With our strong Irish roots, no city celebrates St. Patrick's Day with the fervor of Chicagoans. But not all the festivities are, shall we say, family-friendly. If you're planning on spending St. Pat's with some Leprechaun-sized companions, you can still get in on the shamrock-fueled action. Here are four family-friendly ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Chicago.
Watch the Chicago River Being Dyed Green (March 15, 10:45 AM)
Every year, the Chicago River gets dyed a vibrant green by the city's plumber's union. Make sure to point out to your kids the color of the dye before it's dumped into the river; the bright orange powder is magically transformed into green with the help of a legendary Leprechaun. Or so they say. [Insider tip: the best place to "watch the magic" is at the intersection of Columbus and Wabash.]
Dance at the Irish American Heritage Center's St. Patrick's Day Festival (March 15, 1PM - Midnight)
The Irish American Heritage Center will be hosting a large-scale, family friendly St. Patrick's Day party featuring traditional and contemporary Irish music and dance, fun kids' activities, an arts and crafts fair, and good eats. Don't miss the festive Trinity Irish Dancers, on stage at 5PM. For more info, visit irish-american.org
Check out Bagpipers at the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade (March 16, Noon)
The South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade promises everything Irish: shamrock-flecked floats, Irish dancers, bagpipes, but also promises beer. The zero-tolerance alcohol policy has tamed the parade, making it family-friendly and easier to manage with smaller tots. This year's parade will honor Chicago's first responders while also celebrating the Irish heritage. Expect much merry-making despite the alcohol ban. [Insider tip: catch a good spot along Western Avenue between 103rd Street and 115th for an awesome view of the parade route.]
Enjoy Fish and Chips in an Authentic Irish Pub
Lady Gregory's in Andersonville is one of our family's favorite lunch spots. Named after the passionate Irish author, this charming, wood-paneled pub focuses on farm-to-table, sustainable, local ingredients and authentic Irish fare. Try to secure a table in the cozy library with a fireplace. Start with the hard-cider steamed mussels and move on to the classic fish and chips served with minty peas.
Lady Gregory's, 5260 North Clark St., Chicago