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    What is the best time to visit Chicago? Info on the climate and advice on when to go

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    Martí Micolau

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    "There are no more half seasons" is a saying that is never uttered in Chicago. Here indeed the four seasons are well differentiated from each other: for this reason it is good to inquire about what climate to expect on a trip to third largest city in the States. If you love big cities, you will certainly fall in love with this metropolis on the shore of Lake Michigan, but it is good to start with the right equipment so as not to be ruined by an unexpected climate.

    In fact, it is very likely that you will go here during one of the many itineraries that include other US cities, or perhaps Canadian, which probably have completely different climatic conditions. An example? Route 66, which from Chicago reaches the very different climates of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.


    • Clima a Chicago
      • L'winter to Chicago
      • Spring to Chicago
      • L’estate a Chicago
      • Autumn in Chicago
    • Can you swim in Lake Michigan?
    • When to go to Chicago? Best time to visit

    Clima a Chicago

    More than a thousand kilometers away from both the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, Chicago features a decidedly continental climate. Its location on the shores of Lake Michigan, the fifth in the world by surface area, however, offers a series of advantages and disadvantages compared to other locations located in the center of the American continent.

    Most of the aspects, both positive and negative, are related tohumidity. The humid air of the lake, which contributes positively to mitigate the temperature changes typical of continental areas, are added to the considerable rainfall. Over 900 mm of rain falls on Chicago every year, on a fairly regular basis throughout the twelve months.

    L'winter to Chicago


    Contrary to what one might think, here winter is the driest period of the year. If there is precipitation, it is more likely to be of a snowy nature, and it is normal to exceed 90cm of snow every year. In Chicago it does not snow only in the middle of winter, the white flakes can fall in all the months between November and April. The coldest weeks are those between the end of November and the beginning of March, where the frost pervades the entire city and surrounding area. With an average of -4,5 ° in January, winter weather conditions are quite comparable to a Northern European capital. While it is rarer to reach such extremes these days, there were episodes in the 80s and 90s where temperatures dropped below -30 ° C.

    The proximity to Canadian cold areas leads Chicago to often submit to the blizzard, the icy north wind whose gusts exacerbate even more the sensation of cold. Added to the frequent snowfalls, which in case of strong wind can turn into storms, winter temperatures certainly do not facilitate a visit to the city. In fact, it can happen that for weeks it remains below the 0 ° threshold, and if this standard is interrupted by sudden heat, the effect can be more negative than positive.

    Sudden rain falls and snow melts in the middle of winter lead to freezing of the ground, making roads dangerous. Obviously, a metropolis of this size does not fear extreme conditions and if you want to visit it in winter for one of the many events that you can find there or because you do not have other periods available, you will still be able to enjoy many attractions. The important thing is to leave equipped so as not to turn into walking icicles.

    Spring to Chicago


    Sudden changes in temperature and continuous weather changes: here it is the most unstable season in Chicago. The month of March is still cold and in some years it can be considered winter: both snowfalls and sudden frosts are still possible, even when warmer days have already begun to creep in. April is the most uncertain month, where spring is at its maximum: on exceptionally hot days the maximums can reach 27 °, but the temperature range between day and night remains very high and at the beginning of the month it can happen that you still have a splash of snow .

    The lake contributes to climatic variations, in this case cooling the hot days, which are interrupted by breezes at a temperature sometimes much lower than that of the city, which flow from the waters of Michigan towards the eastern districts of the city. The month of May presents as April a discrete temperature difference between night and day, but the days begin to be considerably warmer, with highs that are around 20 degrees and often exceed 25 at the end of the month. thunderstorm, May is definitely a good month to visit the city.

    L’estate a Chicago


    Between June and August we find the warmest and sunniest period, with an average of maximum temperatures between 25 and 28 degrees, which can, in exceptional cases, exceed 35. The humidity that characterizes this geographical area leads to perceive temperatures higher than the real ones and the heat waves make the days very sultry. Days of extreme heat are usually the worst, not only because of the heat in the city, but also because they are the ones with the greatest probability of thunderstorms. Just the month of August, in fact, it turns out to be the wettest of the year. Visiting Chicago in the summer it is certainly a good choice, but to have some more guarantees from a purely meteorological point of view it is preferable to opt for June or l 'beginning of July.

    Autumn in Chicago


    The summer heat gradually decreases, becoming milder and milder at the end of September and in October. As long as the days remain hot, the probability of thunderstorms remains high, but October and early November are optimal times to visit Chicago. The consideration for our San Martino Summer is called here Indian Summer: after the first frosts, which usually arrive between October and November, there is often a very mild period, with highs above 20 ° and a low probability of precipitation.

    Happening in these days, unfortunately difficult to predict, is fortunate for the traveler who wants to enjoy the city without the winter frost or the August heat. November is now the gateway to winter: the first colds, already perceptible at night during autumn, are felt even during the day. At the end of the month, snowfalls or night frosts are not uncommon.

    Can you swim in Lake Michigan?

    The answer is yes, but not always. As I said, in winter it is really cold, so much so that the lake water even freezes near the coasts. The substantial difference in temperature between the seasons means that in summer, especially in August after several weeks of heat, the waters are pleasantly warm. Throughout the summer season, even if in June the water is still cold, it is possible to swim in this lake which, for its size, looks almost like a sea. However, the city coast is not the most suitable: if you take a look at our article on Lake Michigan you will find tips on the beaches and attractions of the coast.

    When to go to Chicago? Best time to visit

    If you just intend to visit the city, the best time to go to Chicago is September. Furthermore, October and May these are the two months that I would recommend secondly. As already mentioned, i main issues of the city are two: the large changes in temperature between one season and another and the frequent rainfall. If you want to leave in winter, perhaps during the Christmas period, do not worry: in those parts they are perfectly equipped for the most extreme conditions, the important thing is to know well how to dress in Chicago at that time of year. If you travel in summer, pack a sun hat and even an umbrella or raincoat - you may need both within hours!

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