It’s almost time to enjoy the iconic parades and parties we look forward to yearly. Chicago’s famed St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will return this March, and there is so much to do! With it now just a hop, skip, and a jump away, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in 2023.
1. See the Chicago river dyed green
The river dyeing tradition is one of Chicago’s most iconic annual celebrations. Taking place since 1962, every year thousands of people line the riverwalk and crowd Chicago’s bridges to get a glimpse at the phenomenon. The Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130 will dye the river green and make sure that we are treated to the emerald green river we know and love!
The city of Chicago has announced that St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated the weekend before the traditional St. Patrick’s Day date of March 17th (which this year falls on a Friday). On Saturday, March 11th, the celebrations will kick off with the dyeing of the Chicago River. Starting at 10:00 a.m., the Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130 will once again turn the river emerald green using a vegetable-based and environmentally friendly dye which will then be followed by a parade in Grant Park. It’s a spectacle that’s not to be missed and the headline act of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans.
For the very best views head to the east side of the Michigan Avenue bridge or the west side of the Columbus Drive bridge. Alternatively, anywhere on the Riverwalk between State Street and Columbus Drive also offers a great viewpoint of the dyed river.
2. Attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade
After the river dyeing has commenced, the weekend is all about the parades and marches that take place across Chicago. This is another must-do activity if you’re looking to embrace the jubilance of St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.
This year the city of Chicago will host its annual official St. Patrick’s Day parade from around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. The parade will follow its usual route up Columbus Drive starting at Balbo Drive around 12:30 and finishing at Monroe Street.
The historic South Side Irish parades will then take place on Saturday, March 12, from noon onwards and will set off from 103rd Street and Western Avenue and proceed south along Western Avenue to 115th Street. The Northwest Side Irish Parade will set off from William J. Onahan School, 6634 W. Raven St., on Sunday, March 13 at noon and proceed along N. Neola Avenue to N. Northwest Highway to Harlem Avenue while the South Side Irish Parade will set off from 103rd Street and Western Avenue and proceed south along Western Avenue to 115th Street.
More information can be found at chicagostpatricksdayparade.org.
3-6. Join a St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl
The Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day for over 1,000 years and though today St. Patrick’s Day is a tradition around the world, it is nearly always celebrated in the same jubilant way the Irish do it. How is that you ask? With music, drinking, dancing, and, of course, a whole lot of green. For that reason, bar hopping is often a go-to way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, and this year there is a wide variety of Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawls offering a grand old time with your friends!
St. Patrick’s Day Lucky Charm Bar Crawls are taking place in Chicago’s most exciting neighborhoods including River North and Wrigleyville.
Take an adventure around Chicago’s coolest neighborhoods, looking for drinks and treasure while enjoying drink promotions, live music, and fun games at each venue.
Grab tickets to the St. Patrick’s Day Lucky Charms Bar Crawl in River North here!
Grab tickets to the St. Patrick’s Day Lucky Charms Bar Crawl in Wrigleyville here!
Another great bar crawl comes in the form of the Kiss Me, I’m Irish: Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl (2 Days). This is a Chicago bar crawl like no other! Kiss Me, I’m Irish features the best drink specials and the best bars in town, where you’ll drink and dance to your heart’s content. Participating bars include Hubbard Inn, Clark Street Ale House, El Hefe, Hopsmith, Spin, and Woodies Flat. Grab tickets here!
7-8. Hop on board a St. Patrick’s Day yacht party
For many Irish folks, St. Patrick’s Day is the most important day of the year, and that means celebrating it in style and splashing the cash. So if you’re looking to push the boat out on something a little bit bigger than a bar crawl, look no further than a booze cruise on the green river.
There are few more memorable ways to celebrate than on a two-story luxury yacht cruising around Lake Michigan. Enjoy a set with DJ Tecknique while talented videographers and photographers record all the special moments between you and your friends. Cover yourself in green, jump on board, and take in the Windy City’s sensational skyline with a drink in hand on Sunday, March 12th with an option at 11:30 a.m. or another cruise at 3:00 p.m.!
You can grab tickets to St. Patrick’s Green River Morning Booze Cruise here or the Patty’s Sunday Funday Green River Booze Cruise here!
Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day activities? Check out Chicago’s best Irish events here!
While St. Patrick’s Day is known for its binge-drinking scene, we ask that you please drink responsibly and get home safe with a designated driver, ride-sharing service, or public transportation.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]