St. Patrick's Day 2015

Celebrate Irish culture & tradition throughout Chicago in March
From raucous pub crawls to lively parades and family-friendly festivals, there is no doubt about it: There's nothing quite like St. Patrick's Day in Chicago. It's a holiday when the Irish taverns are packed, jovial crowds jam the city streets and the Chicago River sparkles brilliant shades of emerald green.

Throughout the month, both locals and visitors alike go green all across town in celebration of Irish culture and tradition. See the city's famous skyline join in the spirit as the towering skyscrapers illuminate with color too. Follow the movement to make Chicago the "GREENest City in the World on St. Patrick's Day" at

Between the neighborhood festivities, downtown river boat tours and Celtic performances — and of course the highlight of the holiday, the Loop parade and river dyeing ceremony — there is no shortage of ways to celebrate.

Browse the list of 2015 St. Patrick's Day events in Chicago below.


Dyeing of the Chicago River

Saturday, March 14
  • Time: 9:30 am
  • Location: Chicago River (Columbus Drive & Wacker Drive)
  • FREE
In what might be one of the world's most famous St. Patrick's Day rituals, 45 pounds of eco-friendly vegetable dye are poured into the Chicago River to turn it emerald green for the occasion. Actually, at first glance, the dye appears orange on the river's surface—but don't panic. Thanks to a little leprechaun magic (or, well, science), the hue transforms and seeps in until the whole river is a bright, beautiful green.

The dyeing of the river remains a beloved tradition for many generations of Chicagoans (it dates back over 50 years ago) and draws nearly 400,000 spectators downtown looking to catch a glimpse before taking in the parade that follows. The Chicago River keeps its coloring for about five hours only, so don't miss out. **Note the new location for the dyeing ceremony in 2015 is further east between Columbus Drive and Lake Shore Drive due to construction along the riverfront.


Downtown Parade

Saturday, March 14
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Columbus Drive (between Balbo Drive & Monroe Drive)
  • FREE
What's a holiday without a parade? How about one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country? Downtown Chicago's official St. Patrick's Day Parade is just that. Join in the Chicago tradition that celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Rain or shine, it begins on Columbus Drive and moves north through Grant Park for roughly three hours, beginning at Balbo Drive and ending at Monroe Drive.

Don your best green outfit—or a kilt if you dare—and embrace all Chicago has to offer for those Irish at heart. Plan on seeing plenty of colorful floats waving their green/white/orange flags high, troops of Irish step dancers in their requisite curls, booming marching bands and bagpipers, and, of course, many a novelty t-shirt.


St. Patrick's Festival at Irish American Heritage Center

Saturday, March 14
  • Time: 1:00 pm - 12:00 midnight
  • Location: Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Avenue)
  • Tickets: $12-15 adults; free for children 12 & under
Head north to the Irish-American Heritage Center, a lively 86,000 sq. ft. hub that contains a museum, library, art gallery and performance stage. Their annual family-friendly event includes contemporary and traditional Irish music and dancing (everything from the Trinity Irish Dancers and Shannon Rovers to the Wiggleworms), kids activities, an arts and crafts fair, and food and drinks — all under one roof.


South Side Irish Parade

Sunday, March 15
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Western Avenue (between 103rd & 115th Street)
  • FREE
An old favorite returns to Chicago’s South Side with a focus on family and Irish heritage. The Beverly neighborhood parade steps off at noon from 103rd Street and proceeds down Western Avenue to 115th Street. Line the route with 150,000 fellow revelers to watch the bands, dance troupes and parade queen, or stop inside the neighborhood bars to raise a pint with the locals. And just before the parade, the Emerald Isle Mile, a one-mile race, kicks things off at 11:00 am.

Northwest Side Irish Parade

Sunday, March 15
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Onahan School (6634 W. Raven Street)
  • FREE
Enjoy this fun-filled community event that celebrates faith, family and Irish heritage, and this year, a special tribute to community-based efforts on behalf of veterans and military families. The parade winds through the Norwood Park neighborhood, beginning at William J. Onahan School running south on Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway, then heading north on Northwest Highway up to Harlem Avenue. Stay for an after-party from 1:00-5:00 pm that includes a corned beef and cabbage dinner, live entertainment, face painting and raffle giveaways.


St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at Irish American Heritage Center

Tuesday, March 17
  • Time: 12:00 noon - 10:00 pm
  • Location: Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Avenue)
The Irish-American Heritage Center continues their celebration with a day-long event. Following a mass at 11:00 am, children and their families can look forward to live music and Irish dance — The Tooles, O'Hare School of Irish Dance, The Chancey Brothers, Mulhern School of Irish Dance and Without U2 — plus colorful face painting to get in the holiday spirit.



Sunday, March 1 - Tuesday, March 17
  • Location: Citywide, Block 37
  • FREE
Join ShamROCK Chicago and Tourism Ireland to promote Chicago as the "GREENest City in the World." ShamROCK Chicago was launched in 2012 to highlight the strong Irish influence in the great city of Chicago and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The "Five Days of GREEN Chicago" will light up the downtown's most iconic buildings, monuments and streets. Join in the fun by taking a selfie at designated ShamROCK Selfie Stations and your photo may be part of the projection lighting up the Block Thirty Seven building.

Forever Green Celebration with Young Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago

Friday, March 6
  • Time: 6:30 pm
  • Location: Park West (322 W. Armitage Avenue)
  • Tickets: $55-75
Forever Green is the largest St. Patrick’s Day party in Chicago and celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015! Join the fun with live bands, a silent auction, bagpipers, Irish dancers, a fiddle-off, and appearances by the Chicago Rose of Tralee, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen, and South Side Irish Parade Queen. Ages 21 and up only.

Stout Me Up! Northside Irish Pubs Tour

Thursday, March 12
  • Time: 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • Location: Paddy Long's (1028 W. Diversey)
  • Tickets: $30
Chicago has deep Irish roots and this town loves to celebrate its Irish heritage. Join tavern historian Liz Garibay on a walking pub crawl that visits four Irish pubs on the city’s North Side. Start off with a flight of stouts, then continue your beer education with a pairing of lots of Chicago history.

Siamsa na nGael: Celtic Celebration at Symphony Center

Tuesday, March 10
  • Time: 7:30 pm
  • Location: Symphony Center (220 S. Michigan Ave.)
  • Tickets: $25-55 per person
The 19th year of Siamsa na nGael kicks off St. Patrick's Day week with a showcase of the finest Celtic artists in Chicago and throughout the world. The program "Celidh-The Coming Together" will explore the Scots, Irish and African roots of Appalachian music and will bring together the Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, Old St. Patrick's Concert Choir, Trinity Irish Dancers, Irish Trad band, Special Consensus Bluegrass Band, Pipe and Drum Band, soloists Gavin Coye, Rodrick Dixon and Catherine O’Connell for an evening of performances.


Shoreline Sightseeing St. Patrick's Day Lunch Cruises

Saturday, March 14
  • Times: 10:00 am & 2:00 pm
  • Location: Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
  • Tickets: $49 per person
These popular cruises include a traditional Irish buffet, cash bar and a 90-minute tour of all three branches of the Chicago River. Feast on favorites including Corned Beef and Cabbage and Bread Pudding, and toast to the holiday with Irish beers, a Bloody Mary or Irish Coffee. Professional docents will entertain with stories of how the Irish shaped modern Chicago while you enjoy the scenic views. Cruises are scheduled before and after the downtown Chicago parade, the first from 10:00 am to 11:30 am and the second from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm.

Spirit of Chicago St. Patrick's Day Afternoon Lunch Cruise

Saturday, March 14
  • Time: 3:00 pm
  • Location: Shoreline Sightseeing dock at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
  • Tickets: $49.90 adults; $29.95 children
There will be a sea of green aboard the Spirit of Chicago lunch cruise. Take to the waters of Lake Michigan on a scenic 2.5-hour boat ride that boards at 3:00 pm and cruises from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Enjoy a festive buffet (from corned beef & cabbage to roast salmon), order a few green beers, and celebrate with music and dancing with the city skyline as your backdrop.


Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840

Tuesday, March 17 - Sunday, June 7
  • Location: Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave.)
  • Tickets: Included in museum admission (from $14-23, children 14 and under free)
One of Chicago's premier cultural institutions, the Art Institute of Chicago will kick off its newest exhibition "Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840" with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on St. Patrick's Day. A bagpiper and special guests will mark the opening day at 10:00 am on March 17. Head inside the museum to see more than 300 objects of decorative and fine art from 18th century Ireland: famed portraits, musical instruments, furniture, textiles and more. The expansive collection, which has pieces from more than 24 of Ireland's 32 counties, will be on display through June 7.

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