What is the best time to visit Chicago?

The most popular time, weather-wise, to visit Chicago spans through April and June when the spring season makes its entry after a chilling winter season. Another popular time to visit Chicago is between September and November when the fall season is at its peak, and the temperature is perfect for outdoor activities. During these times of the year, you will also find a plethora of cultural events and local festivals in the city. In general, summertime (from June to August) is more popular among tourists to visit Chicago than winters (November to March). However, the boarding and lodging rates can be very steep in the summertime, and tourists may find great discounts on hotels during the winter season.

Weather in Chicago


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Monthly Weather in Chicago

Month High/Low (°C) Rain
January 2°/ -4° 3 days
February 1°/ -6° 5 days
March 8°/ 0° 7 days
April 11°/ 2° 7 days
May 17°/ 8° 18 days
June 22°/ 14° 13 days
July 28°/ 20° 14 days
August 26°/ 19° 12 days
September 24°/ 17° 13 days
October 15°/ 8° 9 days
November 5°/ -1° 4 days
December 5°/ -2° 3 days

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More about Best Time to Travel to Chicago

Chicago in August

The wind settles down to a slow and easy pace in August, making it a great time for outdoor activities. Water activities are the most preferred activity for tourists in this month because the water temperature is just perfect.

To make the most of excellent weather conditions, several events are organised in the city for tourists and locals, some of which are:
• The Air and Water show where spectators witness the grandeur of the aerobatic teams of the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy.
• The Northalsted Market Days event is a street festival that focuses on the LGBT community but is open for all. This festival includes dance performances, food stalls, and craft vendors.
• The music festival – Lollapalooza that is characterised by celebrity visits, plenty of food options and a weekend full of thrill.
• The Chicago Jazz Festival is organised on the Labor Day weekend and sees live performances from different Jazz genres.

Chicago in September

The month of September is a transition month from rainy, hot days to pleasant, cosy evenings. September rarely sees wet showers, making it an ideal month for outdoor activities.

Some of these events and activities that the tourists can visit are:
• The food and drink festival in the Fulton Market Harvest Fest, featuring chefs from the most popular restaurants in the region surrounding Fulton Market area.
• The food festival called Chicago Gourmet that involves cooking demonstrations, wine tasting sessions, culinary specialities, and excellent dining options. This event is open for people above the age of 21 years.
• The Chicago Architecture Biennial Exhibition that showcases innovations in designing and architecture.

Chicago in October

The fabulous hues of fall characterise the month of October in Chicago. However, the days get shorter and evenings get colder, but not uncomfortable. Some days might see slight snowfall.

Nevertheless, some events are hugely popular among tourists, including:
• The Chicago International Film Festival that was first held in 1964, and considers participation from renowned directors.
• The Bank of America Chicago Marathon that counts among the top marathons in the world.
• The Rocktober Beerfest is organised in a classic German Oktoberfest theme, replete with pretzels and all things German.
• Halloween parades that highlight some creative and innovative costumes along with fantastic makeup.

Chicago in November

November is the first official month of the winter season in Chicago. While the days are sunny and bright, the evenings get chilly and overcast. Snowfall becomes more common in this month but is not too much. Fantastic hotel deals for tourists typically characterise this month.

Some events that are not to be missed this month are:
• The Magnificent Miles Lights Festival for the whole family, marked by massive discounts for shopping.
• The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade featuring performances, balloons and marching bands is worth a watch.
• Visiting the open-air holiday village market – Christkindlmarket and shop for traditional German gifts and souvenirs.
• The Lincoln Park Zoo is lit up exquisitely and organises select night events like beer festivals and night markets.

Chicago in December

The month of December is a full-fledged winter month replete with snowfall and slushy ice accumulating on the roads. However, the spirit of Chicago is unaffected because several events are organised in this month, including:
• The Sauced Night Market, replete with craft beer, local delicacies, and food trucks, and a great party ambience.
• The Renegade Craft Fair for curated art and craft from local artists, also including artisanal food items and beverages and live music.

Chicago in July

July in Chicago sees a combination of hot weather and rainy spells. Thunderstorms are also frequent during this time of the year. However, their fickle weather conditions don’t stop tourists from attending and enjoying some fantastic events, including:
• The world’s largest food festival called Taste of Chicago attracts millions of visitors who want to try out global cuisines and multi-ethnic recipes. The venue also has rides, entertainment, and games for the whole family.
• The music and craft beer event, Square Roots Festival that sees performances by Indie rock bands, folk music and beer from regional breweries.
• The Chicago Human Rhythm Project organises the Rhythm World Festival that includes performances and workshops for classic and modern genres.

Chicago in High season/ Peak Season

The high season to visit Chicago starts in springtime but reaches a peak in summer months from June to August. The average peak temperature during this time of the year ranges between 70-80 °F. This time of the year is characterised by warm weather, clear skies, sunny and clean beaches, school vacations, and plenty of cultural events in the city. These attractions make tourists flock to Chicago during this time, but it also sees an exorbitant increase in boarding and lodging rates.

Chicago in Low Season

The cold and wintery months from November to March are the least preferred by tourists because of freezing temperature, with the average maximum being between 30-40 °F. The only exceptions during this period are the tourism spikes seen during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. While there are much less outdoor activities that you can do during this time, cultural tourism attracts many tourists to Chicago during this weather. Visitors in quest of arts and cultural experience are in for a treat during this time because they get great deals for hotel accommodation.

Chicago in Shoulder Season

The shoulder season for Chicago tourism is between April and June (Spring season), and through September – October (Fall season). The average peak temperature during the shoulder season is 50-60 °F. Springtime is usually the wettest time of the year in Chicago and might have continuous rainy days that make outdoor activities difficult. Fall season, on the other hand, is mostly free of wet spells and has clear weather for most outdoor activities. During this shoulder season, the hotel tariffs are not as cheap as during the low season but are slightly less expensive than peak season.

Chicago in January

January is generally the coldest month in the city, and the average daily temperature is below the freezing point of water. The city sees a lot of snowfall in January, and tourists will wake up to a white carpet of fresh snow almost every day. While the average daily snowfall is about 2 cm, some days might see as much as 15-25 cm snow overnight. This weather makes beaches inaccessible, but cultural and culinary tourism is prevalent in January.

Here are some possibilities for tourists who visit Chicago in January:
• Baseball enthusiasts may attend the famous SoxFest, held at Hilton Chicago.
• The Chicago Restaurant Week that comprises of two weeks of fixed price deals at several restaurants covering global cuisines.
• The Chicago Polar Bear Plunge fundraiser program organised by the Lakeview Polar Bear Club.
• The Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival that includes several workshops, performances, and symposiums.
• The Winter Brew festival where local breweries display their speciality brews and beers.
• The Black Creativity Family Day event organised by the Museum of Science and Industry.

Chicago in February

While the average temperature in February is pretty cold, there is a slight increase in the maximum daytime temperature. Snowfall occurs every other day, on an average, and only a few days see a snow cover of more than 10 cm. There might be delays on the road due to snow accumulation, and street parking may also be difficult.

Some activities to be done in Chicago in this month are:
• The Chicago Auto Show that is organised at McCormick Place.
• Polar Adventure Days at Northerly Island to highlight Chicago’s natural beauty.
• The Chicago theatre Week, hosted by the League of Chicago Theatres, screens plays are pocket-friendly prices.
• The Neighbourhoods of The World event organised every Sunday from Mid-February to celebrate the diverse cultures of the world and arranging traditional live music, cuisine, and crafts of different ethnic cultures.
• The Chicago Ale Festival, replete with food trucks and live music to warm up the chilly evenings.

Chicago in March

The month of March in Chicago sees a further increase in the minimum daily temperature. Most days in this month are devoid of precipitation, but some days might see a combination of slight rainfall and squishy snow. While the day time temperature is higher than February, nights tend to be chilly.

Tourists can have fun at the following events in March:
• The Chicago Beer Festival organised by the Field Museum, involving about 70 breweries. This event includes tickets for beer sampling, live music and access to various exhibits of the museum.
• The ShamROCK Greening event marks the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations by lighting up landmark buildings in green. The event also includes parades, marathons, and an annual ball.
• The Indian population in Chicago celebrates Holi - the festival of colours in March. This festival marks the end of winters and the beginning of spring.

Chicago in April

April is the first month of the year to have an above-freezing temperature during the day and the night. However, April is very windy and rainy. Although snowfall generally doesn’t happen in this month, a few exceptional instances of snow in April have occurred in the past.

Some activities and events that tourists can check-out in Chicago in April are:
• The Chicago Dance Month festival with more than 50 performances covering various dance styles and genres.
• The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo event that features anime, cosplay, comic books, television, and wrestling.
• The Comedy Improv Festival with comedians from across the globe.
• The Chicago International Movies and Music Festival comprising of panel discussions, film screenings, and music at night.

Chicago in May

Officially summertime, the month of May is among the most preferred months to visit Chicago. Afternoon and evenings are pleasant, but it may get chilly after sunset. Rain is not uncommon, but most rainfall happens in quick, short spells.

Tourists can make the most of their trip to Chicago in May by attending the following events:
• The Chicago Kids and Kites Festival organised at Lincoln Park, replete with professional kites, balloons and face painting stalls.
• The grand Mayfest event features local music and stalls for entertainment, along with a beer garden and food trucks.
• The Illinois Craft Beer Week event features rare sampled beers at discounts.
• The Chicago Memorial Day Parade to honour national heroes.

Chicago in June

The month of June sees a transition from wet spring to the summer season, but rain showers are widespread. The temperature is moderate and this time of the year sees a surge in tourists in Chicago.

Some exciting events to check-out in June in Chicago are:
• The Gay Pride Chicago event, comprising of a huge parade and associated events in the city.
• The 57th Street Art Festival is among the oldest art fairs in the country, is organised annually since 1943 in the region surrounding Hyde Park.
• The Chicago Blues Festival, a famous music celebration organised at Millennium Park.

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