Yes, it does snow in Chicago. It is located close to Michigan Lake and witnesses snowfall in the winter months. Chicago has a cold climate because it is situated in the northern part of the United States.

The amount of snowfall varies each year. December, January, and February are the months with frequent snowfall. Chicago has extreme weather conditions, with summers being hot and moist and winters with freezing temperatures. 

How Often Does it Snow in Chicago? 

An average of 22 days of snowfall are recorded in Chicago every year. The number of days and the frequency of snowfall may vary from one year to another. Normally, the snowfall isn’t extreme and light dustings are recorded.

Sometimes the city also witnesses heavy snowstorms, turning everything white. An average winter season records 36 inches (91 centimeters) of snowfall. Lake Effect snow is the primary factor determining the snowfall in this region. If you want to know how much snow did Chicago get yesterday and today, you will have to use the snowstorm calculator for this or check our guides for recent predictions.

Chicago Snowfall by Month

Want to know: When does it snow in Chicago? Snowfall in Chicago is from December to February, however, the duration could vary depending upon the weather conditions. Sometimes, the snowfall could start from February and last up till March. 


December is the beginning of the winter season in the city. This month can witness various snowfall events, ranging from l8ght dustings to significant snowstorms. The snow-covered landscapes and various festivals become a top tourist destination in Chicago during this time of the year. An average of 7.6 inches of snowfall has been recorded in Chicago in December. 


January is the peak of the winter season in Chicago. An average of 11.3 inches of snowfall is recorded during this time of the year. Temperature normally remains below freezing point. The average temperature varies from 33 degrees Fahrenheit to 19 degrees Fahrenheit. 


February is also one of the snowiest months of the city. The Lake effect plays an important role in cooling the temperature. Snowfall can range from light showers to blizzards, as witnessed in 2011. An average of 10.7 inches of snowfall is witnessed during this time of the year. 

Chicago Largest Snowfall by Year 

The Chicago snowfall average can vary each year, however, some of the years recorded excessive snowfall. The great blizzard of 1967, January 31 to February 2 2011 Blizzard, and February 1-2 2015 snowstorm were some of the unforeseen weather events. 

Here is a list of Chicago snowfall averages from the past 10 years: 

  • 2011-2012: 19.8 inches 
  • 2012-2013: 30.1 inches 
  • 2013-2014: 82.0 inches 
  • 2014-2015: 50.7 inches 
  • 2015-2016: 31.2 inches
  • 2016-2017: 26.1 inches 
  • 2017-2018: 36.1 inches 
  • 2018-2019: 49.5 inches 
  • 2019-2020: 34.8 inches 
  • 2020-2021: 48.8 inches 
  • 2021-2022: 32.8 inches 

Is Chicago colder than New York? A comparison 

Yes, Chicago is colder than New York. Most people believe New York has a colder winter as compared to Chicago, which is not true. Although both of the cities are cold due to their location in the northern part of the country, NYC is far milder than Chicago. This is because of the fact that Chicago is close to the Great Lakes. 

Lake Michigan has a moderating effect on Chicago’s weather, making the temperature much cooler. On the other hand, NYC is present along the Atlantic coast and witnesses less seasonal variation. Overall, both the cities experience chilly weather and a good amount of snowfall every year. 

Where does it snow in Chicago?

The entire city may witness snowfall in winter months. However, some of the areas experience greater frequency than others due to the lake snow effect and other geographical factors. 

Downtown and Central Chicago witness frequent snowfall during the winter months. These areas have famous destinations like the Loop, Millennium Park, and Magnificent Mile.

The Lakefront Areas along Lake Michigan’s shoreline like Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, and Lakeview are also a good idea to visit to experience snowfall. The Chicago Midway Airport normally receives the most snowfall during the winter.

What to do in Chicago in Winter?

There are a number of activities to do in Chicago in winter. Despite the fact that Chicago witnesses very cold temperatures, the city is kept alive with various festivals and other seasonal events. Here are some of the things to do in Chicago during the winter season.

Skiing and snowboarding 

One of the best activities to enjoy your time in Chicago during the winter months is going skiing and snowboarding. The Alpine Valley Resort, the Chestnut Mountain Resort, and the Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports are some of the best places to enjoy these activities. 

Winter festivals 

Attending winter festivals may prove to be a great idea to have fun. Some of the festivals include the Chicago Christmas Tree Lightning Ceremony in Millennium Park, Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier, and Christkindlmarket. 

Theater and shows 

There’s no better way to get to know about a city without having a look at its literary and cultural aspects. Catch a show at one of the best theaters in Chicago, including Chicago Theater or the Goodman Theater. 

Visit famous locations 

Visit some famous landmarks to have a look at the city’s beautiful architecture. Don’t miss the popular Cloud Gate sculpture covered in snow when visiting the Millennium Park. Explore the astronomical objects at the Adler Planetarium or stride along the Chicago Riverwalk to enjoy your day. 

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Top Best Things to do in Chicago

Got your answer for ‘when does it snow in Chicago’? Look for our guides to know more about snowfall conditions in other nearby cities.