Come summer, Chicagoans head to the beaches, parks, and festivals along Lake Michigan. A chill often lingers in the air in early summer, while late summer can be muggy. Regardless of the season, pack layers, as weather can fluctuate greatly. Summer also brings spikes in hotel rates.
Fall is pleasant until mid-November, when temperatures plunge, and spring doesn’t get reliably comfortable until late April. Anytime between May and November, you’ll be able to combine season-less indoor attractions with the convivial appeal of the outdoors at the lakefront, on Chicago River boats, and milling around Millennium Park.
Weather and prices are tradeoffs in Chicago. In January and February, the “hawk” (a local term for the harsh wind off Lake Michigan) sweeps down Michigan Avenue, and snow buries the streets. But hotel rates are bargain basement and attractions uncrowded.