Facts About Chicago Summers
Chicago is a jewel in Middle America, and a beautiful place to visit and live — with no shortage of things to do and see and enjoy. Chicago in summer is just about the best time to visit, too. Not only is the weather sublime, but it's also a time of great activity when you can take advantage of all the city has to offer. To help you make the most of your time here, check out the information below, including things to do in summer in Chicago, IL.
Chicago Summer Weather
If you look at Chicago’s temperatures by month, it's pretty easy to pinpoint the best months for a visit: June, July, August and September. The Chicago summer weather is ideal as the high temperatures settle in at about 75 in June and September and closer to 80 in July and August. You'll find lows anywhere between 60 and 68, on average, when you visit Chicago in summer.
Of course, Chicago is also known as the Windy City, and you should expect wind when you visit — no matter the season. The wind whips in off Lake Michigan and hurtles onto the shore and between the skyscrapers. It's not such a problem in the summertime, but if you visit Chicago in winter, you'll discover that the cold gusts can slice right through you.
Historical Events in Chicago
Chicago is also known as the “Second City” — a phrase that was coined by a New Yorker magazine writer in the 1950s. Why Second City? Some would say it’s because, for many years, Chicago was the second-largest city in the United States behind New York City. But a closer look reveals that the concept of Second City is embedded in an important moment in Chicago’s history.
Check out this Second City moment, as well as other landmark moments:
- The Great Chicago Fire: In October 1871, a fire raged in Chicago for three days. It killed more than 300 residents, wiped out more than three square miles of property and left more than 100,000 residents homeless. Some say Chicago is called the Second City because the bulk of it was rebuilt after the fire — a second on top of the one that burned.
- The 1893 World’s Fair: Chicago hosted the 1893 World's Fair, also known as the Columbian Exposition (400 years since Columbus discovered the New World). The Fair included some interesting developments. The Eiffel Tower was built to serve as the gateway arch entry to the 1889 World's Fair in Paris, and organizers in Chicago wanted a similarly dramatic feature.
They finally settled on an idea from George Ferris, who had come to them with a never-before-seen design for an enormous wheel that also served as an amusement ride. His so-called “Ferris Wheel” was the hit of the Fair.
Also, Mr. Pabst brought his beer to the 1893 World's Fair, where it won a blue ribbon. He was so proud of the award that he put the ribbon on the can's design and changed the name to Pabst Blue Ribbon.
- St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: Chicago in the 1920s was home to notorious gangster Al Capone. On Feb. 14, 1929, Capone and his men brutally murdered seven rival gang leaders — a moment that lives on as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The spot where the massacre took place is marked by seven bushes at Clark Street and Dickens Avenue.
- The 1968 Democratic National Convention: During the heart of the Vietnam War and just after President Lyndon Baines Johnson announced he would not run for reelection, the Democratic National Convention descended on Chicago — and quickly fell into chaos. The Convention included a number of protests, the city’s mayor shouting down rival speakers on the podium, and CBS News correspondent Dan Rather being accosted on the convention floor.
- Championships: Any time a sports team wins a title is a big moment for a city. Chicago has enjoyed several recent titles, including Stanley Cup Championships for the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015, a World Series title for the Cubs in 2016 and a World Series title for the White Sox in 2005. The NBA’s Chicago Bulls won six championships between 1991 and 1998, and the Chicago Bears took home the Super Bowl title in 1985.
Things to Do in Summer in Chicago, IL
You’re visiting Chicago during the perfect time of year when you go during summer. Here’s a look at things to do in summer in Chicago, IL:
- Wrigley Field: Not only are the Cubs reigning World Series champions, but they also play in Major League Baseball's second-oldest ballpark (behind Boston's Fenway Park). Built in 1916, Wrigley Field allows you to step back in time for an afternoon or evening of America's Pastime. It didn't even get lights until 1988!
- Cloud Gate: Cloud Gate is the entry to Chicago’s Millennium Park, but you may know Cloud Gate as simply “the bean.” This 110-ton polished stainless-steel elliptical structure reflects the city’s skyline and the sky above, and it’s a must-see architectural achievement.
- Second City: Since 1959, the Second City improvisational comedy troupe has been delighting its guests. Many well-known comedians first started as part of Second City, including Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, John Candy, Tina Fey and Bill Murray. Stop by and see the next generation of comedy stars!
- Architectural Cruises: Chicago is well-known for its architecture, and the best way to see and appreciate the Second City’s structures is by cruising the Chicago River. You’ll find no shortage of options when choosing a cruise provider.
- Willis Tower: Built in 1973, the Willis Tower (known as the Sears Tower until 2009) was the world’s tallest building for 25 years. Today, you can visit the top of the Tower for a bird’s-eye view of the world below. Willis Tower may no longer be the world’s tallest, but it still provides the highest vantage point in the United States.
- Gino’s East Pizza: Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pizza, and the best-known place to grab a deep-dish pie is Gino’s East. Stop by and visit one of their locations and enjoy one of Chicago’s hallmark cuisines.
- Magnificent Mile: Discover the portion of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue known as the “Magnificent Mile.” The Magnificent Mile is well-known for its world-class shopping. Find fashion, electronics, cosmetics, home furnishings and more, as well as hotels and restaurants.
- Beaches: Don’t leave Chicago in summer without visiting one of the Lake Michigan beaches. These beaches are crowded during the hottest months of the years — and for good reason. They’re among the best ways to make the most of Chicago in summer.
- Museums: Don't miss the Chicago museum scene, where you can step into history, nature and science in ways you can't in other major cities. Start with the Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago — where Ferris Bueller and his friends ponder Georges Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”
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