6 telltale signs that spring has arrived in Chicago

Written by
Chris Bourg

After a weekend heat wave that saw temperatures climb over 40 degrees and a seven-day forecast that calls for temperatures up to 55 degrees, it appears the irascible weather gods that rule over Chicago are no longer angry with us. But even though the vernal equinox is quickly approaching and atmospheric patterns are beginning to change, the true signs of springtime in Chicago can be found on the ground level, with people and businesses reacting to and anticipating the return of nice weather to the city. 

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People wearing shorts outside After five months of frost-bite-capable air, people are beginning to free their legs from the burdens of long pants and stroll around the city in shorts. With temperatures outside consistently reaching a balmy 40 degrees for the foreseeable future, Chicagoans are putting away the heavy winter wear and dressing (somewhat) more appropriately for the warmer weather.

Patio furniture at restaurants The calendar might say that spring starts on March 20, but everyone in the city knows that spring really begins when restaurants start taking out the patio furniture for outdoor dining. The only thing better than the food in Chicago is being able to enjoy it outside. We can again digest a boozy brunch outside with the pleasantries of nature, the way we're supposed to.

Ice cream shops opening back up The Original Rainbow Cone is already open for the season, and more ice cream shops will also be opening back up for business soon. People are craving frozen treats as a reprieve from the sweltering 50 degree heat we're experiencing.

The return of grass This might come as a shock to all of you, but lying underneath the foot of snow that's covering every parkway in the city is grass. Seeing vegetation for the first time in months after the snow melts is a reminder of spring renewal will soon return to our city. They'll certainly be a better sight than the yellow-stained snow.

People flocking to Lake Michigan If people were willing to jump into the lake for the Polar Plunge, then they'll definitely be excited to head to the shore when it's 20 degrees warmer. Looking east across Lake Shore Drive and seeing multitudes of bikers, runners and people just enjoying the weather in the parks, you would think its summer. Although when the average temperature for the past 3 months has barely reached the double digits, 40 and 50 degree temperatures might as well be summer.

We believe the nice weather will last Nothing says "spring in Chicago" quite like having nice weather one week, then watching the temperatures plummet the next. Sure, we'll get teased with some warm weather for a little bit, maybe even see some 60 degree days. But just when you think the cold weather is behind us, the fickle weather gods will turn around and punish us with some snow. We fall for it every time.

The clairvoyants who write the Farmer's Almanac said that when summer finally does come, it'll be hotter than normal, and then we can all start complaining about the heat. Only a couple more months!

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