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Best time to visit Chicago

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Chicago

Best time of year to visit Chicago

April to May and September to October is the best time to visit Chicago as the weather is mild and tourist numbers are moderate. In late spring, celebrate local beer culture at the Mayfest. Summer in the city is famous for its hotel rates going through the roof and unstable weather when agonizing heat waves from June to August can hinder your sightseeing experience. However, Chicago is lucky to be located next to the lake, that's why festival goers boldly and enthusiastically attend Lollapalooza and other great summer events. September says goodbye to the summer at the Chicago Jazz Festival and during the Chicagohenge at the end of the month. A freezing and windy period between November and March offers you great deals on airfare and accommodation, just pack your warmest layers. St. Patrick's Day turns the Chicago River green in March, probably one of the best sights of the city!

8 THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO (MARCH 20 - MARCH 29)

Chicagohenge

Chicagohenge

March 20–23 | September 22–25 • nature

Even the most hurried drivers don't mind stopping to gaze at the unique solar spectacle

Chicago Restaurant Week

Chicago Restaurant Week

unconfirmedlate March–early April 2023 • event

So many participating restaurants, so little time

Critical Mass

Critical Mass

Last Friday of every month • event

The monthly event to make it clear how many cyclists are there

Willis Tower (Skydeck Chicago)

Willis Tower (Skydeck Chicago)

all year round • activity

Step to the glass box ledge and walk in the air 1,353 feet above Chicago

Stargazing

Stargazing

all year round (best in September–May) • nature

Absorb the starry skies in the vicinity of Chicago

Ice Shards on the Great Lakes

Ice Shards on the Great Lakes

mid–February–late March • nature

The ice cover gets shattered to knife-sharp pieces as spring takes over winter

Skiing and Snowboarding in Wisconsin

Skiing and Snowboarding in Wisconsin

December–March • activity

Discover some of the best ski areas of the Midwest

The Plant Chicago

The Plant Chicago

all year round • activity

A former meatpacking facility is transformed into a human-made ecosystem

90 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

4th of July Fireworks & Events

4th of July Fireworks & Events

out of rangeJuly 2–July 4 • event

Enjoy the most important holiday of the summer on the shore of Lake Michigan

Bike the Drive

Bike the Drive

out of rangeSeptember 4, 2022 • event

Once in a year a lakefront road is closed for cars and open for the cyclists!

Chicago Air and Water Show

Chicago Air and Water Show

out of rangeAugust 20–21, 2022 • event

The oldest and largest show of this kind in the United States

Rubber Ducky Race

Rubber Ducky Race

out of rangeAugust 4, 2022 • event

50,000 yellow rubber ducks are splashed into the Chicago River to fundraise for the Special Olympics Illinois

Cherry Blossom in Chicago

Cherry Blossom in Chicago

out of rangelate April–early May • nature

Find the best spots to enjoy beautiful cherry blossoms in Chicago

Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier

Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier

out of rangelate May–early September • event

For the whole summer you have a chance to see the beautiful fireworks twice a week!

Chicago Pride Parade & Fest

Chicago Pride Parade & Fest

out of rangeJune 17–18, 2023 (Festival) | June 25, 2023 (Parade) • event

A colorful celebration of freedom, diversity and culture

Chicago Blues Festival

Chicago Blues Festival

out of rangeJune 9–12, 2022 • event

The largest free blues festival in the world and one of the greatest music festivals in Chicago

Chicago Jazz Festival

Chicago Jazz Festival

out of rangeSeptember 1–4, 2022 • event

A favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition with great music all over the city

Kids and Kites Festival

Kids and Kites Festival

overMay 4, 2019 • event

The spectacular and beautiful celebration of the spring's arrival!

St. Paddy's Day (Green River)

St. Paddy's Day (Green River)

unconfirmedmid-March 2023 • event

St. Patrick's Day in Chicago is definitely a party of a lifetime!

Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

out of rangeNovember 24, 2022 • event

One of the biggest fall events in Chicago

Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade

Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade

out of rangeJanuary 29, 2023 • event

Chinese New Year is celebrated heavily in Chicago

Chicago Food Truck Festival

Chicago Food Truck Festival

out of rangeJune 23–24, 2023 • event

The city by Lake Michigan is obsessed with food trucks

Roscoe Village Burger Fest

Roscoe Village Burger Fest

out of rangeJuly 15–17, 2022 • event

The mouthwatering burger festival

Festival Cubano (Cuban Fest Chicago)

Festival Cubano (Cuban Fest Chicago)

on holdAugust 9–11, 2019 • event

A vibrant celebration of Latin culture in the Midwest

New Year's Eve in Chicago

New Year's Eve in Chicago

out of rangeDecember 31 • event

Color blasts illuminate the iconic Chicago skyline

Windy City Smokeout

Windy City Smokeout

out of rangeAugust 4–7, 2022 • event

Starting as a local barbecue get-together, the Smokeout has become one of the best festivals in town!

BMO Harris Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

BMO Harris Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

out of rangeNovember 19, 2022 • event

The holiday spirit takes over the Michigan Avenue on that night

Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago

out of rangeJune 11, 18 and 25, 2022 (neighborhood Taste pop-ups) | July 8–10, 2022 (a bite-sized Taste in Grant Park) • event

Note down the recipe for an unforgettable food & music festival

Ginza Holiday Festival

Ginza Holiday Festival

on holdAugust 7–9, 2020 • event

Lots of Japanese food, culture and entertainment

Ribfest Chicago

Ribfest Chicago

out of rangeAugust 19–21, 2022 • event

One of Chicago's trademarks, the Ribfest attracts crowds annually

Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade

Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade

out of rangeOctober 29, 2022 • event

The most fun fall event loved by kids and adults

Spring Awakening Music Festival

Spring Awakening Music Festival

out of rangeJuly 8–10, 2022 • event

A summer gathering of leading DJs from all over the world

Mayfest (Maifest) at Lincoln Park

Mayfest (Maifest) at Lincoln Park

unconfirmedMay 2023 • event

As an Oktoberfest's counterpart, this festival offers you plenty of foods and drinks as well as beer gardens!

Memorial Day Parade

Memorial Day Parade

unconfirmedlate May 2023 • event

Don't miss your chance to see the largest Memorial Day Parade in the country

World Music Festival Chicago

World Music Festival Chicago

out of rangeSeptember 30–October 30, 2022 • event

Musicians from over 20 countries give about 50 performances with free admission

Dragon Boat Race for Literacy

Dragon Boat Race for Literacy

out of rangeJune 25, 2022 • event

Traditionally ornated Chinese Boats race through Chicago River for Literacy

Bud Billiken Parade

Bud Billiken Parade

out of rangeAugust 13, 2022 • event

The largest African American parade in the United States

Illinois Fall Colors

Illinois Fall Colors

out of rangeOctober • nature

Enjoy the best fall colors across the state

Naperville Ale Fest

Naperville Ale Fest

out of rangeJuly 9, 2022 • event

The only outdoor winter and summer beer festival of Midwest

Hummingbird Migration

Hummingbird Migration

out of rangeMay–September • nature

Entice these buzzy flying jewels into your yard

Chicago Polar Plunge

Chicago Polar Plunge

out of rangeMarch 5, 2023 • event

Raising money for a cause is always a good idea, even if it means jumping into the frosty Lake Michigan!

Chicago Auto Show

Chicago Auto Show

out of rangeFebruary 11–20, 2023 • event

The biggest auto show in North America

East Peoria Festival of Lights

East Peoria Festival of Lights

out of rangeNovember 24, 2022–January 2, 2023 • event

One of the biggest and brightest holiday events in Illinois

Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2)

Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2)

out of rangeAugust 5–7, 2022 • event

The biggest geek gathering in the Midwest

Pierogi Fest

Pierogi Fest

out of rangeJuly 29–31, 2022 • event

Great food and some wacky fun in just 30 minutes from Chicago

Chicago Theatre Week

Chicago Theatre Week

unconfirmedmid-to-late February 2023 • event

A range of extraordinary theatrical offerings returns to Chicago every year in February

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

unconfirmedearly May 2023 • event

Drink lots of margaritas and cerveza celebrating the Mexican national holiday

Chicago Latino Film Festival

Chicago Latino Film Festival

unconfirmedApril 2023 • event

A great selection of films, documentaries, and shorts from the Spanish-speaking world

Winter WonderFest

Winter WonderFest

unconfirmedlate November 2022–early January 2023 • event

Beloved Chicago indoor winter event perfect for frosty days

May Day

May Day

out of rangeMay 1 • event

Workers' Day is always a big deal in Chicago

Lilacia Park

Lilacia Park

out of rangelate April–mid-May • nature

Discover a safe haven abundant with flowers just on the outskirts of the Windy City

Baconfest

Baconfest

on holdApril 5–6, 2019 • event

A festival dedicated to bacon? Definitely one of the best ideas in the world!

Chiditarod

Chiditarod

unconfirmedMarch 4, 2023 • event

Isn't it your lifetime dream to race in a cart of food between the neighbourhood bars?

Christkindlmarket Chicago

Christkindlmarket Chicago

out of rangeNovember 18–December 24, 2022 • event

​Drink some Glühwein, shop for presents, and enjoy German food delights at one of the largest Christmas markets in the US

Richardson Adventure Farm Corn Maze

Richardson Adventure Farm Corn Maze

out of rangeSeptember–October  • activity

Come out and get lost in the world's largest corn labyrinth

Chicago Christmas Lights

Chicago Christmas Lights

out of rangemid-November–early January • event

Get into the festive spirit while walking or driving through spectacular holiday lights

Fox Lake 4th of July Fireworks & Parade

Fox Lake 4th of July Fireworks & Parade

out of rangeJuly 2, 2022 • event

A relaxing Independence Day celebration at The Chain O’Lakes

Beach Season

Beach Season

out of rangeJuly–August • activity

Chicagoans love summers, even though they are extremely hot and humid. Part of this love is surplused by the existance of beaches

Chicago International Film Festival

Chicago International Film Festival

out of rangeOctober 12–23, 2022 • event

The longest-running competitive film festival in the USA

Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon

out of rangeOctober 9, 2022 • event

Check out the scenic course of one of the largest marathons in the U.S.

Sandhill Crane Migration

Sandhill Crane Migration

out of rangemid-September–mid-November • nature

Sandhill cranes make a stop at northern Illinois marshes on their way to Florida

Halloween Events in Chicago

Halloween Events in Chicago

out of rangeOctober 12–31, 2022 • event

From an art parade to booze cruises—Halloween is a great time to explore Chicago

Chicago Labor Day Weekend

Chicago Labor Day Weekend

out of rangeSeptember 1–5, 2022 • event

Wrap up the summer season with a bang

The Morton Arboretum Illumination

The Morton Arboretum Illumination

out of rangeNovember 19, 2022–January 7, 2023 • event

An enchanted forest filled with dazzling projections and interactive trees that respond to touch and voice

Arlington Million

Arlington Million

overAugust 14, 2021 • event

A perfect opportunity to enjoy live racing, entertainment, and fancy group outings

ZooLights

ZooLights

out of rangeNovember 19, 2022–January 1, 2023 • activity

Linkoln Park Zoo is not only one of the biggest and oldest zoos in the USA, but it also boasts some perfect winter scenery

Chicago Beer Classic

Chicago Beer Classic

on holdMay 2, 2020 • event

The largest beer festival in the city celebrates the beginning of summer season

Lake and River Cruises

Lake and River Cruises

out of rangeApril–November • activity

Whatever cruise you choose, Windy City won't leave you unsatisfied

Oktoberfest Chicago

Oktoberfest Chicago

out of rangeSeptember 9–11, 2022 • event

Rejoice in an amiable atmosphere at Chicago German-American Oktoberfest

FOBAB

FOBAB

out of rangeNovember 4–5, 2022 • event

America's biggest barrel-aged beer festival

Palatine Hometown Fest & Fireworks

Palatine Hometown Fest & Fireworks

unconfirmedlate June–early July 2023 • event

One of the best small-town 4th of July celebrations in the greater Chicago area

Country LakeShake Festival

Country LakeShake Festival

on holdJune 21–23, 2019 • event

A big country music festival on the lakefront

Wheaton 4th of July Fireworks & Parade

Wheaton 4th of July Fireworks & Parade

out of rangeJuly 3–4, 2022 • event

A community celebration with fireworks in the Chicago suburbs

Evanston 4th of July Fireworks & Parade

Evanston 4th of July Fireworks & Parade

out of rangeJuly 4, 2022 • event

A historic celebration near Lake Michigan

Kayaking Season

Kayaking Season

out of rangeJune–October • activity

Take a kayaking trip on the beautiful Chicago River

Turkey Testicle Festival

Turkey Testicle Festival

unconfirmedlate November 2022 • event

Are you ready to eat lots of turkey testicles and listen to hours of live music?

Allstate Hot Chocolate Run

Allstate Hot Chocolate Run

out of rangeNovember 6, 2022 • event

The sweetest run in the world takes over the United States from coast to coast

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

out of rangeJuly 28–31, 2022 • event

One of the oldest and most famous alternative music festivals is a must-visit!

Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

out of rangeJuly 15–17, 2022 • event

One of the trendiest festivals, Pitchfork sets the music scene

Riot Fest

Riot Fest

out of rangeSeptember 16–18, 2022 • event

A legendary rock music event held in Chicago

Kitesurfing & Windsurfing

Kitesurfing & Windsurfing

out of rangeJune–August • activity

Find out if Windy Сity is made for wind sports

Plainfield Fest

Plainfield Fest

out of rangeJuly 15–17, 2022 • event

Enjoy great food, music, and street fun in a suburb of Chicago

Illinois Craft Beer Week

Illinois Craft Beer Week

unconfirmedmid-May 2023 • event

The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild organizes the massive 11 days long craft beer event

Sailing Season

Sailing Season

out of rangeMay–October • activity

Sailing is much time limited in Chicago due to the weather conditions

Fan Expo Chicago

Fan Expo Chicago

out of rangeJuly 7–10, 2022 • event

The massive fan gathering which was previously known as Chicago Comic Con

Chicago Museum Week

Chicago Museum Week

overJanuary 18–26, 2018 • event

Free events, special programs, and promotions at Chicago's best museums

Chicago Fall Colors

Chicago Fall Colors

out of rangeearly to mid-October  • nature

Absorb the bright season without leaving the Windy City

Crystal Lake Fireworks

Crystal Lake Fireworks

out of rangeJuly 3, 2022 • event

A spectacular 4th of July celebration in the Chicago suburbs

Geneva Christmas Walk

Geneva Christmas Walk

out of rangeDecember 2, 2022 • event

Get into the holiday season with traditional festivities in Downtown Geneva, IL

Santa Speedo Run

Santa Speedo Run

unconfirmedearly December 2022 • event

Be merry, be positive, be helpful, be Santa! Thousands of Christmas fans running in the swimming suits

Cupid's Undie Run

Cupid's Undie Run

out of rangeFebruary 25, 2023 • event

Chicago loves running wearing hardly anything. Of course, for the good cause

Redhead Days Chicago

Redhead Days Chicago

on holdOctober 26, 2019 • event

The largest redhead gathering in the US

St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

out of rangeSeptember 23–25, 2022 • event

Join thousands of beer lovers at St. Al's Oktoberfest

Revolution Oktoberfest

Revolution Oktoberfest

out of rangeMay 13, 2022 • event

Beer Under Glass, which is hosted by Revolution Brewing, marks the start of Illinois Craft Beer Week

Waukegan Fireworks

Waukegan Fireworks

out of rangeJuly 4, 2022 • event

One of the multiple fine options to make some 4th of July memories near Chicago

Fox Lake Festival of Lights

Fox Lake Festival of Lights

out of rangeNovember 26, 2022 • event

Start the holiday season with a vibrant parade, holiday market, and the annual Christmas tree lighting

Journey to the End of the Night

Journey to the End of the Night

overJune 2017 • activity

The urban game that attracts thousands of people

Tour de Fat

Tour de Fat

overJuly 30, 2018 • event

The festival of bikes and environmentally conscious people!

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