Best time to view the Sunset in Chicago
Sunset during Winters: Chicago is known for its winter, which is extremely cold, dark, and very long. During winters, the sun usually goes down around 4:30 PM, making the city seem dark in less than an hour after sunset. That being said, the crisp and cold Midwestern winter offers clear air, which gives a dramatic and fiery look to the winter sunsets.
Sunset during Spring: Soon after the vernal equinox in spring, either on March 20th or 21st, the Chicago daylight hours start building. And by mid-April, the sun starts to set only around 7:30 PM. Throughout Chicago’s springtime, days in the city continue to stretch, and as June comes to a close, the sun doesn’t set in the city until about 8:30 PM.
Sunset during Summer and Fall: The number of daylight hours during summer starts declining immediately after the summer solstice. And during autumn in Chicago, the sun starts setting around 6:40 PM by the end of September, whereas, by November end, the sun sets at 5:45 PM.
Seasonal and weather Considerations Autumn and winters in Chicago offer cloudy skies, and between September until March, the overcast skies make viewing sunsets quite difficult. So, if you’re planning a visit during the cooler months, don’t be disappointed if grey skies are welcoming you. Spring and summer months boast clear skies, making it the perfect time to watch sunsets. And the reflections of the sunset from Lake Michigan just add a dramatic touch to the majestic sunset.
5 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Chicago
Spring1. Skydeck Chicago
Nestled on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago is a crowd-favourite spot to watch the sunset. On clear days, you can get glimpses of the neighbouring states, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. This popular tourist landmark is a great way to bid adieu to the day in style. This is an ideal activity for both kids and adults alike. You can take your kids to spend a fun evening or indulge in a romantic evening with your significant other.
But, if chasing sunsets is your motto, then make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the sun begins to set.
Address: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
Suggested duration: 1-2 hours
Hours: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM (daily)
Cost: Adults: 23 USD; Children: 15 USD; 3 and under: Free
Summer2. Lake Michigan
Chicago lies on the eastern side, making it tricky to view sunsets from most beaches that only offer spectacular sunrises. But it doesn’t mean there’s no way around it. You can rent a boat and get to the lake to capture the best sights of the sun setting behind the city skyscrapers. Also, there are several boat tours organized by companies that specialize in giving boat tours during sunset. But make sure to come early and grab a seat with the best vantage point as most of the tour companies don’t have an option to reserve seats.
Tour companies: Wendella Tours & Cruises, Chicago Sailboat Charters, and Odyssey Lake Michigan by Hornblower Cruises & Events
Autumn3. Chicago Botanic Garden
If you like evenings that seem endless during fall, Chicago Botanic Garden is the place to be. With contrasting colours and interesting shadow elements, this place makes it a great spot to watch and photograph sunsets. In the daytime, you can explore the diverse wildlife and enjoy the fall colours of oranges and deep reds, and as soon as evening closes in, enjoy the views of silhouetted fountains, trees, and plants by the forefront as the sun goes down.
Address: 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022
Suggested duration: 2-3 hours
Hours: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM (daily)
Winter4. Chicago 360
Chicago winters are notoriously cold. And one needs to be in a warm place to watch sunsets on a clear day. Located 1,000 feet above Magnificent Mile, Chicago 360 sits on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building that offers a warm place as you witness the sun going down. The enclosed-glass observatory tower has a tilting glass lookout and is open until 10:00 PM on some days, making it ideal to enjoy the winter nights and city lights from above. Along with this, this observatory tower also hosts special events for viewing sunrise and the sunset.
Address: 875 N Michigan Ave 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Suggested duration: 1-2 hours
Hours: Sun-Mon: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM; Thu: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM; Fri - Sat: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM (closed on Tue & Wed)
Throughout the Year5. The Lakefront Trail
No matter the year’s time, the Lakefront Trail is one of the most vibrant spots in Chicago. It offers fantastic views of the sunset year-round. Situated along the Lake Michigan shores, this 18-mile trail is one of the very few places in the city that offers everything. Be it art galleries, nature reserves, gardens, cycling and skateboarding trails, and boat harbours, whatever activity you choose to do out here, before or after the sunset, you can do it on the Lakefront Trail. This place boasts multiple areas where you can look west and witness the sun going down. You’ll also find photographers capturing the perfect shot of the sunset.
Address: 540 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611-3414Chicago is a city that offers glorious sunset views throughout the year. And when you’re waiting to view the sunset, you can explore the many impressive sights of Chicago, whereas, after witnessing the sun going down, you can relax and enjoy other offerings of the city.