Chicago has a long-standing tradition of “going green” in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The festivities don’t just center on a weekend of parades paired with the annual dyeing of the Chicago River. They extend into Chicago’s communities, cultural institutions, restaurants and bars throughout the month of March.
Here are some of the ways to celebrate all things Irish this month — both old and new. And for more St. Patrick's Day 2015 events in Chicago, get a roundup at:
Come March 14, Chicago’s downtown will be a sea of green and four-leaf clovers as spectators gather to watch the Chicago River Dyeing change the icy blue waters into a bright emerald green color with the help of an eco-friendly vegetable dye. About 45 pounds of it! For those wanting a more intimate viewing experience, Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises is offering special St. Patrick’s Day Cruises prior to and following the downtown parade that begins at 12:00 pm.
It would be remiss of us not to mention the annual weekend St. Patrick’s Day parades that take place in the city and set the tune for the actual holiday of the patron saint of Ireland on March 17. A tradition now in its 60th year, the Downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place on March 14 along Columbus Drive. Parade-goers will witness a three-hour procession that includes music, dance, Irish kilts and lots of green ensembles.
Then, of course, there are the Northwest and South Side St. Patrick’s Day parades on Sunday, March 15. Chicago Irish communities and supporters gather to enjoy food, music and entertainment in celebration of Irish heritage. The South Side Irish Parade will kick off its parade in the Beverly neighborhood with a one-mile race also known as the Emerald Isle Mile. At the Northwest Side Irish Parade, the community will pay special tribute to efforts made on behalf of veterans and military families.
The Art Institute of Chicago, voted the number one museum in the world by TripAdvisor’s Readers’ Choice Awards, is timing the opening of its new special exhibition to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day. Why? Well, the exhibition, a first of its kind, explores the art and design coming from the Emerald Isle during the 18th century. More than 300 pieces – everything from paintings, furnishings, book bindings, sculptures, musical instruments – were brought together, from private and public collections, in this display of Irish artistic work. Don’t miss the ribbon cutting on March 17 when Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840 opens (exhibit is on display through June 7, 2015).
Leading up to March 17, the city’s iconic skyscrapers, monuments and streets will light up green over a five-day period as part of the ShamROCK Chicago project – an initiative to celebrate the city’s rich history of Irish cultural influences. The Chicago community is encouraged to participate in the GREENing of the city by taking a selfie in their entire green splendor at their favorite Chicago location or at designated ShamROCK Selfie Stations around the city. Selfies can then be shared on social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) using the hashtag #ShamROCKChicago. Video of the city’s greening will be featured between 7-8 pm at Block 37 on State Street beginning Friday, March 13 through Tuesday, March 17.
And what’s a celebration without delicious food and drink? The delights of Irish culture will be featured on menus at some of Chicago’s top downtown restaurants, including:
- The Gage (outside of the Fish and Chips, check out Bangers and Mash, House-made Corned Beef or the Corned Beef Sandwich)
- Kitty O’Shea’s at the Hilton Chicago (with regular menu items Potato Leek Soup, Pretzels with Guinness Mustard, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips)
- Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse (Sliced House-Cured Corned Beef Brisket with Stout Mustard)
- M Burger (Minty Leprechaun Milkshake made with crushed mint chocolates)
- Rebar Bar at Trump Hotel Chicago (reserve a table for great river views with their Shamrocktinis and Grilled Guinness Bratwurst)
- Weber Grill (Guinness Beer Can Chicken & House-smoked Corned Beef)
Neighborhood offerings include:
- Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant (where 4 days of festivities toast to the holiday with live music, grand Irish buffets and one of the city’s best beer gardens)
- Frontier (Guinness and Green Beer specials will keep the party flowing)
- The Dawson (opening at 10:30am with Irish Coffee, Scotch Eggs, Split Pea Soup, Shepherd's Pie and more)
- Smoke Daddy in Wicker Park (refuel with their Smoked Reuben Sandwich)
- Luella’s Kitchen in Lincoln Square (offering authentic Irish-based Southern dishes like an Irish Lobster Stew with Creole seasoning and whiskey cream)
Of course you can’t forget to stop by Fadó Irish Pub, where the celebration goes all month long (and perhaps even all year long!). Other party scenes include John Barleycorn with its Top O’ The Mornin’ Mayhem; Hubbard Inn which serves up a Breakfast Buffet with a Premium Bar Package; and Timothy O’Toole’s Pub where a full day starting at 8am combines green beer pints and Irish car bombs with spirited performances from the Shannon Rovers Pipe Band.
Once all the shenanigans die down, the 36th Annual Shamrock Shuffle 8K on March 29 will draw athletes, novice runners, and fans of all things Irish to sweat it out at Chicago’s biggest running party. A sea of runners all in green takes to Chicago’s downtown streets for a five-mile race full of energy and the luck of the Irish.