One of the most fun cities in the USA turns Irish green on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, even its river turns green.
Chicago goes big. There’s a huge, lively parade in this old town that begins with the dyeing of the Chicago River.
The river goes green with an environmentally-friendly dye at 9 a.m., at the intersection of Michigan Ave., and Wacker Drive (in the past this has always been at 10:45). At noon the parade starts; it goes through Grant Park, runs north along Columbus Drive, beginning at Balbo Drive and ends at Monroe Drive.
The prime viewing locations are along the river between Michigan Ave., and Columbus Drive.
Tip: Dress warmly and duck into a lot of Irish pubs (keep reading on that last point). It’s often cold for this parade. The weather for 2018 is a high of just 38 (and a low of 29), tho with mostly sunny skies after a week of rain.
The parade is always the Saturday prior to the actual St. Patrick’s Day. For 2022, the parade is Saturday, March 12.
For those still able to see through their Irish eyes at night, the Navy Pier St. Patrick’s Day Fireworks are at 7 p.m. It’s a 10-minute show with Celtic music and Irish artists at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
If that’s not enough, there’s two more parades. The South Side Irish Parade is Sunday, March 16th. Starting at noon, it launches at the corner of 104th Street and Western Avenue at noon and has more than 15,000 marchers and 250,000 spectators. It is considered to be the largest neighborhood-based St. Patrick’s Day parade in the U.S.
The Northwest Side Irish Parade is also on the 10th. The newest of the annual parades, it rolls at 11 a.m., from 6333 North Northwest Highway.
Best Chicago Irish Restaurants & Irish Bars On St. Patrick’s Day
Irish restaurants in Chicago include The Gage ((24 South Michigan Avenue) featuring Irish items with a twist and the Irish Oak (3511 North Clark Street) with traditional Irish pub fare and brews.
Some of Chicago’s best Irish pubs are in the Loop: Celtic Crossings (751 North Clark Street), Fado (100 West Grand Avenue), and Emerald Loop (216 North Wabash).
And keep in mind that no mater the weather, the parade must go on in the Windy City.