Chicago M arathon ( & 888/243-
3344 or 312/904-9800; www .chicago
marathon.com). Whether or not you or
your kids ar e runners, cheering on the
harriers is an uplifting experience.
Disney characters makes its way south
along M ichigan A venue, fr om O ak
Street to the Chicago Riv er, with holi-
day lights being illuminated block b y
block as the procession passes. Carolers,
elves, and minstr els appear with S anta
along the av enue thr oughout the day
and into the ev ening, and many of the
retailers ser ve hot chocolate and other
treats. Saturday before Thanksgiving.
Christmas Tree Lighting, Daley Cen-
ter P laza, in the Loop ( & 312/744-
3315 ). The switch is flipped on the day
after Thanksgiving, around dusk.
Zoo Lights Festival, Lincoln Park Zoo,
2200 N. Cannon D r. ( & 312/742-
2000 ). Color ful illuminated displays
brighten long nights during the holi-
days. Another special tradition is the
annual Caroling to the Animals, a day-
long songfest on a Saturday early in the
month. Late N ovember thr ough the
first week in January.
A Christmas Carol, Goodman Theatre,
170 N. D earborn S t. ( & 312/443-
3800; www.goodman-theatre.org). This
is both a seasonal fav orite and a Chi-
cago institution; it's been performed for
more than 2 decades. The sho w r uns
from ar ound Thanksgiving to the end
The Nutcracker, Joffrey Ballet of Chi-
cago, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Con-
gress Pkwy . The esteemed company
performs its Victorian-American twist
on this holiday classic. F or tickets,
call the J offrey office at & 312/739-
0120; www.joffrey.com, or Ticketmas-
ter ( & 312/559-1212 ). Theproduction
runs for 3 weeks from late November to
Sponsored b y LaS alle B ank, Chicago 's
marathon is a major event on the inter-
national long-distance r unning cir cuit,
with some of the world 's top r unners
competing. It begins and ends in Grant
Park, but can be viewed from any num-
ber of v antage points along the race
route. Second Sunday in October.
Spooky Zoo Spectacular, Lincoln Park
Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Dr. at Fullerton
Parkway ( & 312/742-2000; www .
lpzoo.com). D ress y our tots in their
Halloween finest for the fr ee treats that
are dispensed at v arious animal habi-
tats. Boz o the Clo wn—himself a Chi-
cago nativ e—kicks things off with a
parade thr ough the z oo gr ounds. Late
The Big Top, United Center, 1901 W.
Madison S t. ( & 312/455-4500 ); and
the Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim
Rd., R osemont ( & 847/635-6601 ).
This is the month that Ringling B ros.
and B arnum & B ailey comes to Chi-
cago to set up its tent. Tickets are avail-
able fr om Ticketmaster ( & 312/559-
1212 ). Throughout November.
State S treet Thanksgiving P arade
( & 312/781-5681 ) is an annual ev ent
that takes place on Thanksgiving morn-
ing beginning at 8:30am. The parade
marches up State Street, from Congress
Magnificent M ile Lights F estival
( & 312/642-3570; www.gnmaa.com).
Beginning at dusk, a color ful parade of