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January in Chicago

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


Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier
yuan2003/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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January Chicago Weather

  • Average High Temperature: 30°F (-1°C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 15°F (-9°C)
  • Average Precipitation: 1.8"
  • Average Snowfall: 10.99"

Chicago weather in January is definitely on the frigid side, with the daily temps rarely go above the freezing mark. Many longtime Chicago residents can recount many times the wind chill in January has dipped well below zero (the record being minus 93 degrees), so warm coats and boots more certainly need to make their way to your suitcase. Here are some other important things to know when traveling to Chicago in January.

January Events/Notes

  • Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier - Ends January 8, 2012: Navy Pier turns itself into a "Winter Wonderfest" each Christmas season, featuring a number of different attractions, rides, and ice skating.
  • Black Creativity at the MSI - January 25, 2012 - February 29, 2012: Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry holds this annual program highlighting various areas of science from an "African-American perspective," and yes, they get more creative than George Washington Carver.
  • Chicago Cubs Convention - January 13 - 15, 2012: The official convention for Chicago's Lovable Losers, the Cubs, it provides fans a chance to get up close and personal with some of their favorite current and former players and broadcasters.
  • Martin Luther King Day: January 16, 2012 - Local government offices are closed, but museums and tourist attractions will be open.
  • Snow Days Chicago - January 27-29, 2011 (subject to change): A free winter festival that takes place outside of Chicago's Navy Pier, featuring dog sled demonstrations, a "snowboard rail jam," a snow sculpting competition, and more.
  • Chicago Chinese New Year Parade - January 29, 2012: The Chinese New Year Parade celebrates the Lunar New Year (this year it is the "Year of the Dragon 4710") and marches right through the middle of Chicago's Chinatown.
  • Millennium Park Ice Skating - daily, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., weather permitting: Strap on the skates and enjoy some outdoor winter fun in the shadow of Chicago's Bean.
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