After the chilly months of January and February, the middle of March presents one of Chicago’s most well-known public celebrations: the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the dyeing of the Chicago River. Since 1955, these august events have been presided over by the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union and they’ve even found their way into several movies, including "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford.

This year, the parade falls on March 14 and the festivities start with the dyeing of the river near the Michigan Avenue Bridge at 9:30 a.m. It goes without saying that it happens come rain, shine, snow, sleet or other inclement weather, so plan accordingly. The best place to watch the dyeing of the river is along the Michigan Avenue Bridge or the nearby Columbus Avenue Bridge. It’s quite an experience as the dye (all natural, of course) first turns the waters of the Chicago River orange before it moves on to a rather brilliant kelly green.

St Patricks Day Parade

Moving along, the big show starts at noon over at Balbo and Columbus. The parade moves its way up Columbus and it’s worth noting that the crowds can be quite large, particularly around the viewing stand in front of Buckingham Fountain. The mood is always friendly and it’s definitely the type of event that is suitable for all ages. Interested visitors can also learn more about the grand marshal, the guests of honor, and other relevant details on the official parade website

Irish American Heritage Center

If you’re looking for another way to celebrate all things Eire, you might also considering stopping by the Irish American Heritage Center on March 14 and 17. Both days feature Irish crafts, dances, food, activities for children, and more. You can check out the complete details here and buy your tickets early, as they tend to sell out both days.