The nickname ‘Windy City’ actually has non-meteorological origins. It was coined by newspaper reporters in the late 1800s in reaction to the oft-blustery boastfulness of Chicago’s politicians. Nevertheless, Chicago is windy, with everything from cool, God-sent lake breezes at the height of summer to skirt-raising gusts in the spring, to spine-chilling, nose-chiseling blasts of icy air in the winter. The city experiences all four seasons, with late spring and early fall being generally warm, clear and dry times. Winter and summer behave as expected, but early spring and late fall can freely mix pleasant days with rather wretched ones. Chicago has no true rainy season; its 34in of average annual precipitation are spread throughout the course of the year.
When to go
Wicked weather slaps the city between November and March. It gets nastiest in January, with temperatures hovering around 24°F (-4°C) and blasting snow and wind added for emphasis. This is when everyone stays inside and drinks.
When the sun begins to shine again and warmth creeps through the skyscrapers, from April through October, everyone flings open their doors and makes a greedy dash for the outdoor festivals, ballparks, beaches and beer gardens. This is the best time to visit Chicago. It’s no surprise that this is also the city’s peak season, specifically June through August, when summer temperatures average 85°F (29°C).