Three Alternative Ways to Spend Your Black Friday in Chicago

  |     |   Events, Neighborhood Guide, Outdoor Activities

Everyone knows that the day after Thanksgiving is reserved for an abnormal amount of coffee, standing around in lines longer than they should be, and excessively heavy shopping bags. The shopaholics dream made-up holiday, Black Friday has been bringing in crazy discounts and shopping deals since the 1950’s. Originally getting the name “Black Friday” because of the amount of pedestrians that would be getting a start on their holiday shopping immediately following turkey day, Black Friday has been continuing on as a consumer's spendiest day of the year, online and offline. 


However, as the years have gone on, times have changed. Shoppers are learning more and more about the environmental impacts their shopping experience can have. What it takes to make just one garment, one toy, one piece of technology, is leaving a lasting impact on shoppers everywhere. Some companies like REI, the outdoor clothing company, are deciding to shut their doors on this consumer holiday, rather than offer deals and sales. Asking people to “#OptOutside” and help participate in a day of service to cleaning up their community and spend time with friends and family. 

We know that the Mag Mile is one of the best places to do your Christmas shopping in the entire state of Illinois, but this Friday after Thanksgiving, try something new. Instead of shopping, create a new tradition of spending time with those you love exploring Chi-Town and kicking off your holiday season. Here are three alternative ways to spend your Black Friday, without spending all of your Thanksgiving weekend at North Bridge Mall. 

Zoo Lights

Take a walk through the Lincoln Park Zoo like you never have before. ZooLights is the merriest time of the year for all the animals and visitors alike at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Adorned with 2.5 million Christmas lights, the entirety of the Zoo sparkles and shines for everyone to see. This Black Friday marks the beginning of the season as the first day this light show is open. Free and open to the public, come see ZooLights from 4:30 – 9:00 pm. 


Join us this holiday season for the 24th annual Christkindlmarket right here in Chicago, IL! This year, the German and European inspired market is being held in the chilly streets of the Daley Plaza, but first made its appearance at the Pioneer Court in 1966. With handmade treasures, toys, and ornaments, this is a great place to do a little Christmas shopping and treat someone to a truly unique Christmas present. The day after Thanksgiving, the market is open from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm.

Skating Ribbon

Really get into the holiday spirit this Black Friday with a few laps around the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park. Lace-up your skates and speed your way through this changing landscape track, unlike any other ice rink you’ll ever go to! If skating is not your cup of tea, then enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and watch the professionals from the sidelines! Admission to the park is free, but there is a $15 fee to rent skates this black Friday. With weather permitting, the rink will be open from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm allowing you to skate all day! 

Whatever you choose to do this Thanksgiving weekend, and however you choose to spend your Black Friday, just make sure to spend it with your friends and family. Instead of shopping online and offline, the holiday season should be all about love, giving back, and spreading cheer. Chicago turns into a truly special place after turkey day, and we here at Aqua at Lakeshore East are blessed to be part of such a wonderful community. Happy Holidays everyone!

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