Spending St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago


Green Bay Packers fans aren’t the only green, gold, and festive people this month. With St. Patrick’s day just around the corner, March 17, you may start wanting to make your game plan. If you are planning to spend the Irish holiday in Chicago, there are plenty of activities to get you in the spirit.

When is St. Patricks Day? St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17 every year, this year it falls on a Friday.

What is St. Patricks Day? Celebrated since the ninth or 10th Century, St. Patrick’s day honors Ireland’s national apostle Saint Patrick. Irish legend says he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) by using a three-leaf clover, or a shamrock. 

Where to Spend it:

Watch the River Dyeing (March 11). Starting off a week earlier, the famous Chicago river will be receiving its green dye on March 11. It’s a free event kicking off at 10 a.m. but you may want to get there early to stake out a good spot. Good spots include the Chicago Riverwalk and the bridges between State and Columbus. 

The 61-year tradition uses a secret environmentally-friendly dye that the Local Plumbers Union fills the river with, turning it that festive shade of shamrock green.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March 11). Following the dyeing of the river, Chicago hosts the 68th annual Chicago St. Patricks Day Parade. The parade kicks off at 12:30 p.m. on March 11 so grab a spot to watch after the river turns green.

The theme this year is “Recognizing Workers Rights.” The parade will feature The Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band, who have been leading since 1956, Irish dancers, and a plethora of colorful floats.

The parade will be streamed live on ABC7Chicago.com and the ABC7 news app.

River Cruise (March 11). Want to admire the river a little closer? Consider purchasing a ticket for a River Cruise. Chicago boasts many different river cruise companies, all of which have St Patrick’s Day packages for March 11. 

Wendella Boats (21+ and $80/person)

Chicagos First Lady (21+ and $109/person)

Shoreline Sightseeing (Price Varies)
Visit to a Themed Restaurant. Chicago is filled with some amazing food and drinks. St. Patricks Day is no exception to this. The city holds plenty of Irish pubs and restaurants along the water. Explore all the city has to offer.

Bar Crawl. A familiar tradition for many Chicago natives is the bar crawls that happen all throughout the city. For St. Patrick’s day, there are a few to choose from. 

Chicago Shamrock Crawl (Wrigleyville, March 11)

St Patricks Day Lucky Charms (River North, March 11)

2023 Chicago Bar Crawl (Wicker Park, March 17)

Participate in the Shamrock Shuffle (March 26). The Shamrock Shuffle 8K run is a fun way to be festive while getting those steps in. The run will start and end in Grant Park making its way through The Loop on Sunday, March 26. 
The 8K run requires registration and costs $60 until March 15.

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