One of Chicago’s biggest holidays is St. Patrick’s Day – whether you are Irish, “Chi-Rish”, or simply love a good party. There’s something for everyone in the Second City on St. Patrick’s Day, including several traditional parades, River and Lake cruises, plenty of authentic and modern celebrations at bars, pubs, and restaurants throughout the city, and the classic dying of the Chicago River (pictured below). Truly, there is no better weekend to be in Chicago and enjoy some Midwestern Irish hospitality.
Of course, dying the Chicago River bright emerald green is perhaps the best-known tradition – and one that is not to be missed, especially if you are new to the city. This year, the River is being dyed at 10:45am on March 15th – and most of the other festivities are also occurring on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, including the parade through downtown, which starts at noon and features the President and CEO of the rent Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks, John McDonough, as this year’s Grand Marshal.
Take public transportation to avoid parking difficulties and arrive early to get a prime spot along Michigan Avenue and bring snacks, since the parade typically lasts around three hours and the crowds may make it difficult to move about – but of course, if you already live in Lakeshore East, you can just stroll outside your building’s front door or even watch from your balcony depending on the exact location of your downtown condo.
In addition, the infamous South Side parade kicks off on Sunday, March 16th (also at noon CST), in the old school Irish neighborhood of Beverly. There are also a number of events happening on Monday the 17th, for those who want to enjoy the “wearing of the green” on the actual holiday itself.
What’s more, there are several Lake Michigan and Chicago River cruises celebrating the holiday that include Irish-themed food and entertainment along with stunning views of the city from various vantage points – definitely a unique way to enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The Chicago Irish-American Heritage center offers three days of family-friendly activities throughout the weekend, including traditional dance performances, dinners with homestyle Irish favorites, traditional and contemporary Irish music, and face-painting and other children’s games and fun. The March Madness NCAA basketball games will even be shown on big screens throughout the facilities, so sports fans can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without missing a minute of the tournament action.
Naturally, there are plenty of Irish pubs and other celebrations at various bars, lounges, clubs, and restaurants throughout the city. Metromix has a great rundown of all the parties, ranging from all day Guinness and Jameson-fueled events to calmer evening celebrations featuring traditional music and even dance performances. The Gage, the Irish Oak, Timothy O’Toole’s and Fado all have relatively authentic Midwest-style Irish parties within walking distance of Lakeshore East, but there are plenty of options throughout the city.
Erin go Bragh!