St. Patrick's Day 2014

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 shamrockchicago2014.com.

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 2014 St. Patrick's Day events in Chicago below.

DOWNTOWN PARADE & RIVER DYEING

Dyeing of the Chicago River

Saturday, March 15
  • Time: 9:30 am
  • Location: Chicago River (Michigan Avenue & Wacker Drive)
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.

 

Downtown Parade

Saturday, March 15
  • Time: 12 noon
  • Location: Columbus Drive (between Balbo Drive & Monroe Drive)
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. 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. Leading the way will be Grand Marshal John McDonough, President & CEO of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

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.

NEIGHBORHOOD CELEBRATIONS

Saint Patrick's Festival at Irish American Heritage Center

Saturday, March 15
  • Time: 1 pm - 12 midnight
  • Location: Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Avenue)
After Saturday’s downtown parade, head north to the Irish-American Heritage Center. Their annual family-friendly event includes contemporary and traditional Irish music and dancing, kids activities, an arts and crafts fair, and food and drinks — all under one roof. In addition to the live entertainment for Saint Patrick's Festival on Saturday, come back on Sunday and Monday for even more weekend festivities.

 

South Side Irish Parade

Sunday, March 16
  • Time: 12 noon
  • Location: Western Avenue (between 103rd & 115th Street)
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.

Northwest Side Irish Parade

Sunday, March 16
  • Time: 12 noon
  • Location: Onahan School (6634 W. Raven Street)
Enjoy this fun-filled community event that celebrates faith, family and Irish heritage. 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.

 

SPECIAL EVENTS & PERFORMANCES

Chicago Irish Film Festival

Friday, February 28 — Saturday, March 8
  • Times: Vary each day, see schedule for showtimes
  • Locations: Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.) & The Gallery Theatre
    (1112 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Documentary, feature, short or animated frame — this year’s program features a multitude of formats and everything from up-and-coming Irish filmmakers to an Academy Award nominee. The festival will screen in two locations (Music Box and Gallery Theatre), both of which offer unique cinema experiences in Chicago's neighborhoods.

Broadway in Chicago presents Heartbeat of Home

Tuesday, March 4 – Sunday, March 16
  • Times: Vary each day, see schedule for details
  • Location: Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph St.)
The music and dance spectacular from the producers of Riverdance makes its US premiere in Chicago following its world premiere engagement and sold out run in Ireland and China. Catch the high-energy tour de force as Heartbeat of Home brings its blend of traditional Irish, Latin and Afro-Cuban music and dance for a two-week engagement.

 

Irish Pubs of Chicago Trolley Tour

Thursday, March 6 & Thursday, March 13
  • Time: 7 pm – 10 pm
  • Location: Tour stops vary
Erin Go Beer! Connect with your inner leprechaun and learn about Chicago’s celebrated Irish heritage on this ever-popular annual trolley tour that stops at unique watering holes around the city. Inside each location, you'll have time for a drink while tavern historian Liz Garibay recounts the history of the establishment and its surrounding neighborhood.

The GREENing Journey

Monday, March 10 – Monday, March 17
  • Location: Vary throughout downtown
Gaze across the downtown landscape into a sea of green. Throughout the week, the city's skyscrapers and architectural landmarks will light up in various shades. Follow the "GREENing Journey" as it spreads from State Street, including the massive Block 37 complex, to Michigan Avenue, from the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Wrigley Building, and to iconic structures like Soldier Field and historic theater marquees.

Lightscape on State Street

Monday, March 10 – Monday, March 17
  • Location: State Street (between Lake St. & Van Buren St.)
Surround yourself in a multi-sensory experience on State Street in the heart of the downtown Loop. The unique light and sound installation brightens up the street planter displays, creating vibrant patterns of color choreographed to Irish music.

Siamsa na nGael: Celtic Celebration at Symphony Center

Wednesday, March 12
  • Time: 7:30 pm
  • Location: Symphony Center (220 S. Michigan Ave.)
The 18th year of Siamsa na nGael kicks off St. Patrick's Day week in a Celtic celebration of song, dance and story. Narrated by award-winning stage and screen great Martin Sheen, the evening will showcase songs of legendary composers and performers whose immigrant families shared stories of survival and hope that resonated through generations. Featured artists include singer/musical historian Mick Moloney, Chicago's own Irish vocalist Catherine O'Connell, renowned North American tenor soloist Rodrick Dixon, an Irish trad band featuring fiddler Liz Carroll, the world champion Trinity Irish Dancers, the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, a 100-voice choir of Old St. Patrick's and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.


Gaelic Storm

Thursday, March 13 & Friday, March 14
  • Time: 9 pm
  • Location: House of Blues Chicago (329 N. Dearborn St.)
House of Blues Chicago welcomes the Celtic rock group Gaelic Storm for two nights of empowering anthems and traditional ballads. With catalog sales of more than 1 million, the group has now had four consecutive albums debut at #1 on the Billboard World Albums Chart, most recently the 2013 release "The Boathouse."


Shoreline Sightseeing St. Patrick's Day Lunch Cruises

Saturday, March 15
  • Times: 10 am & 2 pm
  • Location: Gateway Park dock at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
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, from 10am-11:30am and 2pm-3:30pm.

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

Saturday, March 15
  • Time: 3 pm
  • Location: Shoreline Sightseeing dock at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
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 3pm and cruises from 3:30pm-5:30pm. Enjoy the Grande Buffet, music and dancing with the city skyline as your backdrop.

 

The Tossers

Saturday, March 15
  • Time: 9 pm
  • Location: Metro (3730 N. Clark St.)
Catch Chicago’s own Celtic-punk heroes The Tossers, a six-piece band known for their melding of traditional Irish and Punk Rock roots, at one of the country's most renowned independent concert venues. Formed in 1993, The Tossers have been the undisputed champions of Irish drinking anthems for well over a decade and their whiskey-drenched melodies will have you filling up your glass and dancing in the aisles.

 

Celtic Woman

Sunday, March 16
  • Time: 3 pm
  • Location: Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St.)
Celtic Woman, a unique ensemble of four young Irish women, combines Irish traditional music with contemporary pop standards and has been topping the World Music charts since their formation in 2004. The global music phenomenon visits Chicago over the holiday as part of their Emerald Tour, bringing the Emerald Isle's musical and cultural heritage to a world-wide audience.

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