(credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

By Lauren Wulf

St. Patrick’s Day Parades

Official Chicago Parade: March 17, 2012
Time: 12 p.m.
Columbus Dr.; Balbo Dr.
Chicago, IL 60601

No matter what area of the city or suburb you live in, there’s sure to be a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in your neck of the woods. The official parade of the city of Chicago, kicks off at 12:00PM on Columbus & Balbo Drive. Get there early to get the best view!

Other popular Chicagoland parades:

Northwest Side / Raven Street –Chicago, IL
Tinley Park / 181st Ave – Tinley Park, IL
Naperville / Ogden Ave – Naperville, IL

For additional neighborhood & suburb parades throughout Chicagoland, read more at Chicago.cbslocal.com!

(credit: greenchicagoriver.com)

Chicago River Dyeing Ceremony

Chicago River
Wacker Drive & Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

Before the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17th, the party begins at the Chicago River. The annual tradition of dyeing the river green begins promptly along the river at 10 a.m. The ceremony is a great way to start the day of floats, bagpipes and Irish dancers.

(credit: Thinkstock)

For an evening activity with the kids that doesn’t involve green beer, head on over to Navy Pier (or the surrounding lakefront) for a St. Patrick’s Day themed fireworks display. This free show will be a stunning display of green lights, Irish music and did I mention free fun?

(credit: irish-american.org)

The Irish American Heritage Center is jam packed with family activities. See Irish dancers from Irish Dance Chicago, professional bagpipe performances, eat the classic corned beef and cabbage and much, much more. See irish-american.org for a full calendar of events.

13th Annual Chicago Irish Film Festival

For the 13th year, the Beverly Arts Center of Chicago will be putting on a six-day tribute to all things Irish film. Films will be scheduled at various times on each of the six days. Tickets are $10 per showing or $65 for a festival pass which includes, all films, screenings, opening and closing day receptions.

For a full list of showings, visit http://www.chicagoirishfilmfestival.com.

Check out our guide on the Chicago Irish Film Festival here!

On Saturday, March 17th, set sail with your family aboard a Shoreline Sightseeing Tour. Take a trip down the green Chicago River either pre or post parade. Enjoy a traditional Irish buffet and a 90-minute tour. Tours run from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

(credit: tullyirishdancers.com)

Almost every Irish Dance Center or organization will be holding a performance on March 17th. See dancers of all ages perform the timeless Irish tradition. With quick feet, bouncing curls and traditional attire, these show stopping performers will amaze even the toughest critics in your family. Many shows including Irish Dance Chicago at the Irish American Heritage Center are free for children under 12. Other performances throughout the city include: Trinity Irish Dancers (2936 N. Southport Ave), McNulty Irish Dancers (8640 W. Sunset Road Niles, IL), Sheila Tully Irish Dancers (1750 Glenview Road Glenview, IL).

Read our full guide on Irish Dancing in Chicago here!

On Match 16, 2012 a little piece of the Gaelic music scene is taking Chicago by storm. See Gaelic Storm perform at the Rivera Theatre in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day eve. Hear hits from their new album, Cabbage as well as old favorites. It’s the perfect way to kick of St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Lauren Wulf writes about living in Chicago on a budget on her website, A Poor Girl’s Guide Chicago.