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The Weather in December in Chicago

Updated: March 8, 2024

This post is an overview of the December weather in Chicago.

We include temperature, snow, and rain forecasts, as well as tips on how to dress and things to do.

As a retired meteorologist turned tour guide, I now use my experience as a forecaster in my new career in tourism.

So, here are some answers to some frequently asked questions about the weather in Chicago in December.

If you have any questions about the weather in Chicago, you can find me in our Chicago Travel Tips Facebook group.

And, in the video below, fellow Chicago tour guide, Andy, provides you with some tips for visiting Chicago in the winter.

If you're going to be in the windy city either before or after this month, make sure to check our posts covering weather in November and January as well.


December in Chicago tends to be very cold and is often below freezing.

On average, about 26 days record temperatures dipping below freezing with 1-2 of these falling to 0 F (-18C) or below.

Early in the month, daytime high temperatures tend to be in the low to mid-40s F (5C to 6C) with a few of the warmer afternoons reaching up into the mid-50s F (12C to 13C).

By the end of this month, however, afternoon temperatures will more likely be in the low to mid-30s F (0C to 1C).

The all-time record high temperature in Chicago during December is 71 F (21.7 C).

Average Chicago Temps in December

Late night and early morning low temperatures during December tend to be in the low to mid-30s F (about 1C) early in the month.

By the month's end, they are more likely to be in the low to mid-20s F (-6C to -4C), when a couple of the colder mornings can dip down into the single digits F (-22C to -19C) or less.

The all-time record low temperature in Chicago during December is -25 F (-31.7C).


Skies will be clear or at least partly sunny on about 12 days during December with about 19 days considered mostly cloudy.

Measurable precipitation occurs on about 11 days this month with about 1 day, on average, recording 0.5 inches (about 13 mm) or more.

Daylight hours this month will average a little over 9 hours with the shortest day occurring on December 22nd.


Snowfalls of at least 1 inch (about 2.5 cm) typically occur on 2-3 days with snowfalls of 3 inches (about 7.6 cm) or more occurring on about 1 day.

How much Snow in Chicago in December

Seasonal Outlook - October to December 2024 Chicago

There is a 72% chance for normal to above-normal temperatures with near-normal rainfall.


Winter gear is a must this month so dress in layers with a medium or heavy jacket and also a warm hat, gloves, and scarf.

What to Wear in Chicago in December

A pair of good waterproof Boots and/or shows will also come in handy.


Below are the top things to do in  December in Chicago.

Be sure to read our full post on what to do in Chicago in December which includes more detail, as well as our definitive post on the best things to do in Chicago.

And if you are planning on visiting many of Chicago's top attractions, then you should consider a tourist discount pass.

These passes could save up to 50% of retail ticket prices to tours, attractions, and restaurants.

  1. Go to a sporting event.
  2. Attend a major concert.
  3. Explore with a sightseeing tour.
  4. Enjoy a theater production.
  5. See Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry.
  6. Go Christmas Caroling at the Bean.
  7. Attend a food or drink festival.
  8. Feel festive at the Christkindlmarket.
  9. Find the light show at the Chicago Zoo's Zoolights festival.
  10. See more for less with a discount attraction pass.

Be sure to check out all the top things to do in December in our main post.

Fred Pickhardt
Ocean Weather Services

About The Author

Fred Pickhardt

Fred is a marine meteorologist and sailed briefly with American Export Lines in the Far East trade. He has extensive experience in weather analysis, weather forecasting, and forensic weather event reconstructions. Fred founded Ocean Weather Services and currently provides forensic marine weather reports to the maritime industry.
Updated: March 8th, 2024
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