Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago with These Fun Activities

Planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago? It’s one of the most anticipated events in the Windy City and we are gearing up for one of its biggest celebrations of the year!

The city is renowned for dyeing the river green, hosting incredible parades throughout its neighborhoods and suburbs, and having a festive atmosphere.

Whether you’re a local or visiting from out of town, join in on the fun and make the most of this special occasion with our guide to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Read on to discover the best events, activities, and places to celebrate this cherished event and make unforgettable memories.

Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

The Significance of St. Patricks Day

St. Patrick’s day is not just about drinking beer and wearing green. The significance of St Patricks Day is that it was founded to celebrate Christianity and to honor Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?  Here are some ideas to get your Irish on and celebrate!

Attend a Parade or Festival

This year’s parade will be held on Saturday, March 11th. It may seem like we have the date all wrong, but the city always celebrated on the Saturday before the official St. Patricks Day, March 17th. 

The parade will kick off around Noon PM and you can view it at Balbo and Columbus Drive proceeding north to Monroe Street.

See the Dyeing of the River

Celebrate the day with a trip to the Chicago River, which has been dyed green every year since 1962. This year, the event will take place on March 11th around 10 AM and can be seen from Upper Wacker Drive along the riverfront.

The tradition involves using algae and a little natural dye from the pines along the shoreline of Lake Michigan to turn the water into a shamrock-colored green. The dye used for the river is certified environmentally safe by the EPA and does not harm wildlife.

If you are attending the parade or the dyeing of the river, take the CTA to get around Chicago because traffic will be ridiculous.  

Try Traditional Irish food and drinks

You can celebrate the day at some of the finest places around town. From restaurants to bar crawls, there are plenty of options for both tourists and locals alike.

celebrate st patrick's day chicago

Run the 5K Shamrock shuffle

What better way to celebrate the day than by running a 5K, nibbling authentic Irish fare, and cheering on the runners with the wind at your back? 

This year, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle will be held in Grant Park on Sunday, March 26th, from 8 AM to 2 PM.

This family-friendly fundraising event encourages everyone to cross the finish line in style with a costume contest and a DJ before heading over to the beer garden to celebrate!

Crawl the Irish Pubs

The Windy City is home to several traditional Irish pubs, which are popular spots for celebrating. You’ll find a few places to crawl within each neighborhood. You can also find bars like Tiny Tapp, Chicago Winery, and the Northman Beer & Cider Gardens along the Chicago Riverwalk.

Have a Brunch

Now that we are past the woes of pandemic closure, St. Patrick’s Day, or as we call it, Luck O’ The Irish, is filled with all things green. To celebrate the holiday, we’ve created this a clip of our top picks for the best places to enjoy a brunch.

Enjoy a River Cruise




Best Places to Stay for St. Patrick’s Day

Staying in a downtown hotel is convenient and helps make a memorable experience. With the sounds of Irish music emanating from the parade, people proudly wearing green and sipping their beer, it is a festive atmosphere.

The crowd in the downtown area gets quite rowdy with friendly banter and singing throughout the day and night.

Staying in a hotel close by also means easy access to many of the famous sights and attractions, from the Chicago River to Millennium Park and The Magnificent Mile.

There are several reasonably priced hotels near the Riverwalk and we selected a few for that very reason. These are our recommendations.

  • Renaissance
  • The Westin River North
  • theWit, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
  • LondonHouse, Curio Collection by Hilton

These hotels are more budget friendly. The locations are just a few blocks, or less, away but are a short walk to the River.

  • La Quinta Inn & Suites
  • Sonesta ES Suites
  • Hotel Chicago West Loop
  • Club Quarters Hotel

Final Thoughts on Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

These are just a few examples of the many events and activities that you can plan in Chicago.

Use our guide to mix and match experiences that appeal to you most. In these articles, you’ll find more useful information to help plan your visit to Chicago.

The city truly comes alive during this special time of year, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

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  1. Diane Molzan says:

    Sounds like a great time of year to visit Chicago. Thanks for sharing so many great tips.

    1. Tanya Taylor says:

      I am looking forward to it this year. Chicagoans will brave any weather forecast to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day ☘️