Illinois Time Zone
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As a traveler in Illinois, it’s important to know about its time zone. Illinois is mainly in the Central Time Zone (CT). This state has big cities like Chicago and quiet places like the Mississippi River. It’s good to match your watch with local time to enjoy Illinois fully.

This guide gives you key facts about the time zone in Illinois. It’s useful whether you’re going to enjoy Chicago’s nightlife, drive along the Great River Road, or have meetings in Springfield. We’ll explain how the time zone can affect your travel plans. We’ll also give tips on adjusting to local time and some history about time in Illinois.

Get ready to set your watch and go with the flow in Illinois. Every hour is important for a great trip!

History of Illinois Time Zone

The time zone history of Illinois is closely linked with the broader history of timekeeping and time zones in the United States. Here’s a brief overview:

Pre-Standard Time Era (Before 1883): Before the introduction of standard time zones, timekeeping was primarily local. Each city in Illinois, like elsewhere, set its clocks based on the position of the sun. This meant that the time could differ significantly from one town to another, even within the same state.

Introduction of Standard Time Zones (1883): The widespread use of railroads necessitated a more uniform timekeeping system. On November 18, 1883, the United States, including Illinois, adopted the Standard Time System. This divided the country into four time zones. Most of Illinois was placed in the Central Time Zone, aligning with the time standard set by the 90th meridian west.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) Adoption: The concept of Daylight Saving Time (DST) was introduced during World War I to save energy by extending daylight hours. Illinois, like other states, adopted DST, although the dates and rules have changed over the years. Currently, DST begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

Contemporary Changes and Discussions: There have been occasional discussions and legislative attempts in Illinois to change the DST rules or shift the entire state to a different time zone. However, as of my last update in April 2023, no significant changes have been made in recent years.

Exceptions: It’s important to note that not all parts of Illinois have always followed the same time zone rules. For instance, the city of East St. Louis and some other communities bordering Missouri are aligned with the Central Time Zone, but historically, they followed the time in St. Louis, Missouri, which was in a different time zone for a period.

What Time Zone in Illinois?

Illinois is located in the Central Time Zone. There are no exceptions to the state’s uniform time zone for counties and cities. Illinois observes daylight savings time, so two distinct timepieces are depending on the season.

  • Central Standard Time (CST): – 6:00 UTC/GMT (behind)
  • Central Daylight Time (CDT): – 5:00 UTC/GMT (behind)

The significant majority of neighboring states (Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and Kentucky) are in the same time zone. However, you will enter Mountain Time when you cross the northern and southern portions of Indiana’s border (counties of Lake, Newton, Gibson, and Posey). The time does not alter when entering or exiting any Indiana county.

Read More: UTC Time Zone

Details About Illinois Time Zone

Details About Illinois Time Zone

Time zone abbreviationCDT – Central Daylight Time
UTC OffsetUTC-5
DST Started Date12 March 2023
DST Ends Date05 November 2023
Latitude42° 19′ North
Longitude88° 26′ West
Area Code+1-815 / 779

Daylight Savings Time (DST) in Illinois

Illinois observes daylight saving time per the Uniform Time Act of 1966. During daylight savings, Central Standard Time (CST) is replaced by Central Daylight Time (CDT).

It begins the second Sunday of March and concludes the first Sunday of November. In March, the clock is advanced from 2:00 am to 3:00 am, resulting in a loss of one hour of slumber. In November, the time will be set back an hour, from 3:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., giving you an extra hour of sleep. Clocks “spring forward and fall back” is a convenient method to remember the movement sequence. The cumulative duration of daylight savings time is approximately 65% of the year or 34 weeks.

Also Read: Denver Time Zone

When Does Daylight Saving Time End in Illinois?

After more than seven months of local timepieces observing daylight saving time, the time to revert to standard time is rapidly approaching. Illinois will return to standard time in the early hours of Sunday, November 6, 2022, with the conclusion of daylight saving time occurring at 2 a.m. on that Sunday.

While the time change will occur again this year, there is an increasing movement to eliminate the annual time change and adopt daylight saving time permanently.

  • Daylight Savings Time Started: Sun, March 12, 2023, 02:00 clocks were turned Forward an hour
  • Daylight Savings Time Ends: Sun, November 5, 2023, 02:00 clocks are turned Backward an hour

Schedule a Phone Call from Texas to Illinois

Scheduling a phone call from Texas to Illinois requires considering the time zone differences between these two states. Most of Texas is in the Central Time Zone (CT), the same as Illinois. However, a small portion of western Texas, including El Paso and Hudspeth counties, is in the Mountain Time Zone (MT).

If you’re calling from most parts of Texas (Central Time) to Illinois (Central Time):

  • There is no time difference.
  • You can schedule the call at a convenient time for both parties without needing to adjust for a time difference.

If you’re calling from the Mountain Time Zone in Texas to Illinois:

  • There is a one-hour time difference, with MT being one hour behind CT.
  • For example, if it’s 2 PM in the Mountain Time Zone (Texas), it’s 3 PM in Illinois.
  • You’ll need to schedule your call considering this hour difference.

In any case, it’s always a good practice to confirm the local time in both locations before making the call, especially around the start and end of Daylight Saving Time, as this can affect the time difference.

Read More: Missouri Time Zone

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Illinois in EST or CST?

Not only is Illinois located in the Central Time Zone, but Chicago is the largest city in the entire Central Time Zone! During Daylight Standard Time, Chicago is six hours behind Greenwich’s Mean Time (November through April).

Is it a different time in Illinois?

Difference from your location: There is no time difference.

What GMT time zone is Illinois in?

Illinois is located in the Central Time Zone of the United States (USA). The Central Standard Time (CST) of the United States is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-6).

Is New York and Illinois at the same time?

New York is 1 hour behind Illinois.

Is New York ahead of Illinois?

New York is 1 hour behind Chicago.

Does Illinois change the time?

Recently, in early November, the clocks were set back an hour, reverting to standard time as the winter season approached and concluding the daylight saving time period for 2022. Illinois will join the majority of the United States in advancing their clocks this weekend in preparation for daylight saving time.

Who has the same time zone as Illinois?

Alabama is one of ten states wholly contained within the Central Time Zone. Arkansas. Illinois.


To conclude, the Illinois Time Zone holds significant importance in the daily lives of its inhabitants and their synchronization with the broader national landscape. Positioned within the Central Time Zone, it serves as a consistent reference point for scheduling, coordination, and communication across various sectors.

Whether it is facilitating business operations, organizing transportation logistics, or simply maintaining accurate timekeeping, Illinois residents rely on the stability and predictability provided by their time zone.

Furthermore, the Illinois Time Zone plays a vital role in fostering connectivity and cooperation with neighboring regions, contributing to a sense of unity within the larger context of the United States. Overall, the Illinois Time Zone is an essential component of the state’s functionality and interconnectedness.