Does It Snow In Chicago?

Takakkaw falls, canada, camping, forest

The weather in Chicago has always been unpredictable. There are times when it snows and other times when it rains. This makes it very confusing for tourists who want to know whether it will snow in Chicago or not.

There are several theories regarding the cause of the weather in Chicago. One theory says that the city gets its name from the Native American word chikago, meaning “land of the long winds.” 

Another theory suggests that the city got its name from French explorer Jacques Marquette who named it after his hometown in France.

So in this blog, Let’s Find out Does it Snow in Chicago?

Does it Snow in Chicago?
Chicago, United States

Does It Snow in Chicago?

Yes, It Does Snow in Chicago. Chicago is known for its cold winters, the city sees a fair amount of snowfall each year. On average, Chicago sees about 36 inches of snowfall each winter. However, the city has seen as much as 89 inches of snow in a single season.

Chicago’s snowfall typically begins in November and continues through March. The city sees the most snowfall in January and February when an average of about 16 inches of snow falls each month.

The Weather in Chicago

Chicago, IL, United States
Chicago, IL, United States

The climate of Chicago is classified as humid continental, which means that the city experiences four distinct seasons. The weather in Chicago can be extreme, with warm summers and cold winters.

While snowfall is common in Chicago, the amount of snow that the city receives varies from year to year. In some years, Chicago may see several feet of snow, while in other years, the city may only see a few inches.

Chicago lies in a transition zone between the humid continental climate type and the humid subtropical climate type (Köppen Dfa/Cfa), with four distinct seasons. 

The influence of each type is pronounced during different times of the year; Spring brings transitional weather conditions as cold air from the north meets warm air from the south. 

Summer brings hot, humid weather due to the influx of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. 

Fall sees a gradual cooling-off period as the jet stream begins to shift southward again, and winter brings cold, snowy weather as air from the Arctic descends over the Midwest.

How Often Does It Snow in Chicago?

In Chicago, it snows an average of 36 inches per year. However, the amount of snowfall varies greatly from year to year. For example, in the winter of 2014-2015, Chicago received more than 80 inches of snow.

The Best Time to See the Snow in Chicago

John Hancock Center, 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, United States
John Hancock Center, 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, United States

The best time to see the snow in Chicago is in the winter. The city usually gets its first snowfall in November, and the last snowfall of the season usually occurs in March. However, it is not uncommon for there to be a few flurries in April.

The Best Time to Visit Chicago for Snow

The best time to visit Chicago for snow is generally between December and February. However, snowfall can occur as early as October and as late as April. 

The best time to visit really depends on what you want to do while you’re in town. If you’re looking to hit the slopes, then you’ll want to plan your trip for after the first big snowfall of the season. 

If you’re just looking to enjoy the city in all its winter glory, then any time between December and February will be ideal.

Snow-Related Activities in Chicago

Millennium Park, Chicago, United States
Millennium Park, Chicago, United States

Chicagoans love their winter sports, and when the snow falls, the city comes alive with a variety of snow-related activities. Here are just a few of the ways Chicagoans enjoy the snow:

Sledding and tubing: After a big snowfall, Chicago’s hills become popular sledding and tubing spots. Some of the city’s most popular sledding hills include Watkins Glen Park in Lincoln Park, Emerald Hill in Garfield Park, and Mount Greenwood Park in Beverly.

Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing: For those looking for a more aerobic winter activity, there are plenty of options for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Chicago. The city’s parks offer miles of groomed trails, and there are also several forest Preserves that offer scenic views while you get your heart pumping.

Ice skating: One of the most iconic winter activities in Chicago is ice skating at Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate (a.k.a. “The Bean”). But Millennium Park isn’t the only place to skate in the city — there are also several outdoor ice rinks scattered throughout Chicago that offer open skate times as well as lessons for beginners.

Building a snowman: This classic winter activity is a must for any first-time visitor to Chicago. Be sure to pack some extra gloves and hats — it can get cold building a snowman in Windy City!


In conclusion, does it snow in Chicago? Yes, it does! The city sees an average of about 36 inches of snowfall each year, so residents definitely need to be prepared for winter weather. However, snow is not the only thing that Chicagoans have to deal with during the colder months. The Windy City is also known for its brutal winds, which can make standing outside for any length of time quite unpleasant.

FAQs: Does It Snow in Chicago?

Is It True That It Snows a Lot in Chicago?

While Chicago does experience colder winters than most other US cities, it is not necessarily true that it snows more often or more heavily than in other places. 

In fact, according to the National Weather Service, Chicago ranks 20th among US cities in terms of average annual snowfall.

What Are the Chances of Seeing Snow During a Visit to Chicago?

The chances of seeing snow during a visit to Chicago depend on the time of year. For example, the likelihood of seeing snow is highest in January and February, when the city experiences its coldest temperatures and most snowfall. 

However, it is still possible to see snow at other times of the year; for instance, October and November tend to be the months with the highest chances of a “snow event” (defined as one inch or more of accumulation).

What Should I Do If I’m Visiting Chicago and It Starts to Snow?

There is no need to panic if you find yourself in Chicago during a snowstorm! The city is well equipped to deal with winter weather, and life goes on as usual for most residents. 

However, visitors should be aware that driving conditions can be treacherous during a winter storm, so it is advisable to avoid driving if possible. If you must drive, make sure you have a reliable vehicle with good tires, and take your time. 

Remember: in Chicago, “winter” weather can last well into April or even May, so don’t pack your heavy coats away too early!