What to Wear in Chicago Year-Round
Updated: Aug 20
Packing for Chicago in Summer, Spring, Winter, and Fall
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Packing can easily be a stressful part of a trip. That's why we've made you're life easier and have created the ultimate packing lists for every season in Chicago!
What to wear in Chicago highly depends on the time of year you are visiting. Winters are cold here and thick coats are necessary. Summers get very warm, and spring and fall vary the most.
Keep reading to find out what to wear in Chicago so you can stay cute and comfortable while exploring the Windy City. The best news is Chicago is a city made for self-expression. You can wear whatever you want in this city and not feel out of place!
What to Wear in Chicago Summer
Ahhh, the busiest yet the best time of year to explore Chicago. Summers in the city are so fun because it's nearly always sunny and in the 80s.
Festivals are happening all around the city, and the vibes are so positive. Summer is the time to wear all your cute dresses and tanks in Chicago.
Short Sleeves or Tank Tops
When packing tops for Chicago, you'll definitely want to stick to short sleeves or tank tops. These tank tops with a built-in bra are my go-to! It might not be the hottest place on Earth, but it's usually in the 80s or even 90s. If you'll be outside a lot, make sure you wear sunscreen!
Shorts, Skirts, or Dresses
You'll want to wear cooler bottoms in the summer, especially if you plan on spending time outside in the beautiful sunshine. I do recommend packing one pair of pants, joggers, or something similar. This is my rule wherever I go, even in the summer.
My favorite go-to travel dresses are super comfy and stretchy. I love that they're essentially an entire outfit in one; bra included! You can dress them up or down depending on your fashion preference, and they're so comfortable.
Sneakers and Sandals
Most importantly, pack comfortable walking shoes! There is great public transportation in Chicago, but it is also a very walkable city. It's fun to explore some neighborhoods on foot and truly get a feel for this Midwestern city.
Read Also: Getting Around Chicago
Rain Coat Jacket
I recommend always packing a lightweight rain jacket when visiting Chicago. Even a warm cardigan is a good idea to bring with you to Chicago in the summer. It gets much chillier when the sun goes down, and you never know if a restaurant or museum will be cranking the AC.
Sunglasses and Hat
It's generally very sunny in Chicago in summer so having a good pair of sunglasses or a hat will make your life easier while exploring the city. You don't want to be squinting your entire trip!
What to Wear in Chicago Spring
While spring in Chicago can be a little less predictable than summer, there's a high chance it will still be quite chilly. You might get the odd day that reaches the 60s or even 70s, but generally, temps are in the high 40s to 50s.
It can be rainier in the spring in Chicago, but it's still a great time to visit. The city is at its greenest; flowers are blooming everywhere and the trees are full and lush.
T-Shirts or Longsleeves
The best tops to pack for visiting Chicago in spring are short sleeves, a couple of long sleeves, and maybe a sweater. It will be quite a bit colder in early spring, around March and April, than it is in late spring, around May.
Always bring a rain jacket or small umbrella with you, especially in spring. Typically, there is a higher chance for rain in springtime in the US. Don't be the person caught in the rain getting drenched, it will put a bit of a damper on your Chicago trip.
While you won't need a heavy winter coat to comfortably explore Chicago in spring, you will still want a decently warm coat or thick jacket. It would be a bummer to happen upon a chillier spring day in the city and not have a coat to stay warm!
Sneakers or Boots
I mentioned in the summer packing section, having comfortable walking shoes is a must while exploring Chicago any time of year. I recommend sticking with sneakers or even cute ankle rain boots for spring.
Pack long pants, joggers, leggings, or your favorite pair of jeans for spring in Chicago. If you're feeling brave, wear a skirt or dress with some cute tights and boots! I just wouldn't recommend wearing shorts as it's still pretty chilly this time of year.
Hat and Scarf
It's also not a bad idea to throw in a scarf and a warm hat or beanie to explore Chicago in spring! Always check the weather on the days leading up to your departure so you can get an idea of what the weather will be like.
What to Wear in Chicago Fall
Similar to the cooler temps of springtime in Chicago, fall has great weather, less rain, and pretty foliage. It can also get pretty chilly in fall, and occasionally it snows a little in late fall in Chicago.
Sweaters and Longsleeves
I recommend sticking to warmer tops in the fall. You definitely won't want to wear tank tops as temps average in the 50s to 60s. Layers are a good idea this time of year as it's generally much colder in the morning and evening; the sun comes up later and goes down earlier.
Again, long pants, jeans, or leggings are the best idea of what to wear in Chicago in the fall. Especially if you want to enjoy fall foliage and other outdoor activities, long pants are the way to go.
Hat, Scarf, and Gloves
Don't forget these essentials for Chicago in fall. It can get quite cold while waiting for a train or walking in a particularly windy area. Plus, they're cute and can add a pop to your outift.
Coat or Thick Jacket
You don't want to freeze while exploring Chicago in the fall, so please remember a winter coat or thick jacket. It's better to have a coat you can throw on or take off than freeze or boil in the wrong clothes.
Remember comfy walking shoes, even in fall! These might be your favorite tennis shoes, slip-on Vans, or even a pair of stylish boots. Whatever your go-to walking shoes are, pack those and skip the sandals in the fall.
Planning a trip to Chicago in winter?
It's cold and snowy in Chicago in winter, so packing the right clothes is extra necessary this time of year. It is still a wonderful time of year to visit, but you want to stay warm and comfortable.
We have a detailed winter packing list so you can prepare for your winter getaway to Chicago easily!
Other Packing Essentials for Chicago:
What to Wear in Chicago
Chicago is an incredible city. It makes for the perfect US city travel destination as there truly is something for everyone to enjoy here!
When are you planning a trip to the Windy City? Are you prepared to pack now? There is something so special about every season in Chicago, so you can't go wrong with a trip here any time of year.
My tip for you: add Chicago to your weather app so you get the best idea of what the weather will be like when you're there! Keep an eye on it to see if it's getting warmer or cooler.
Now you know what to wear in Chicago, you can get packing and counting down the days to your city getaway! Read more about Chicago here so you can truly have the best time in this fantastic US city.
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