Chicago in November

(12 Posts)
FlowerOfTheWest Sat 30-Apr-16 21:18:46

I'm really keen to go on a US city break later this year, and as I'm lucky enough to have been to NYC, Boston, Washington DC and San Francisco before, this time I am considering Chicago. I've read up a bit on stuff to do, and as it's good for museums, theatre, architecture etc I think I'd really like it there. However, would I be crazy to go in November (early Nov, not around Thanksgiving) ? Will it be freezing? I live in Scotland so I'm used to cold but I do like to walk a lot on a city break and I'm wondering if the temperature would put me off doing this.
Also as it's an 8 hour flight I'm thinking of going for a week to ten days to make the most of it, would that be too long for just Chicago itself? Are there any nice places nearby where I could spend a couple of days (that I could get to on public transport as I don't drive)? I've googled a bit but most of the suggestions are for lakeside getaways which are not really suitable in the winter or other cities (think Madison, Wisconsin was one). I don't mind going to another city but it'd be nice to have a contrast.
Lastly, if anyone can suggest good areas in Chicago to stay in (close to public transport, nice cafes and restaurants close by etc) that would be great. I'm going to look for an Air BnB apartment but don't really know where to start. It's the first trip I'll be making to the US by myself and for some reason it feels a lot more daunting than travelling solo in Europe!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 30-Apr-16 21:48:41

Average temperature in November is between 40 and 56 degrees F.

I tend to stay in the downtown area of Chicago near Michigan Avenue (the Miracle Mile). Plenty of shops and restaurants around there and I usually go there for a week. You may also want to look at purchasing a Chicago City Pass online as this will save you money on admission to some of their museums.

Would stick to hotel accommodation rather than use Airbnb; the city of Chicago is clamping down hard on such rentals as many are actually illegal. Such sites as well do not check the veracity of listings.

FlowerOfTheWest Sat 30-Apr-16 21:53:42

Thanks for the reply Attila, it doesn't sound like it would be too cold then, so that's good.
Good to know about the AirBnB situation, I've read similar about NYC but didn't realise it was a problem in Chicago too. I'll have a look at hotels instead.
Thanks for the tips!

RusholmeRuffian Mon 02-May-16 12:25:26

It's usually chilly but not unbearable in November. I usually stay near the Magnificent Mile or in The Loop, both have loads of places to eat and shop and are close to L stations if you want to explore further afield. I love Chicago but 10 days there in November might be a bit too long. You could always look at internal flights to other cities and make it a two city holiday.

snowman1 Mon 02-May-16 12:49:11

I am in Toronto, so the weather shouldn't be too bad in Nov, but you will miss the fall colours and won't have the atmosphere of the snow. Things tend to not look their best. If you are in Scotland I would still bring my warmest coat and gloves and you should be fine. If you want apartment style, there are 2 homewood suites downtown which are fantastic. They have a separate kitchens and bedrooms. I stayed here in March with my 3 and 5 year old and it worked out really well.
Lakeside would be lovely but you are looking at winterized places at that time of year (some don't have sufficient insulation to keep the place warm and pipes from freezing) and upstate Michigan can be very remote and I can't imagine doing it on public transport.
You do have enough to do for 10 days in Chicago but you could do fly in to Chicago and out of somewhere else. Chicago is fairly well served ( in US terms) by trains, so you could head to Memphis (10 hours) or get on a plane again. If you are flying from Scotland, you are likely to be connecting anyways but you can fly to Charleston, or Savannah direct might be a nice contrast. Then you will likely connect out of Atlanta on the way back.

FlowerOfTheWest Mon 02-May-16 12:52:46

Thanks Rusholme. I'm currently pondering flying from Chicago to Miami/Florida Keys for the second part of the holiday for a complete contrast and some warmer weather. I can take up to three weeks' holiday in total but sounds like 5-7 days in Chicago might be enough time.

FlowerOfTheWest Mon 02-May-16 12:56:36

And thank you too snowman1 for the advice and apartment recommendation. Funnily enough I was reading up on Charleston yesterday, it sounds really nice and I'd love the historic sights, so that's another option. I'm spoilt for choice which is great!

snowman1 Mon 02-May-16 13:14:05

It seems like you've seen loads of the north, the South is completely different and I went away thinking so this is why they always talk about the civil war! I believe St Augustine is amazing too if you are thinking Florida. Keys are fantastic but don't underestimate your distances. Miami won't need a car but the Keys probably will.

FlowerOfTheWest Mon 02-May-16 13:35:38

I was hoping to be able to get a bus from Miami to Key West but maybe that's not the best plan? I need to do more research into the practicalities.
It would be nice to see some of the South. Another option is to leave Chicago for another time, fly into Washington DC and from there head south to Charleston and Florida. It's been years since I went to DC so I'd happily go back but Chicago does sound great so not sure if I want to skip it altogether.

NewgatesKnockers Tue 03-May-16 20:06:35

I highly recommend Charleston - but I live there, so am biased grin,

FlowerOfTheWest Tue 03-May-16 21:03:36

Ooh, any recommendations for things to do and see NewgatesKnockers? Seems Charleston could still be quite a nice temperature in November too and warmer than Scotland in May.

NewgatesKnockers Fri 06-May-16 01:28:02

The weather in November is actually really nice! Much more comfortable than August.
Things to do... There are a few plantations to visit, Drayton Hall, Middleton, and Magnolia, although that time of the year the grounds are not at their best.
USS Yorktown, SC Aquarium, Charkeston Museum. There are lots of houses downtown that you can visit, the City Market, shopping on King Street.
Loads of really great restaurants - you have to try some good Low Country cooking!

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