St. Patrick’s Day weekend will feature four events where you can celebrate free of admission. These events include three parades and the kickoff to one really big, downtown parade.
Dyeing the Chicago River
Sat 3/15, 10 AM
A world-famous St. Patrick’s Day ritual, dating back over 50 years, 45 pounds of eco-friendly vegetable dye will poured into the Chicago River turning it emerald green for the occasion. This event attracts over 400,000 downtown spectators looking to catch a glimpse right before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Early arrival is advised, the “green river” color will only last 5 hours.
Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
Columbus Dr & Balbo Dr
This is the biggest St. Patty’s day parade in Chicago. The parade travels north on Columbus from Balbo to Monroe, with a viewing stand located in front of Buckingham Fountain. All things that you would expect at a St. Patrick’s Day parade such as bagpipes, Irish step dancers, and shamrocks are featured here.
South Side Irish Parade
103rd & Western
For 35 years, the South Side Irish Parade has maintained a focus on family and Irish heritage. Located in the Beverly neighborhood, the parade travels up Western Avenue from 103rd to 115th Street. Attendees are encouraged to attend any of the many surrounding bars and pubs conveniently located up and down Western Avenue.
Northwest Side Irish Parade
Onahan School (6634 W. Raven Street)
The Northwest Side Irish Parade is a fun-filled community event that celebrates faith, family and Irish heritage. Running in its 11th year, the parade will start at Onahan School (6634 W. Raven Street) and run south on Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway, then north on Northwest Highway to Harlem Avenue.
Each of the events listed will draw large crowds who will be in full celebration mode. Public transportation is advised and strongly encouraged. To plan your route to any of these events riding Metra, Pace or CTA go to the RTA Trip Planner and type in your starting and ending addresses.
Also, keep in mind that Chicago has an ordinance prohibiting open containers. Any beverages that are purchased from the surrounding bars and pubs should be enjoyed indoors. So wear a lot of green, enjoy the festivities and travel to and from your destinations in a responsible manner. Oh, and have fun!