During the holidays, this glittering city pulses with excitement. The Christkindlmarket turns Daley Plaza into a Old World town square, skaters pirouette at Millennium Park and shoppers cruise the Magnificent Mile.
What to do: Visit the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Ice skate at Millennium Park. Go to a holiday show (check HotTix for half-price tickets). Shop on the Magnificent Mile. See "Christmas Around the World'' at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Details: For more, see Chicago at Christmas.
During the holidays, Milwaukee's downtown lights up like a child's face on Christmas morning.
Events to catch: Nov. 30, Christmas in the Ward.
Details: For more, see Milwaukee at Christmas.
Once upon a time, people in Iowa's Amana Colonies lived simply. Now, people go there to indulge.
These tidy, once-communal villages in east-central Iowa, near Cedar Rapids, are famous for their family-style restaurants, wineries, brewery and shops. During the holiday season, tourists descend on the villages to buy gifts quilts, pottery, chocolates.
Events to catch: Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Prelude to Christmas.
There's always excitement in the air on and around Madison's State Street, but especially in November, when the holidays are on the horizon.
Where to shop: State Street has great museum gift shops, and Monroe Street,
which heads south from Camp Randall stadium, also has fun shops and
places to eat.
Nightlife: See a concert, play, ballet or touring show at the Overture Center on State Street.
Details: For more, see Shopping in Madison.
Early November is a dangerous time on the Great Lakes. In 1913, a storm called the White Hurricane killed 250 people and destroyed 19 ships between Nov. 7 and Nov. 10. In 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in near hurricane-force winds on Nov. 10.
Details: For more, see Gales of November.