The Essential Guide to Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

The people of Chicago take St. Patrick’s Day very seriously, and there are so many ways that this Irish holiday brings the city to life. Here’s your essential guide to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.

Dyeing of the Chicago River

Columbus Dr. & Wacker Dr.
Saturday, March 11, 9am

There used to be some concerns as to whether dying the Chicago River was bad for the environment, but nowadays, it’s done with eco-friendly vegetable dye (45 pounds of it!). Witnessing the river dying is a rite of passage for Chicago residents, and shouldn’t be missed. As it draws over 400,000 spectators each year, make sure to arrive early for the best vantage point! And if you miss the initial dye job, get downtown quick – it only lasts about 5 hours.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Saturday March 11 2017, 12:00PM
Columbus Dr, East Garfield Park

Soon after the dyeing of the Chicago River, switch gears (slightly) and check out Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s quite the spectacle with bagpipes, Irish dancers, and noise-making fun.

Northwest Side Irish Parade

Sunday, March 12
West Raven Street to Harlem Avenue

As if one St. Patrick’s Day Parade would be enough for Chicago! No, there are actually two more worth your attention, though you’ll have to choose which one to go to – they’re on the opposite sides of the city. Luckily, they don’t compete with the river dyeing and parade downtown, taking place a day later – on Sunday. The Northwest Side Irish Parade begins at noon, and ends around 1:30.

South Side Irish Parade

Sunday, March 12, 12:00 pm
Western Avenue (between 103rd St. & 115th St.)

There’s nothing else quite like the South Side Irish Parade, and if you’ve never been, we recommend this one over the 14 year Northwest Side Irish Parade. Steeped in history, the South Side Irish Parade focuses on family and Irish heritage. You can expect live music, dance troupes, and a visit from the parade queen.

Leprechaun Leap

Saturday March 11 2017, 9:30am
Lincoln Park
$21–$55

If you’re looking for some holiday-themed fitness, check out the Leprechaun Leap. It’s early enough that you could check it out before heading downtown for the parade! Benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository, this event has been known in previous years as the St. Paddy’s Day 5k and 8k Run. Come in your favorite green look, and participate in the seasonal costume contest.

Forever Green

Chicago Cultural Center
Friday, March 17, 6:30pm – 11pm

Celebrate Irish heritage with music, drinks, and dancing. It’s the perfect place to meet other young, Chicago locals. What would you add to our essential guide to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago? We’d love to hear what you’ll be getting into!

Author: Maddy Osman, an SEO Content Strategist who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, ChicagoCheapAss, shows young adults how to find the best deals and values in Chicago!