel Love in the Time of Cholera, marks Lyric Opera’s first Spanish-language main stage production. Nov. 13–28.


Photograph: Jiyang Chen

4 Now and Next

MusicNOW, the CSO’s contemporary classical music series, opens its season with Homecoming, a program of works by young composers with local ties. Hear pieces by Ted Hearne, Nathalie Joachim, and Mead composer-in-residence Jessie Montgomery, as well as a world premiere commission by Elijah Daniel Smith. Nov. 1.


Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum
Photograph: Michael Hudson/Morton Arboretum

5 Neon Trees

You’ll have no trouble seeing the forest as Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum returns for a ninth year. Interactive lighting elements and seasonal music make the one-mile stroll a holiday delight. Nov. 20–Jan. 2.


Art by Andrea Bowers
Photograph: Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

6 Activist Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago stages the first retrospective of multidisciplinary artist Andrea Bowers, whose eclectic work engages forcefully with women’s rights, workers’ rights, climate justice, and other hot-button issues. Nov. 20–Mar. 27.

7 Hot to Trot

There’s no shortage of Thanksgiving-adjacent fun runs around the city and suburbs this month. But as course views go, it’s hard to beat the Grant Park Turkey Trot, with a 5K path that weaves through the city’s “front lawn” and a 10K extension that takes you through the Museum Campus on the Lakefront Trail. Nov. 27.

8 Makers’ Mark

Kick off your holiday shopping in hyperlocal fashion as the Chicago Artisan Market takes over the Artifact Events space, with small-batch sellers touting giftable foods, housewares, and more. Nov. 27–28.

9 Armed and Dangerous

Ten photographers turn their lenses on guns in American Epidemic: Guns in the United States at the Columbia College Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography. Through Feb. 20.

10 Gospel Great

Gospel and blues legend Mavis Staples, 82, plays Thalia Hall and FitzGerald’s. Nov. 19:; Nov. 20: