Chicago is, hands down, the best place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, outside of the Emerald Isle. While other cities may dye water in a fountain green or paint a green stripe down the center of the street, Chicago turns the Chicago River, that runs through the center of town, a brilliant shade green that makes all others green with envy.
Whether it’s green beer, green tea, green eggs and ham or the world’s best corn beef sandwich, here are seven awesome ways to celebrate St. Paddy’s day in the Windy City.
What: The Greening of the Chicago River.
How do they get that river so green?
Many, outside of the Windy City, have tried and failed.
The special formula that is used to turn the river a bright emerald green is a closely guarded secret. The annual tradition has been amazing spectators for over half a century. And, not to worry, the 45 lbs. of dye they use is an eco-friendly vegetable dye.
When: The dyeing ceremony is scheduled to kick off at 9 am, Saturday, March 12th.
Then Go Here…
What: The Downtown Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the largest in the country. This year’s parade celebrates the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising.
When: The parade begins at noon, Saturday, March 12 following the dyeing ceremony.
Where: The parade route runs on Columbus Drive between Balbo Drive and Monroe Street. The parade route goes north on Columbus Drive. For public transportation information, visit the CTA website. For additional parade information, visit the parade’s Official Website.
The South Side Irish Parade steps off at noon on Sunday, March 13th from 103rd and proceeds down Western Avenue to 115th Street.
Not to be left out, Northsiders have their own parade aptly called theNorthwest Side Irish Parade. This one also steps off at noon on Sunday, March 13th–so you have to pick your side–south or north–since they run simultaneously. The parade steps off at Onahan School (6634 W. Raven Street).
Pubs, Pubs, Pubs
“Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint and another one!”
Chicago has more than its share of Irish Pubs and Bistros from downtown to the neighborhoods.
- Butch McGuire’s (20 W Division St.) is the epitome of an Irish pub. For St. Patrick’s Day/week they pull out all the stops with their festive St. Paddy’s Day decorations that include leprechauns and more. This iconic Gold Coast bar has been bringing in the same spot for over 50 years.
- Closer to the parade route at Clark and Grand, you’ll find the authentic Irish Pub Fado (100 W. Grand). The pub that was designed and constructed in Ireland is the real deal with slow pour Guinness and made-from-scratch menu items including fish and chips. Doors open at 7:30 am. on Parade Day (March 12) with a full brunch menu til 11 am. followed by a Special Parade Day menu, live music, soccer on the telly, pipers and more. $10 cover.
- Also, not far from the parade route is The Kerryman, 661 N Clark St. This popular River North hotspot offers an all-day Irish breakfast, fish n chips and lots more along with your Guinness or Jameson.
- Long time Chicago gem Emmit’s Irish Pub is always fun but especially around St. Patrick’s Day with Jameson on tap and one of the best Guinness pours in town, 495 N Milwaukee Ave.
- Andersonville’s Lady Gregory’s Pub (5260 N. Clark St.) named after the famed Irish writer, offers a cozy atmosphere to hang for northsiders.
- If you’re heading to the south side Shinnick’s Pub is a beloved neighborhood dive that’s been around since 1938. 3758 S. Union.
Get Your Irish Up
What: St. Patrick’s Festival. This annual fest offers something for all ages with large-scale, family-friendly fun featuring traditional and contemporary Irish music, dance, food and drink, children’s activities and an Arts and Crafts Fair.
Where: The Irish Heritage Center in the Fifth Province at 4626 N. Knox Avenue.
When: Saturday, March 12, 1pm-midnight. Tickets are $15 for adults, or $12 for advance purchase if bought by the end of the day on March 10. Children 12 and under are free. On Thursday, March 17, there’s more with a day long (11 am. to 8 pm.) annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.Tickets, $10.
Don’t Forget the Corn Beef…
Chicago is serious about their corned beef–and there are many arguments as to who has the best. For our money, you can’t go wrong at Manny’s (1141 S. Jefferson). In addition to their killer corn beef sandwiches, Manny’s offers a special St. Patrick’s menu loaded with Irish classics.
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