Celebrate Irish culture & tradition throughout Chicago this spring

From raucous pub crawls to lively parades, there nothing quite like St. Patrick's Day in Chicago. In March, Irish taverns are packed with revelers, jovial crowds jam the city streets and the Chicago River sparkles brilliant shades of emerald green.

Browse the list of 2018 St. Patrick's Day events in Chicago.

Downtown Parade & River Dyeing

St. Patrick's Day Parade River Dyeing

Dyeing of the Chicago River

Saturday, March 17 Time: 9:00 am Location: Chicago River (Columbus Dr. & Wacker Dr.) FREE In what might be one of the world's most famous St. Patrick's Day rituals, the Chicago River turns an emerald green. Actually, at first glance, the eco-friendly dye used 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 eager to catch a glimpse before taking in the parade that follows. The Chicago River keeps its color for about five hours only, so don't miss it!
St. Patrick's Day Parade

Downtown Parade

Saturday, March 17 Time: 1:00 pm Location: Columbus Drive (between Balbo Dr. & Monroe Dr.) FREE What's a holiday without a parade? How about one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country? Join in the Chicago tradition that celebrates its 63rd 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.

Neighborhood Celebrations

Irish American Heritage Center St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Festival at Irish American Heritage Center

Saturday, March 17 Time: 1:00 pm - 12:00 midnight Location: Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Ave.) Tickets: $12-$15 adults; free for children 12 & under On Saturday, March 17, head north to the Irish American Heritage Center after the downtown Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade for one of Chicago's biggest St. Patrick's Day celebrations. This family-oriented event features traditional and contemporary Irish music and dance, food and drink for purchase, children’s activities and vendors selling Irish gifts. Visit the Library, Art Gallery and Museum for programming and exhibits, such as Irish language lessons, a genealogy workshop and a book sale. Entertainment includes the Irish Heritage Singers, the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band, O’Hare School of Irish Dance and more!
St. Patrick's Day Chicago

South Side Irish Parade

Sunday, March 11 Time: 12:00 pm Location: Western Avenue (between 103rd St. & 115th St.) 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 11:30 am. Special Olympics Chicago will be the event's Grand Marshal, with Amyloidosis Support Groups and the Martin McGarry Family as special honorees.
St. Patrick's Day Chicago

Northwest Side Irish Parade

Sunday, March 11 Time: 12:00 pm Location: Onahan School (6634 W. Raven St.) FREE Enjoy this fun 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. Stay for an after-party from 1:00-5:00 pm that includes a Danny Boy Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner, beer, wine, soda, and live entertainment.
St. Patrick's Day Celebration at Irish American Heritage Center

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

Saturday, March 17 Time: 1:00 pm - 12:00 midnight Location: Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Ave.) Tickets: $10 adults; free for children 12 & under The fun continues at the Irish American Heritage Center with the annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Friday, March 17. The day-long celebration in the Fifth Province pub features live music, dance, food and drink for purchase and face painting for children. Entertainment includes the Chancey Brothers, the Dirty Wellies and Trinity Irish Dancers.

Special Events & Performances

Gaelic Storm

Gaelic Storm

Friday, March 16 & Saturday, March 17 Time: 7:30 pm Location: House of Blues Chicago (329 N. Dearborn St.) Tickets: $36-$49.50 After nearly two decades and more than 3,000 live shows, Gaelic Storm — the chart-topping, multi-national Celtic band — performs at House of Blues Chicago for two days.
ShamROCK Chicago GREENing


2018 dates to be announced Location: Citywide 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. See Chicago buildings and icons light up GREEN in support of the fun. You can join the celebration — and be featured on ShamROCK's Facebook and Twitter pages — by taking a GREEN Selfie with #SHAMROCKCHICAGO. ShamROCK Chicago will choose the GREENest photos and feature them on social media.
Wendella's St. Patrick's Day Cruise - Image

Wendella's St. Patrick's Day Cruise

Saturday, March 17 Time: 9:00-11:00 am (adult cruise) 8:45-10:15 am (children's cruise) Location: Wendella Sightseeing Boats (400 N. Michigan Ave.) Tickets: $60 View the annual dyeing of the Chicago River from one of Wendella Sightseeing Boats' vessels and experience a Chicago tradition! Unlike their traditional tours, this cruise does not include narration, but instead features festive Irish music. A full-service bar, including green beer, is available on board. Please note this event is for adults only (ages 21+). This year, Wendella is also offering a children's cruise, which is reserved for families. Children’s activities will be offered while on board, and festive attire is encouraged but not required.
St. Patrick's Day Chicago

Shoreline Sightseeing St. Patrick's Day Lunch Cruises

Saturday, March 17 Times: 10:00 am, 12:00 pm & 2:00 pm Location: Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) Tickets: $59 (adults), $49 (children 3-12) Shoreline Sightseeing's 12th annual St. Patrick's Day Cruises return on Saturday, March 17 with three departures before, during and after the downtown Chicago parade. The 75-minute cruises feature a traditional Irish buffet of corned beef and cabbage with all the trimmings, plus a full-service cash bar, including Irish beverage selections. A special presentation by one of Shoreline's entertaining guides will highlight the contributions of the Irish community to the growth of Chicago.
Spirit of Chicago

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

Saturday, March 17 Time: 3:00 pm Location: Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) Tickets: From $54.90 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-hour boat ride that boards at 3:00 pm and cruises from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Enjoy a lunch menu with Corn Beef & Cabbage in addition to Green Beer available for purchase. Celebrate with music, dancing and St. Patrick's Day decorations with the city skyline as your backdrop. Must be 21+ to purchase tickets.
Mystic Blue Boathouse

Mystic Blue St. Patrick's Day Dinner Cruise

Saturday, March 17 Time: 6:30 pm Location: Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) Tickets: from $106.90 Chicago’s best St. Patrick’s Day party is on the water! Corral your crew and hop aboard Mystic Blue in your best green gear out on Lake Michigan for this three hour dinner cruise. Celebrate the luck of the Irish and enjoy a freshly prepared St. Patty’s Day dinner buffet, green beer, and amazing skyline views, plus dancing and onboard entertainment. Must be 21+ to purchase tickets.
Trinity Irish Dancers

Siamsa na nGael: Celtic Celebration

2018 dates to be announced Time: 7:30 pm Location: Symphony Center (220 S. Michigan Ave.) Tickets: $30-$60 The 22nd Siamsa na nGael celebration features Celtic song, dance and story-telling. More information to come.
Forever Green

Forever Green 42

Friday, March 9 Time: 6:30 pm Location: Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) Tickets: $60 Hosted by the Young Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago (YIFC), Forever Green is one of Chicago’s largest and longest running St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Considered by many to be the kick-off to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Chicago, Forever Green is sure to get you in the St. Patrick's Day mood, with Irish music, dancing, and craic (Gaelic for fun and amusement).