April in Chicago: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Everything You Need to Know for A Great Time During Your Stay in April

Chicago River
Enjoy spring along the Chicago River.

Bjarte Rettedal / Getty Images

Flowers are blooming and everybody has a lighter pep in their step. The baseball season is back in action. But even if you're not a baseball fan, there's so much more happening in Chicago if you plan on visiting in April.

Be aware, however, this month is fickle when it comes to weather. There might be warm and sunny days, perfect for visiting one of Chicago's famous beaches and taking a walking Chinatown food tour. The temps could also drop, but April 2020 offers interesting indoor events such as International Tom Hanks Day and the Chicago Latino Film Festival. Snow is possible as well, so plan for everything and be ready for whatever the Windy City throws your way.

Chicago Weather in April

Compared to the winter season, April can be pleasant and the gray blanket that has been covering the city for months has nearly disappeared. You'll likely still need a jacket or a warm sweater, with the average high temperature being 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius) and the average low being 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). On average, precipitation for the month is 3.5 inches, there are 13 hours of sunlight per day, and humidity is 64.9 percent.

The wind picks up in Chicago in April and you can expect rain for about 10 to 12 days of the month. The temperature also drops when the sun sets, and it can be quite chilly outside. It's helpful to check the daily (and hourly) forecast while visiting the city because the weather can abruptly change.

What to Pack

Since Chicago weather can be unpredictable, layers are your best bet for staying comfortable while exploring the city's attractions. Don’t forget a lined spring coat, sweaters, and scarves. April can have a lot of rain, so bring boots or galoshes to keep your feet warm and dry and pack an umbrella and water-resistant jacket.

You'll likely do some walking while in the city; bring closed-toed shoes that are comfortable for logging several miles. Chicago is also notorious for dramatically dropping or increasing in temperature by 20 degrees or more in one day. Have sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat easily accessible for those bright days. Be prepared for wind as well—protecting your face is necessary on some April days. If you plan on spending time by Lake Michigan, be sure to dress in extra warm layers because the temperature can be cooler there.

April Events in Chicago

The city starts to come alive in the spring. You'll see more people walking around neighborhood streets, shopping, visiting the Museum Campus, riding bikes along the shore, and checking out new seasonal menus at local restaurants. In 2021, some annual events may be postponed, held virtually, or canceled, so be sure to check the organizer's official website for the latest details.

  • Chicago Latino Film Festival: The Latino Cultural Center of Chicago will present a wide variety of thought-provoking films at the 37th annual event from April 8 to 18, 2021, which will be screened virtually. New and seasoned filmmakers celebrate the best of Latino culture through over 100 films in drama, comedy, LQBTQ+, horror, documentary, action, animation, and other genres.
  • Chicago Rum Festival: Also known as the Midwest Rum Fest, this annual event has been postponed to April 30, 2022. It is typically held at Venue SIX10 and highlights dozens of varieties of rum in an educational setting with tastings, seminars, and guest speakers. Industry professionals can take part in the Spirit Industry Session, while everyday rum fans can attend the General Admission Grand Tasting Session.
  • Baconfest Chicago: Each April, bacon lovers gather at UIC Dorin Forum to taste creative dishes made by local chefs that include the popular cured meat. The event has not yet been rescheduled for 2021. Drink tickets are included in the admission price so you can sample complimentary liquor as well. Please note: children ages 10 and under are not permitted inside the event. A portion of Baconfest Chicago's proceeds goes toward the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
  • ChiTeen Lit Fest: Check out the fifth annual literary festival aimed at teenagers, which is held at Columbia College and the Chicago Cultural Center. It is usually held in April, but in 2021 the event has been rescheduled for May 16 to 22. Teens can meet published authors, create stories through poetry, comics, music, art, video, and more, as well as network with others that share similar interests.
  • International Tom Hanks Day: On April 3, 2021, celebrate the famous actor Tom Hanks and raise money for Lifeline Energy—his charity of choice—during a virtual event. Guests can also watch Hanks in some films and participate in a raffle with items autographed by the actor.
  • The Black Women's EXPO Next: African American women can head to McCormick Place at Museum Campus for talks, live music performances, networking, and fashion shows as part of a national event that hits many cities. The gathering also offers a chance to shop from hundreds of vendors, visit beauty consultants, and more. This event has been postponed until August 2021.

April Travel Tips

  • The weather should be finally warm enough to enjoy outdoors during one of the many food tours which include walking and biking—from stopping by various pizzerias to exploring Chinatown eateries on foot. However, be prepared with a rain jacket and comfortable water-resistant shoes.
  • If a rainstorm comes, there is a chance you may have flight or travel problems; check out these nice spots to dine and drink if you get stranded at Midway or O'Hare airports.
  • Summer is the peak season for festivals and tourism, so you can expect hotel prices to be relatively decent during April. But hotels near Wrigley Field—where the Chicago Cubs play baseball—have increased prices due to baseball season kicking off at the tail end of March.