Not sure what to do for St. Patrick's Day? No worries
- my good friend Meghan Lee will hook you
up. She lives for the season and she's the best tour guide
for a fantastic day in the city with family or
As the resident leprechaun in our group of friends, Cathy has
asked me to contribute to her blog regarding St. Patrick's
Day events. Chicago comes alive to celebrate one of it's
favorite holidays, with a variety of events and entertainment all
centered around the wearin' o' the green.
These events are all located in Chicago, some of them are
family-friendly, some are adults-only, but all of them are
guaranteed FUN and a great way to celebrate the holiday whether
you're Irish or just "Irish for a day".
ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE-March 12, downtown
In Chicago, the downtown parade is the official celebration of St.
Patrick's Day. The parade will be on March 12th this year, as it is
always held the Saturday preceding the actual holiday (March 17th).
The parade steps off at noon at the corner of Columbus and Balbo
and continues north to Columbus and Monroe (ends behind the Art
The viewing stand is directly in front of the Buckingham
Fountain, which is where most of the action (and crowds) will be.
The Shannon Rovers bagpipe band lead the parade, which includes
Irish dancers, Irish Wolfhounds, Irish musicians, the St. Patrick's
Day Queen, politicians, national high school bands, churches,
charities and more! Put on your green and head to the best parade
in the city! Mayor Richard & Maggie Daley will lead the way as
the Grand Marshals of the parade.
Take public transportation if you can. For further details, visit
the official website: http://www.chicagostpatsparade.com/
GREEN CHICAGO RIVER-March 12, downtown
The river is dyed green each year to commemorate one of the city's
favorite holidays. At 10am, boats stir up the dye and you can watch
as the water magically changes to a fluorescent green. There is
great viewing of the dying from the Michigan Avenue or Columbus
Street bridges. It's an easy walk from the river to the parade, so
you can go before you hit the parade route.
More info: http://www.greenchicagoriver.com/
MERCY HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS POST-PARADE
CELEBRATION-March 12, downtown
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day for a great cause! An easy walk from
the parade route, the Mercy Home party is at the Hilton and Towers
on Michigan and Balbo. There will be live Irish music, Irish
dancers, Irish food and drink! This is a really fun event for the
whole family, the kids love jumping around to the music and
Tickets and information: http://www.mercyhome.org/post-parade-celebration
ST. PATRICK'S DAY FESTIVAL-March 12,
This annual event is held at the cultural mecca Irish American
Heritage Center. A full day of top notch Irish music, dancers and
food plus children's activities. You'll hear many Irish accents
throughout the IAHC, and you'll experience an authentic day of
For more info and tickets:
CHICAGO GAELIC PARK-SOUTHSIDE CELEBRATION-March 13,
This celebration is a full day, starting with mass at 10:30am, at
the center for the South Side Irish in Chicago. Irish music, buffet
and dancers along with children's activities will keep the crowds
More info: http://www.chicagogaelicpark.org/
NORTHWEST SIDE IRISH PARADE-March 13,
If you couldn't make it downtown on the 12th, or just need to wear
your green parade gear one more time, this neighborhood puts on a
great parade to celebrate the holiday.
More info: http://www.northwestsideirish.org/
SIAMSA NA NGAEL-March 16, downtown
This event is hosted by Old St. Patrick's Church and is an evening
of beautiful Irish entertainment at the CSO. Narrated by Martin
Sheen, the evening includes traditional music, dancing and
storytelling as is the history of the Irish culture. (pronounced
ST. PATRICK'S DAY CELEBRATION-March 17,
A entire day of celebration, starting with mass at 11:30am, in
honor of the actual holiday. Take the kids out of school for the
day (that's the way it was done when WE were kids!!) and celebrate
your wonderful Irish heritage.
*ADULTS ONLY EVENTS*
*Note: almost every bar downtown will be crowded on
Parade Day. If you plan to hit the pubs during the day, have at
least 2 or 3 in mind in case you don't feel like dealing with the
crowds and you can switch locations.
FOREVER GREEN-March 11, downtown
Hosted by the Young Irish Fellowship Club, Forever Green is the
city's LARGEST St. Patrick's Day party, held in the Navy Pier Grand
Ballroom. Your ticket includes 5 hours of live music, bagpipers,
dancers and lots of beer and a guaranteed good time.
ST. PATRICK'S DAY DINNER-March 11, downtown
Hosted by the Irish Fellowship Club, this formal event is a lovely
way to get into the spirit of the season without the inundation of
crowds and green beer. This event is held in the Grand Ballroom of
the Hilton and Towers and includes a sit down dinner and dancing.
Mayor Richard M. & Maggie Daley will be honored at this
EMERALD LOOP-March 12, downtown
For those looking for an adult crowd after the parade, head east
to Emerald Loop (Wacker & Wabash) for a full day of Irish
music, dancers and all the green beer you care to have.
LIZZIE McNEILL'S-March 12, downtown
Lizzie's is one of the best post-parade bars to hit, as it is
located on the river just east of Columbus. You can go see the
green river, then head down to ground level and make your way to
the bar. You can't miss it, since they have blocked off the street
with multiple tents. No Irish music at this venue, it is all about
the party. Lines tend to be long for entry and bathrooms, so be
prepared to be patient.
BUTCH McGUIRE'S-March 12, downtown
The Irish mayor of Division Street has passed away, but his bar is
still one of the best places to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The
overhead train track is transformed into shamrocks and leprechauns,
and green beer is served in the giant steins. You can even rent the
only booth in the entire bar!
THE ABBEY-March 12, northside
You can take a bus from The Abbey to the downtown parade or just
arrive later for a full day of great Irish rock, bagpipers and
ALTAN & LÚNASA-March 13, northside
A spirited concert with some of the best contemporary Irish
musicians on the scene will be at the Old Town School of Folk
And if that isn't quite what you're looking for, you can check
the Metromix page of St. Patrick's Day events, as this is
continuously being updated:
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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