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The Ultimate Guide to Northern Lights Forecast in Chicago

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The Ultimate Guide to Northern Lights Forecast in Chicago

Are you eager to witness the mesmerizing and romantic Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis? You don’t need to travel all the way to Alaska or Norway to see it. Even in the windy city of Chicago, you can witness the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. But, before you plan your expedition, you must understand how to track and forecast the Northern Lights in Chicago. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide detailed insights on the Northern Lights and the forecasting methods for seeing the Aurora Borealis in Chicago.

What are Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon caused by the interaction between the Earth’s magnetic field and solar wind. Charged particles, such as electrons and protons, are ejected from the Sun’s surface and are carried by solar wind towards the Earth’s magnetosphere. As the particles collide with the Earth’s magnetic field, they create a luminous glow, which manifests as the Northern Lights in the northern hemisphere.

What is the best time to see Northern Lights in Chicago?

The prime time to spot the Northern Lights over Chicago is from September to April, particularly on clear, cold, and cloudless nights. The prime time to see the Aurora Borealis in Chicago is during the fall or winter season when the sky is darker and longer. September and March are particularly excellent months to see the Northern Lights in Chicago. However, it is essential to note that multiple factors influence the visibility of Aurora Borealis, such as your location, cloud cover, and light pollution.

How to see Northern Lights in Chicago?

To catch a glimpse of Aurora Borealis in Chicago, you must first understand how to track and forecast the Northern Lights activity. Here are some effective methods to monitor the Northern Lights activity in Chicago:

1. Aurora Forecast Websites and Apps

Several websites and apps provide comprehensive Northern Lights forecasts, including timing, intensity, and location. Some popular tools include:

  • Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC): A government-run organization that provides daily Northern Lights reports and predictions.
  • Aurora Forecast by Soft Serve: A popular app that forecasts the Aurora Borealis activity and alerts users of predicted activity by push notifications.
  • AuroraWatch: Provides real-time Northern Lights forecasts based on data from magnetic and solar observatories.

2. Social media

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can be an excellent source of Northern Lights activity updates. Follow relevant local accounts and hashtags to get the latest updates on Northern Lights sightings in Chicago. Some popular hashtags include #NorthernLightsChicago and #AuroraChicago.

3. Solar Wind and Aurora Activity Alerts

Several alert systems automatically send notifications if the Northern Lights are visible in your area, including:

  • NOAA Space Weather Scales: alerts you when the Northern Lights are visible in your area through their five-level scale system that categorizes the severity of the Aurora Borealis.
  • Geomagnetic Alert: An app for Android users, which sends alerts on Aurora activity based on your location and local weather conditions.

Where to See Northern Lights in Chicago?

Chicago has many perfect spots to witness the Northern Lights, including:

  • Adler Planetarium
  • Milton Lee Olive Park
  • North Avenue Beach
  • Otto Beach
  • Starved Rock State Park
  • Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve

Remember, you must select sites with little or no light pollution, so you can have a clear view of the Aurora Borealis.


The Northern Lights are a mystical phenomenon that can captivate and mesmerize anyone who sees it. The simplest way to witness Aurora Borealis in Chicago is to ensure you monitor Aurora activity using a reliable and effective forecasting method. With the right tools and information, such as the ones discussed in this guide, you can plan a perfect Aurora Borealis sighting experience that you will cherish for years to come.

The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Chicago

Chicago, the city of big shoulders, is known for its towering skyscrapers, sports teams, and deep-dish pizzas. But for those willing to venture off the beaten path, Chicago offers a treasure trove of hidden gems and unique experiences. As a local, I’m excited to be your tour guide to the Windy City.

Local Attractions: Hidden Gems in Chicago

While Navy Pier and the Willis Tower are impressive, they are not the only things that Chicago has to offer. If you want to see a panoramic view of the city skyline without being swarmed by tourists, head to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park. It is a hidden spot, the perfect place for a peaceful morning walk surrounded by nature. Another lesser-known gem is the Chicago Riverwalk. The walkway offers a beautiful view of the Chicago River and the iconic architecture of the city. Walking the entire stretch, you’ll discover the Riverwalk’s public art installations, fountains, and cafes.

Dining Spots: A Taste of Chicago’s Unique Food Scene

Chicago is known for its distinctive cuisine that blends classic American fare with European and immigrant influences. From deep-dish pizzas to Italian beef sandwiches, the city’s food culture is unmatched. Head to Portillo’s for their famous Chicago-style hot dogs or stop at Alinea, one of the best fine dining restaurants in the country. It offers an innovative and exciting food experience that you’ll never forget. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out some of the newer food spots that are shaking up the culinary scene in Chicago. Visit Super Fat Rice in Logan Square for their addictive fusion of Chinese and Portuguese cuisine.

Cultural Experiences: Chicago Style

Chicago is rich in culture, and there are plenty of experiences that will take you beyond the tourist hotspots. Immerse yourself in the city’s blues and jazz scene by visiting Buddy Guy’s Legends in the South Loop. If you’re a museum buff, make sure to check out the DuSable Museum of African American History, which gives a comprehensive history of African Americans in Chicago. Lastly, no trip to Chicago would be complete without experiencing a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The atmosphere is electric and encompasses the heart and soul of Chicago’s sports culture.

Local History: Stories from the Past

Chicago has a rich and complex history, featuring everything from infamous gangsters, corruption, to incredible innovation and progress. Experience the city’s past through the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s river cruise. You’ll glide past skyscrapers while learning about the city’s historical development and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. If you prefer a bit of quirkiness, visit the Jane Addams Hull House Museum. The museum takes visitors on an immersive journey through the life and legacy of Jane Addams, a pioneer of social work.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions: Chicago Unconventional

Looking for something out of the ordinary? Head to the Uptown neighborhood to visit the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge. It’s a throwback to 1930s Chicago, with a long history of famous performers. The lounge also has bullet holes on the walls from a Capone hit. Or spend a morning on the Chicago River with Urban Kayaks. Paddle towards the city skyline and into the city’s past while learning about Chicago’s history from a unique perspective.


Chicago is more than a collection of tourist hotspots. It’s a city with an impressive history, rich culture, incredible food, and countless hidden gems. As a local, I invite you to experience Chicago in a way that visitors rarely do. Take this guide with you and explore the city’s lesser-known attractions, try its unique cuisine, and absorb its culture. You’ll leave with a newfound appreciation for this dynamic city and a connection to the hidden parts of Chicago that only the locals know.

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The Ultimate Guide to Northern Lights Forecast in Chicago

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!