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December in Chicago

Weather, events, holidays and notes for traveling to Chicago in December

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USA, Illinois, Chicago, Frozen river in city at night
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December Chicago Weather

  • Average High Temperature: 35°F (2°C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 21°F (-6°C)
  • Average Precipitation: 2.4"
  • Average Snowfall: 8.98"

Chicago weather in December can vary wildly from mildly cold to downright brutal. Layers are key, and a warm jacket is a must. Here are some other important things to know when traveling to Chicago in December.

December Events/Notes

  • Christmas 2011: December 25, as always -- this year Christmas is on a Sunday. Most restaurants and attractions are closed.
  • Christmas Dinner in Chicago: Note, I said *most* restaurants are closed -- here's a list of my favorite spots to get Christmas dinner in Chicago.
  • Christmas Around the World - November 17, 2011 - January 8, 2012: Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry gets into the holiday spirit by taking a look at how various cultures celebrate the winter holiday across the globe.
  • Chicago Outlet Malls: Of course one of the big activities in December is holiday shopping, and the area outlet malls offer great bargains that draw tourists from all over.
  • Christkindlmarket Chicago - November 23 through December 24, 2011: The largest of its kind in the United States, this German holiday market offers unique crafts and gifts for sale, a variety of entertainment, as well as German food and drinks.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo's ZooLights - various nights through January 1, 2012: Lincoln Park Zoo gets into the holiday season when it decks itself with lights, Santa's Safari, ice carving demonstrations, and more.
  • Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic - various nights through December 31, 2011: Brookfield Zoo also breaks out the Christmas lights as well as a laser light show, carolers, and more.
  • Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier - December 2, 2011 - January 8, 2012: Navy Pier turns itself into a "Winter Wonderfest" each Christmas season, featuring a number of different attractions, rides, and ice skating.
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