This is no time to go cold turkey: Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we’re starting to feel festive. Here are LUXE’s top tips on how to enjoy Thanksgiving in Chi-town, en famille, including where to find the best Parade viewpoint, how to enjoy the Turkey Day Run fun, and where to go for a slap-up meal. Enjoy, pumpkin...
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade (23 Nov), which kicks off at 8am on State Street and Congress Parkway, before heading north on State to Randolph Street. Nab a front-row spot on State Street (you’ll need to claim your position by 7am, at the latest, if you want a good view). Prefer to be far(ish) from the madding crowd? Settle in at State and Van Buren streets, near the Harold Washington Library. You can expect to be wowed by enormous balloons, brilliant marching bands, high falutin’ horses, festive floats, vibrant live entertainment, celebs and cameo performances from Ronald McDonald and Santa Claus.
Gobble, Gobble Gallop
Thanksgiving. It’s all about taking time to appreciate family and friends (or, most importantly, food). From giant, nut-stuffed birds and corn bread to cranberry jelly, green beans and – drum roll – perfect pumpkin pie, the holiday is a true celebration of calorific abandon.
This doesn’t have to mean post-gluttony guilt, though. The fit folks of Chi-town have the Turkey Day Run, the city’s longest-running Thanksgiving tradition, which sees thousands of sprinters, joggers and walkers work up a sweat the morning before the feast starts.
On 23 November, Lincoln Park will welcome ‘turkeys’ of all ages (and fitness levels). The Turkey Day Tailgate will be the hub of the action, where you can take part in pre- and post-race specials such as Corn Hole, Football Toss, Turkey Bowling and more. Naturally, this is thirsty work – sip on some warm apple cider while you’re at it. Don your best feathers, too – prizes will be awarded to the best dressed Thanksgiving-inspired group (of five or more registered participants).
In the spirit of the day, all participants are asked to bring a few canned goods to the race. These will then be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, in a bid to help ensure no Chicagoan goes hungry on Thanksgiving. So go on, jog down before you bib up!
Eat, Drink & Be Merry
Hit up Shaw’s Crab House for fun-for-the-fam seafood (including oysters on the half-shell) and a classic Turkey Day buffet, plus sinful puds. The buffet will be served from 11am until 8pm; it’s $75 per adult, and $20 for under-13s (excluding tax, drinks and tips).
For a smarter affair, try swish French bistro Cochon Volant, which excels at all-American family-style feasts starring dishes such as green-bean casserole, cheesy potato gratin, baked Brussels sprouts, roasted turkey and pumpkin pie.
For a take-out worth writing home about, nip to Parson’s Chicken for a whole fried Amish chicken, green chili cornbread, mashed potatoes, gravy, Thanksgiving elotes, and tomato- and bacon-braised green beans. Put your orders in the day before, then pick up your goodies between 10am and 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. Praise be.
McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade / 23 Nov / 8-11am / chicagofestivals.org
Turkey Trot / 23 Nov / from 9am / turkeyday-5k.com
Shaw’s Crab House / 21 E Hubbard St / +1 312 527 2722 / lunch & dinner daily / shawscrabhouse.com
Cochon Volant / 100 W Monroe St / +1 312 754 6560 / all day daily / cochonvolantchicago.com
Parson’s Chicken / 2952 W Armitage Ave / +1 773 384 3333 / lunch & dinner daily / parsonschickenandfish.com