Chicago in Spring

After the dreary cold days of winter, spring in Chicago seems doubly welcome. As the temperatures rise, so do people’s spirits as they look forward to the warm sunny days of summer. Spring is a great time to be a tourist in Chicago. Though you’ll still find some cold days, you’ll also find fewer crowds, lower prices and plenty to see and do, especially for budget travelers. The city museums have several spring free museum days, hotels offer lower prices, the animals at the free Lincoln Park Zoo are more active, and in May, the free neighborhood street festival season kicks off.

The average highs in April and May range from 59-70°F with lows of 42-51°F, with March a bit colder at 32-47°F but you will find some warmer days mixed in with the occasional cold snap. Despite this, after a cold winter you’ll see many Chicagoans dressing like it’s full-on summer.

For a more practical look, go with layers that can take you throughout the range of possible temperatures. In March, you may still need snowboots and a heavy coat, but by April a light jacket will keep you covered.

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>> more on what to wear in Chicago in spring

Early spring is all about the indoor activities, and Chicago has plenty of them to keep you busy. Explore the city’s many museums, take a cooking class, go on a historical tour or sightseeing bus tour, see a play or opera, or celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a parade and some green beers. By May, the focus moves more to outdoor adventures like the Lincoln Park Zoo, farmers markets, picnics and outdoor festivals.

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Photo by Monika Thorpe