Menu

ST. PATRICK’S DAY CHICAGO STYLE

CHICAGO IS THE PLACE TO BE TO CELEBRATE IRISH HERITAGE.

They say everyone in Chicago is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). And you’ll discover why as you get swept up in this boisterous city celebration, where everyone is welcome. After celebrating downtown, head out to the neighborhoods and keep the party going at one of Chicago’s authentic Irish bars.

DYEING OF THE CHICAGO RIVER

St. Patrick's Day Chicago River Dyeing

One of Chicago’s time-honored St. Patrick’s Day traditions is the dyeing of the Chicago River. Head over to the river at 9am on March 17 (between Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue) to witness the waters magically turn to a lovely shade of emerald green--with the help of eco-friendly vegetable dye. For more than 50 years, the dyeing of the river has been a much-loved ritual, and draws nearly 400,000 spectators. The Chicago River only keeps its bright green color for about five hours, so be sure to check it out early.

CHICAGO ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE

St. Patrick's Day Parade Chicago

Once you’ve witnessed the marvel of the Chicago River’s emerald waters, make your way downtown for the noon kick-off of the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade, starting at Columbus and Balbo drives. Celebrating its 63rd year, this Chicago event is one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country (held rain or shine). It’s a lively three-hour extravaganza that travels north through Grant Park, past the viewing stand stationed in front of Buckingham Fountain. Dress in your best green gear and cheer on the colorful procession of floats, high-stepping Irish dancers, booming bagpipers and marching bands.

POST-PARADE PUBS

Celebrate like a local and keep the St. Patrick’s Day party going at one of Chicago’s many Irish pubs. There are lots to choose from; here are just five to get you started.

EMMIT’S IRISH PUB

©Emmit's Irish Pub

This River West pub has been around since the days of Prohibition, when its first floor housed a bank that purportedly sheltered the cash of several notorious gangsters. Once Prohibition ended in the 1930s, the building was quickly converted into a tavern. Now owned by two Irish firemen, Emmit’s prides itself on pouring the perfect Guinness pint, finished off with a foam shamrock.

GALWAY ARMS

Crackling fireplaces, live Irish music and a staff that hails from the Emerald Isle make this one of Chicago’s most authentic Irish pubs, located in the heart of Lincoln Park. Temper shots of Tullamore Dew with hearty pub fare that includes traditional shepherd’s pie and beer-battered fish and chips. Galway Arms is also the place to watch the latest international soccer match.

CHIEF O’NEILL’S PUB & RESTAURANT

©Chief O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant

Chief O’Neill’s in Avondale was voted one of the Top 10 Irish Pubs in the World by the readers of Ireland of the Welcomes. The pub was founded by two Irish-born musicians who named it after Francis “Chief” O’Neill, who served as Chicago’s police superintendent in the early 1900s and was credited with publishing the largest collection of Irish music ever assembled. Listen to live Irish tunes as you savor a pint of Guinness or fill up at the all-you-can-eat weekend brunch.

O’SHAUGHNESSY’S PUBLIC HOUSE

Fuel up for the day with a full Irish breakfast (including bangers, rashers, and black and white puddings) at this popular Ravenswood neighborhood spot that’s housed in the historic Pickard China building. Expect to hear an Irish lilt from some of the staffers who serve up Irish and English draughts, in addition to an extensive selection of whiskeys.

THE KERRYMAN

©The Kerryman

This River North spot had previous lives as a mobster hangout and a punk rock club. Today, it’s an upscale version of an Irish pub, keeping it real with owners and a head chef who all hail from Ireland. You’ll find Irish favorites like corned beef and cabbage and Guinness beef stew on the menu. And Jameson shots, to boot.

Featured Partners