October is a wonderful time to enjoy Chicago. With the peek tourist season having past with the summer months, you can enjoy the beautiful fall streets with the locals. Pleasant weather allows you to participate in the full calendar of festive events. While some of the summer traditions have ended, this month is still full of festivals, parades, and other Chicago classics.
October provides cooler weather, fewer crowds, but maintains a fun calendar of events! Below you will discover a guide to some of the best October traditions. Find a complete calendar for October in Chicago here.
St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest
September 29- October 1
Lincoln, Wellington and Southport in South Lakeview
Admission: $5 before 5pm, $10 after 5pm. (Free admission on Sunday)
This German tradition continues for another year in the Windy City. Grab some cold beer, bratwurst, and pretzels as you enjoy the authentic German bands and culture as the festival season and month of September draws to a close.
West Town Food Truck Social
October 6th (4pm-10pm) & October 7th (11am-10pm)
Noble Street, between Chicago Ave. and Chestnut
Enjoy some of the best Food Truck options in the Midwest, with over 15 different trucks to choose from. This Social accompanies the West Town Art Walk, and allows you to stroll though this neighborhood while enjoying so tasty treats and original art accompanied by live music.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Fitness Expo
October 6-8 (Marathon is on the 8th)
Fitness Expo hosted at McCormick Place; Marathon start/finish line at Grant Park
The Chicago Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors, and brings in runners from all 50 states and over 100 countries! Prior to Race Day, you will find the Fitness Expo, which hosts over 200 exhibits with Bank of America Chicago Marathon Merchandise, as well as the best in running apparel, footwear, and nutrition. The Expo is hosted in McCormick Place on Friday and Saturday, and is free to the public. The Marathon itself is Sunday, and brings thousands of runners and spectators into the streets of Chicago, and across many of the dynamic neighborhoods.
Columbus Day Parade
State Street: From Wacker Drive to VanBuren Street
For almost 50 years, Chicago has been enjoying this parade that has been sponsored by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. The parade is preceded by mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii and a wreath laying ceremony at the Columbus Statue located in Arrigo Park. Then over 150 floats and bands march down State Street.
Lincoln Park Zoo: Adults Night Out
October 12th, 6:30-10pm
Lincoln Park Zoo: 2001 N Clark St
Tickets: $15 ($12 for Lincoln Park Zoo members) /$20 at the door if tickets remain
Enjoy this night out, away from the kids, as you can visit the animals after hours! Explore the zoo with animal chats, live entertainment, and cash bars scattered throughout. Must be 18+ to attend.
Chicago International Film Festival
AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St
For more than half a century, this film festival has showcased short and full length films from 50 different countries, while also focusing on films made by Illinois locals. This festival has uncovered new talent and provided Chicago with a wide variety of films, accompanied by panel discussions.
Open House Chicago
200 locations throughout various locations
Have you ever wondered what really lies within the walls of some of Chicago’s most famous and finest buildings? The Architectural Open House is your chance to discover some of Chicago’s treasures, and during the course of the weekend you will have the opportunity to explore inside 200 of Chicago’s most exciting and mysterious buildings that are normally off limits to the public.
Northalsted Halloween Parade
October 31st, 7:30pm
On Halsted Street from Belmont to Addison
Register to suit up in your costume or enjoy the spectacle from the sidelines for this Chicago tradition. Known across the country for the creativity of this event, this is a parade you won’t want to miss.
Haunted Halloween Ball
October 28th, 8pm – 2am
Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier
Unlike some other costume parties you might have attended, this event brings in 3,000 ghostly guests to enjoy the panoramic views of the lake and skyline, cash bars, and multiple DJs who will keep the party going all night long.
Arts in the Dark
October 21st, 6-8pm
On Columbus Dr. moving North from Balbo to Monroe St.
This festive parade showcases Chicago’s diverse creative community through a nighttime parade. Featuring unique floats, giant puppets, live music, this proves to be a great experience for the whole family.
Spooky Zoo Spectacular
October 28th, 10am- 1pm
Lincoln Park Zoo: 2001 N Clark St
For the past 30 years, the zoo has provided kids with a fun, safe, and festive way to celebrate Halloween! Kids dress up in costumes and explore the zoo with their trick or treat bags to enjoy the live music, craft stations, and visit a haunted house.
Andersonville Arts Weekend
Various Businesses throughout the Andersonville Neighborhood
This Arts Weekend kicks off for the 15th year with the tradition of the Night of 100 pARTies!, as there are receptions and parties lining Clark Street. Throughout the weekend, enjoy the work by local artists and designers displayed throughout the neighborhood, accompanied by live entertainment.
Chicago Weather in October
October weather brings fall into full swing, as the temperatures begin to drop. This month has the first frost, and in some years, even provides the first snowfall.
Chicago quickly cools during this month, and by the end of October, the temperature has often dropped 12 °F (7 °C) from where it started. The temperatures reach between 59 °F and 65 °F (15-19 °C), with an average high of 62 °F (17 °C). On the other end, the temperature this month can cool down to 40 °F and 46 °F (4-8 °C) with an average low of 43 °F (6°C). An average of 18 days will reach above 60 °F (16 °C), and a few days will even peak above 70 °F (21 °C).
The pleasant fall weather this month has little rainfall, with 3.2 inches (80 mm) of rain over the course of about 10 days. Very rarely will this precipitation fall as snow. This month sees a decline in thunderstorms from the previous months, with about two days of thunderstorms, and the average wind speed is 10.0 mph (16.1 kph)
What to wear/pack for Chicago in October
With cooler fall weather this month, you will want to pack appropriately. That means layers! As with many other months in this great city, the weather can be pretty unpredictable. While overall October tends to be a pleasant month, you will want to be prepared to layer up with light jackets, sweaters, and hoodies to get you through the cooler hours and days. No winter clothing will be necessary this month (hopefully!).
You might even want to throw in a Halloween costume, as there are many Halloween traditions throughout the month. Comfortable walking shoes are also essential for your stay in Chicago. Be sure to throw in an umbrella, just in case.