St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is truly an experience. There’s events happening all over the city but Chi-Town is truly at her greenest downtown.
It’s where the river meets the lake where those first, most verdant hints of spring are the most glorious. So let’s raise a glass of green brew to the warming weather and the coming of spring!
Here are the best things to do around Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day!
CHICAGO RIVER GOES GREEN
The Chicago River is a major artery in the heart of our city. On St. Patrick’s Day they dye it green. Enthusiastically described by the Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee as a “modern day miracle,” it certainly is a sight to behold.
The 40 year-old tradition goes like this: Chicago Journeymen Plumbers board zipping motorboats and splash a mysterious (but harmless, we’re assured) orange-looking dye into the murky depths of the Chicago River near the intersections of Michigan Ave. and Wacker Dr. Upon contact with water, the dye turns a lime green reminiscent of the emerald hills of Ireland.
This is a free event and a popular one! It starts and 9 a.m., but we wouldn’t wait until the last minute if you want to see the magic.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
Upon the conclusion of the river festivities, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is scheduled to begin 12 p.m. at Columbus Dr. and Balbo. Thrillist recommends the event, describing it as “the city's big, noisy, fun-filled homage to the Irish.”
Emerald-clad revelers can expect to see colorful floats waving green, white and orange flags accompanied by troops of Irish step dancers. You’ll hear booming marching bands and bagpipers. Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is, indeed, a corned-beef-and-cabbage-like feast for the senses.
Taking public transportation to the event is highly recommended as traffic will be heavy and many streets will be closed downtown.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY ARCHITECTURE TOUR
Skim across the newly-minted green river courtesy of Shoreline Sightseeing. Their St. Patrick’s Day Architecture Tour takes you through Chicago’s concrete canyons. Shoreline is known for its delightful and insightful views of the Windy City, but this tour will be Irish-themed. And you know what that means: beer!
The St. Patrick’s Day Architecture Tour includes complimentary bagels and a cash bar pouring green beer and Irish libations. The bite of winter has hardly softened when it’s time to party in Chicago. St. Patrick’s Day is really something special in the Windy City. Check out the best events near Lakeshore East!