Each season offers numerous good reasons to visit Chicago, Illinois, especially for pro sports lovers. Perched on the edge of Lake Michigan, “the City of the Big Shoulders” offers great fun, food, and entertainment throughout the year. In the summer, baseball season is in full swing with two Major League Baseball teams: the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. Fall means football, and the National Football League’s Chicago Bears kick it off in style. Winter’s chill brings the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls to life. Lastly, spring means that the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks will be skating across the ice with a championship as their goal. Book a stay at a vacation rental in Chicago today. Let this guide help you decide the best time to visit the Windy City.
Visiting Chicago in the Summer
Summer in Chicago draws crowds for outdoor activities. Average temperature highs in June through August range between 79 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and lows are between 58 and 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Pack a mix of summer clothes with a light jacket for evening temperature dips, and prepare for rain, with monthly averages between 3.5 and 5 inches. Mugginess peaks in late July, but don’t let it keep you from enjoying a Cubs game at historic Wrigley Field or watching the White Sox swing for the fences at Guaranteed Rate Field. Spend time at one of the area’s many beaches, such as Lane Beach, which features a playground, or rent paddleboards from Chicago Paddle Co. and hang out at Osterman Beach, also known as Hollywood Beach.
Annual events such as the world-famous Lollapalooza, Chicago Blues Festival, and Taste of Chicago, featuring food vendors from all over the city, add to the city’s vibe. Other top summer outdoor attractions include attending the Windy City Smokeout, where barbecue pit masters do battle, riding the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July, and viewing the Chicago Air and Water Show over the lake.
Visiting Chicago in the Fall
Chi-town temperatures drop in the fall, with average highs in September through November ranging between 75 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Lows are between 32 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit, so pack clothes for layering and a heavier jacket. Keep rain gear handy, because each month’s precipitation averages about 3 inches. In September, jazz fans enjoy the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and the Chicago Jazz Festival, and in October, movie lovers settle in for the Chicago International Film Festival. Dress warmly for outdoor activities in October, like cheering for the runners in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon or taking a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see hippos, gorillas, and sloths in natural surroundings. The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an exciting annual event that draws visitors and locals, and at the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls, the world-renown basketball team heats things up when they take the court for the season.
Visiting Chicago in the Winter
Chicago average temperature highs in December through February range between the low to mid -30s Fahrenheit. Lows between the teens and 20 Fahrenheit coupled with the city’s famous wind make it feel like it’s below zero. Wondering what to pack? Reach for heavy winter clothes and a coat, hat, scarf, and gloves. Expect a few inches of snow when the temperatures are low; winter precipitation averages about 3 inches per month. Winter in Chicago is a great time to bundle up and stroll along the Magnificent Mile, featuring hundreds of stores, boutiques, restaurants, and night spots. Walk from Water Tower Place to The Shops at North Bridge and 900 North Michigan Shops for some of the best shopping in the city, and enjoy the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Winter fun continues with ZooLights and the PNC Bank Winter WonderFest in December and January, and the car of your dreams awaits you at the Chicago Auto Show in February. Winter is the perfect time to tour museums such as the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry, or see a star show at the Adler Planetarium.
Visiting Chicago in the Spring
Spring is cool at the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks pro ice hockey team, while the outdoor temperatures heat up. Average temperature highs in March through May are between the low 40s to mid-60s Fahrenheit, and average lows range from high 20s to low 50s Fahrenheit. Rainfall averages between 2.7 and 3.7 inches, with May as the wettest spring month. Dress warmly, leave your Chicago vacation rental, and enjoy floral delights at the Garfield Park Conservatory’s annual spring flower show, with hundreds of azaleas, snap dragons, tulips, camellias, and tropical flowers on display. Navy Pier’s Chicago Flower and Garden Show features beautiful blooms along with urban gardens and child-friendly activities. Every spring, Chicago celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with one of the biggest parades in the nation and turns the Chicago River green for the occasion. If you miss it, catch a second Irish parade as it kicks off just south of Hyde Park, on the city’s South Side.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Chicago?
The best times to visit Chicago are April through May and September through October. The crowds are smaller at museums, beaches, and parks, because it’s not the summer peak tourist season. The weather is warm enough for outdoor activities, and there’s little chance of mugginess or snow. Sports fans have baseball and basketball games going strong in the spring, and football starts in the fall. There’s always something exciting going on in Chicago, so whenever you plan your trip, expect a wonderful experience.
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