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Free and Cheap Weekend Guide

Free and cheap things to do in Chicago this weekend: Nov. 16-18

Handcrafted ornaments, gifts and specialty Christmas items will be available for purchase at the annual Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington. | Ashlee Rezin/for Sun-Times Media/FILE PHOTO

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?

If you haven’t been feeling the holiday vibes, you will this weekend. The annual Christmas tree lighting happens Friday at Millennium Park, and the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is Saturday.

If you need to get some shopping done, Christkindlmarket opens this weekend and the Randolph Street Holiday Market promises plenty of goodies, too.

Christmas tree lighting at Millennium Park – Free

Chicago’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Millennium Park on Nov. 18, 2016. | Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times

What: It’s the 105th year of the tree lighting tradition. This year, a 60-foot Norway Spruce was donated by a family in Elmhurst. The tree is 48 years old and weighs 8,200 lbs., according to city officials.
When: Friday, 6 p.m.
Where: Millennium Park, at the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Washington St.

The Christkindlmarket – Free

Kevin Gomez of suburban Bolingbrook, Allison Paul of Logan Square and Jen Stiemke of Irving Park share drinks and laughs during the first day of Christkindlmarket last year in Daley Plaza. | David Matthews/For the Sun-Times

What: Browse all the beautiful handmade Christmas trinkets and grab a bite of German food at this annual favorite.
When: Opens Saturday until Dec. 24.
Where: Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St.

Randolph Street Holiday Market – $10

What: Get some holiday shopping done at this market packed with decorative objects, housewares, clothing, and unique gifts.
When: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: 1341 W. Randolph St.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival – Free

A helium-filled Rudolph balloon makes its way along Michigan Avenue during the 20th anniversary of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Saturday November 19, 2011 in Chicago’s loop. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

What: The festival starts in the morning with live music and activities for the whole family. It all leads up to the parade, which starts at 5 p.m., with grand marshals Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
When: Saturday at 11 a.m.
Where: Michigan Ave. and Oak St.

More Sun-Times Guides with things to do

Feel like exploring a new neighborhood this weekend? Check out “The Grid,” a series of Sun-Times neighborhood guides that have the scoop on where to eat, drink and shop. Or check out our guide to having fun in Chicago, which rounds up the hottest shows and events in the city.

Tell us about free and cheap things to do!

We’d love to hear about your suggestions for free and cheap things to do in Chicago. Email us at freeandcheap@suntimes.com and we may include your event in a future roundup.