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

Cyclists riding along Lake Michigan shore with the Chicago skyline beyond, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, North America
Amanda Hall / robertharding / Getty Images

Although the heat of summer may have passed in July, the humidity of August and relatively low wind speed (for the "Windy City") keep things steamy in Chicago this month. Still, it's a great time to visit the city with plenty of special events and great places to sample the multicultural cuisine of the city.

The weather is warm enough to explore outdoors during one of the many walking and biking food tours or a self-guided architectural tour of downtown. With events like the Bud Billiken Parade, Northalsted Market Days, and the Chicago Air & Water Show, as well as plenty of free concerts and movie screenings in the city's parks, August is alive with action to celebrate the end of summer vacation. You can expect moderate to large crowds of tourists, so be sure to book your accommodations, reservations, and travel tickets in advance as many of these fill up this time of year.

Chicago Weather in August

The heat of summer starts to fade in August with the average high temperature falling to 81 degrees Fahrenheit while the low average dips to 63 degrees Fahrenheit. However, increased humidity (up to 88 percent with an average of 55 percent throughout the month) can make it feel much hotter than it is, especially because the winds die down this month, too.

August is also the wettest month of the year for Chicago with an average of 13 out of 31 days with some form of rain throughout. However, on cloudless days, you'll be able to experience a full 11 hours of daylight hours, so there's plenty of chances to soak up the sun on your trip.

What To Pack

Chicago weather can be unpredictable, particularly at night, so you should bring clothing you can layer to accommodate sudden drops in temperature or rainfall. A nice, thin sweater or sweatshirt will do. Check out Chicagoland shopping malls for additional apparel, including comfortable shoes if you plan to walk a lot.

August Events in Chicago

Along with the usual summer events like free movie screenings and concerts in Chicago's city parks, there are also a number of annual festivals and events that take place during the month of August. Among the most significant events that happen this month is the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, which is the biggest African-American parade in America and has been happening each August since 1929.

  • Millennium Park Summer Film Series: This annual showcase features hit films from the past and present, including "School of Rock" on August 7, "Coco" on August 14, and "Slumdog Millionaire" on August 21 in 2018.
  • Chicago SummerDance: At the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park on Thursdays through Sundays from June 28 through August 25, 2018, you can stop by for a free concert or DJ set and dance session.
  • Green City Market: A fresh, open-air produce, art, and baked goods marketplace takes shape in Lincoln Park and West Loop on Saturdays all summer as well as pop-up markets in Boxville on Wednesdays throughout the month.
  • Retro on Roscoe: Musical performances on three stages, antique vendors, artists, and local restaurant samplings take over Roscoe Street from August 10 through 12, 2018.
  • Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic: Celebrating African American culture, activism, and history, this annual event takes place on August 2, 2018.
  • Ravinia Festival: The oldest outdoor music festival in the United States features lawn screenings, kids concerts, master classes, comedy shows, opera performances, and special concerts all month long (as well as June through September).
  • Northalsted Market Days: This two-day street festival has four music stages and over 200 artists and restaurants on Saturday and Sunday, August 11 to 12, 2018.

August Travel Tips

  • For a great way to spend the days outdoors, you can also often get discounts for family tickets at the Lincoln Park Zoo, especially on weekdays.