By mid-March, Chicagoans are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is Chicago’s cold, dark, dreary winter. Temperatures range from 32°F to an almost-balmy 47°F towards the latter half of the month. Unfortunately, as the transition month from winter to spring, March is one of the more volatile times for weather in Chicago, and you never really know what you’re going to get….well, until you get it. It could be unseasonably warm one week followed by a bitter cold snap or a blizzard that dumps a foot of snow the next. The key is to be prepared for anything, expect the worst and hope for the best, and to pack and wear lots of layers.
March is still off-season in Chicago, with the exception of the weekend of the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Throughout most of the month you’ll still find fewer crowds and cheaper hotel room rates than in summer, with lots of free city events to help residents gets through the last few weeks of cold.
DOWNLOAD OUR TRAVEL GUIDES
The highlight of March’s social calendar is St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday celebrated heartily by everyone, whether or not they’re Irish. The day starts with the dyeing of the Chicago River, which turns a neon (non-toxic) green for a few hours. Then the parade starts at noon, heading north from Balbo and Columbus in Grant Park towards Buckingham Fountain. Over 200,000 people come to watch the parade which features over 100 floats. Post-parade, the party goes on through the night at local bars all over the city.
Photo by multisanti