Chicagoans, get ready to break out your green and embrace your inner leprechaun because St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and there’s no better place to celebrate than in the Windy City!
Chicago has long been known for its extravagant St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and this year will be no different. With the largest green-dyed river in the country and three St. Paddy’s parades, Chicago is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to celebrate the holiday in style.
Boston may be viewed as the hub for Irish-American culture in the US, but did you know that Chicago has more citizens of Irish descent than any other city in the United States? With over 250,000 Chi-Rish, it’s no wonder the city is home to some of the country’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Let’s start with Parades
Chicago’s first celebration kicks off Saturday, March 11, with the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. One of the country’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parades, the parade has a rich history that dates back to 1843. It was started by a group of Irish immigrants who wanted to celebrate their heritage. It has since grown to become a beloved tradition in the city. The parade officially became an annual city event in the 1950s and now includes over 100 parade entries featuring floats, marching bands, Irish dancers, and bagpipers.
The highlight of the day is when the Chicago River gets its annual dose of green dye at 10:00 am. Shortly after, the parade begins at 12:30 pm on Columbus Drive between Balbo Drive and Monroe Street. The river dyeing is a tradition that started in 1962 and has become one of Chicago’s most famous events. Be sure to get there early to catch the organizers working their magic from various boats. The parade will be broadcast live by ABC 7.
The following day, March 12, there are two parades: the Northwest Side Irish Parade and the South Side Irish Parade. The Northwest Side Irish parade celebrates its 20th annual occurrence this year. Parade Organizers will also hold an afterparty at Zia’s Social, 6158 N Northwest Highway. The South Side Irish Parade, originally started in 1979, kicks off at noon at 103rd and Western Avenue, marching south to 115th and Western, and will last approximately two hours.
But that’s not all! There are also plenty of neighborhood events to keep the celebrations going. Head to the Irish American Heritage Center for the St. Patrick Festival, which features traditional and contemporary Irish music and dance, Irish food and drink for purchase, children’s activities, and vendors selling Irish gifts. Or check out Shamrock’n the Block at Old St. Patrick’s Church, which hosts its annual pop-up Irish pub with live entertainment, food, and a heated tent beer garden.
March 17 gets festive
And, of course, no St. Patrick’s Day celebration would be complete without themed food and drinks. Many participating venues and restaurants will serve delicious Irish cuisine, including corned beef, cabbage, and specialty drinks. Be sure to check out Fremont Chicago St. Patrick’s Day and London House Chicago St. Patrick’s Day for some tasty treats.
Last but not least, gather your fellow leprechauns for a Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl to experience the energy and excitement of the holiday while exploring the city’s Irish pubs.
So, our fellow Chi-Rish, get ready to don your greenest attire, raise your glasses, and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like never before in the city that knows how to do it best!
Photo Credit: Stock Photo – Canva Pro