The Best Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Channel the spirit of the Irish as Chicago turns green for St. Patrick’s Day!  Whether you’re of Irish heritage or not, it’s time to celebrate this long-standing tradition.  Our most beloved city is ready to host some unforgettable events as festivals, parades, bar crawls and more take over the town to showcase the best of a proud, Irish culture.  So, come out, and be a part of Chicago’s grand spectacle!

St. Patrick’s Day Events Around Chicago

Here are some of the best ways you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago:   

Dyeing of the Chicago River

When:  Saturday, March 17th at 9 a.m.

Where: Chicago River at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, Loop

Before Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off, the long-standing tradition of dyeing the Chicago River to represent the Emerald Isle will paint the town green, so to speak, as the waters light up with the bright green dye for a splash of festive merriment for the entire day of celebrations.  Just be sure to pick your spot on the river early to catch the best views.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

When:  Saturday, March 17th at noon

Where:   East Garfield Park

After the dyeing of the Chicago River, the city’s biggest, most fun-filled homage to the Irish will make its way through Grant Park on Columbus Drive.  And, this is one celebration you won’t want to miss. The city will be echoing with the festive sounds of traditional bagpipes, drum corps, Irish dancers and so much more!

St. Patrick’s Festival

When:  Saturday, March 17th

Where:  Irish American Heritage Center, Irving Park

What’s a festival without food?  Celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day weekend with traditional Irish food, dance and live music after you watch the parade go by.  Come out, and make a day of it with the whole family. There will be all sorts of family-friendly events featuring Irish gift vendors, arts and crafts and activities for the kids.  

Chicago Shamrock Crawl

When:  Saturday, March 17th

Where:  John Barleycorn, Lake View

If you want to experience the truest sense of the luck of the Irish in the city, then you won’t want to miss out on this Wrigleyville bar crawl.  The day-drinking festivities start at eight o’clock in the morning with green beer and whiskey at a variety of Wrigleyville bars, including John Barleycorn, Country Club and Deuce’s.  Tickets include a T-shirt, a breakfast buffet and a gift card to use while on the crawl.

Shoreline Sightseeing St. Patrick’s Day Cruise

When:  Saturday, March 17th

Where:  Shoreline Dock, Streeterville

Cruise the brightly colored green Chicago River before or after the St. Patrick’s Day parade on this 75-minute ride through all three of the river’s branches.  Cruise-goers will enjoy an Irish-style lunch buffet, a full-service cash bar and a tour highlighting the role of the Irish in Chicago’s economic development.

Leprechaun Leap

When:  Saturday, March 17th

Where:  Cannon Dr. at Fullerton Ave., Lincoln Park

If you’re looking to burn off some energy and calories before all of the big weekend festivities begin, then it’s time to put on those lime-green leggings for the annual Leprechaun Leap. This St. Paddy’s Day 5K and 8K Run not only showcases some of the craziest, green attire and costumes, but it also benefits the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  And if that’s not enough to get your feet moving, how about the reward of a free Sam Adams? That’s right! Refresh with a cool, Irish beverage, or buy yourself a corn beef and cabbage plate at the finish line. 

Shamrock Shuffle

When:  Sunday, March 25th

Where:  Grant Park, Millennium Park

Trade in your winter blues, and dawn your best green running attire for this 8K through Grant Park.  Participants will receive a T-shirt, a medal and access to the post-race party where there will be live music and refreshments.

Do as the Irish do this St. Patrick’s Day, and have a few (or more) drinks, party, dance a jig and be merry!  We look forward to seeing all of you out there – just don’t forget to wear green!


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