Chicago knows how to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day


Either come to Chicago, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the town rated tops n the country for wearin’ the green, or if already in town find out about all the events because they are likely to be happening where you are or want to be.

Don’t’ worry that you missed such neighborhood parades as the Southside one that take place the Saturday before March 17. They’re fun but a lot more happens March 17 including turning the Chicago River green followed by the big, downtown parade. Of course there are also pub crawls. a run, and two days of music and dance at the Irish American Heritage Center. Just bring something green to wear.

Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Photo complements City of Chicago
Chicago turns its river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Photo complements City of Chicago


The River  

Join the crowd at 9 a.m., March 17, 2018 on Wacker Drive (upper or lower) or on the east side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge to watch the river turn green with an eco-friendly substance poured from the boat that you’ll see going by. Best plan is to get there early.


The Parade

After seeing the river, find a spot on Columbus Drive west of Michigan Avenue between Balbo on the south and Randolph Street on the north before the noon step-off time.  Sponsored by Chicago Plumbers Local 130 UA and the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee, the city’s downtown parade always has politicians marching but there are also several Irish dance groups and Irish bands. For more information visit City of Chicago/Parade and ChicagoStPatricksDayParade.


Irish American Heritage Center Festival

IAHC’s  festival is a two day event of Irish dance, singers and music. This year it actually falls April 17-18, but sometimes it is held the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day if March 17 is not on a weekend. Typically drawing about 10,000 visitors after the parade and the following day, it goes from 1 p.m. to midnight. There’s also a crafts’ fair, Irish gifts and food and drinks available to purchase. Admission tickets are $15 or $12 if purchased before March 16. Youngsters age 12 and under admitted free. IAHC is at 4526 N. Knox Ave. Chicago. For tickets and more information visit Irish American Festival.


St. Paddy’s Day Run

Certainly there is a lot of drinking and also some eating. So a good way to work off the weight ahead of time is to participate in a 5 or 8 K run or walk in the Lincoln Park neighborhood just north of the downtown. Once known as the Leprechaun Leap, the event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 17 from near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Participants enthusiastically put together their green attire but they also get a commemorative shirt, and an invite to the post party at Select Steak House (2808 N. Halsted St. north of the Finish Line. For registration and other information visit Paddy’s Day run.


Lincoln Park St. Pat’s Crawl

Going from 3 to 9 p.m., March 17. participants of this crawl visit several bars in the Lincoln Park neighborhood starting at 2247 N. Lincoln Ave., To register and for more information visit Lincoln Park St. Pats Crawl. You Sat, March 17, 2018


Chicago Shamrock Crawl

Do the Wrigleyville bars from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 17. Participants can pick up their tees and other paraphernalia ahead of time. Registration and other info visit Chicago Shamrock Crawl.


St. Paddy’s Day Boat cruises

There are two cruises that leave from Navy Pier. The Irish-themed Architecture River Tour begins in the morning at 10:45 a.m. and lasts 75 minutes. For tickets and more information visit Shoreline Sightseeing. There is also the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Cruise which is a St. Paddy’s Day party on the Mystic Blue. It boards at 6:30 p.m. goes from 7 to 10 p.m. For reservations and information visit Mystic Blue Cruises.


The only problem with celebrating the day in Chicago is the abundance of good choices.


How to feel a bit Irish this weekend and next

“Faith and Begorrah,” it seems everyone is already in an Irish mood.

Restaurants, grocery stores and neighborhoods are taking the phrase “Go Green” seriously now through St. Patrick’s Day March 17.

Chicago celebrates St. Patrick's Day by turning the Chicago River green. City of Chicago photo
Chicago celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by turning the Chicago River green. City of Chicago photo

Here are just a few of the places in and around Chicago where you might hear céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) and Irish music, see Irish dancers and feel you ought to be wearing something green.

The Suburbs

Walk into any Hackney’s, a 76-year-old family run restaurant and pub this week to see how leprechauns expressed the family’s Irish roots and pride. The menu has lots of choices including the famed Hackney Burger but during the weeks leading up to St. Pat’s Day you might want to go for the corned beef, straight up or in a Reuben.

For Irish music with your grocery shopping check out the Sunset Foods stores in the northern suburbs.  Irish dancers will be at Sunset’s five store on March 5. They will be in Libertyville at 10:30 a.m., Lake Forest at 11:45 a.m., Highland Park at 1 p.m., Northbrook at 2 p.m. and Long Grove at 3 p.m.



The city has several St. Patrick’s Day parades but your first stops should be on Saturday, March 11, 2017.

Greening the River

The Chicago River at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Driver will be turned green when  vegetable dye is poured in at 9 a.m.

Downtown Parade

The city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has bagpipers, bands, dancers and dignitaries step off at noon from Grant Park at Columbus Drive between Balbo and Monroe Drives.

Irish Festival

Lots of folks go over to the Irish American Heritage Center at 4626 N. Knox Ave. after the parade for an all afternoon-evening party. Tickets: $12-$15 adults; free for children 12 & under. The festival continues on Sunday.


Neighborhood Parades on March 12

South Side Irish Parade
Time is noon from Western Avenue between 103rd St. & 115th St.

Northwest Side Irish Parade
Time is noon from Onahan School at 6634 W. Raven St.