No one celebrates St. Patty’s Day quite like Chicago, except perhaps Ireland. We’re known to go all out with our green river and green beer. Here are a true Irish gal’s favorite things to do in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Sláinte!


Irish Dance Chicago

Friday, March 11th, 7:00pm
Irish American Heritage Center
4626 N. Knox, Chicago, IL
(773) 282-7035

Chicago’s St. Patty’s Day celebration kicks off with Irish Dance Chicago, featuring over 150 step dancers from around the area. Think Chicago’s own Riverdance. Tickets cost $10 for adults and free for children under age 12.

Gaelic Storm


Gaelic Storm

Friday & Saturday, March 11th & 13th, 7:30pm
House of Blues
329 N. Dearborn, Chicago, IL
(312) 923-3000

Gaelic Storm is back! What better way to celebrate Irish culture, than with Irish drinking songs? Fun Fact: Gaelic Storm was discovered in James Cameron’s Titanic. They were the Celtic party band playing in the ships steerage.

(credit: Getty Images)

Dyeing of the Chicago River

Saturday, March 12th, 10:45am

In tradition, the Chicago River will be dyed Kelly Green before the parade. For the best views, head to either the East side of Michigan, the West Side of the Columbus Drive Bridge, or Upper and Lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. Fun fact: the dye was originally used to detect leaks. It’s also bright orange before mixed into the river where a little leprechaun turns it green. Or so the story goes…

(credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Saturday, March 12th, 12:00pm

Head to the Buckingham Fountain Viewing Stand for downtown Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade to see floats, bands, bagpipers, dancers and this year’s Irish Queen and her court. Want to avoid the crowds? You can also watch the parade on WLS/ABC 7. Parade starts at Balbo and Columbus and finishes at Monroe and Columbus.

Irish American Chicago


St. Patrick’s Festival

Saturday, March 12th, 1:00pm-12:00am
Irish American Heritage Center
4626 N. Knox, Chicago, IL
(773) 282-7035

Following the parade, the Irish American Heritage Center puts on a fun, family-oriented festival that will have traditional and contemporary Irish dance, music and food, as well as children’s activities. This year’s lineup will include a performance by Ireland natives, Tim O’Shea & Patrick Buckley. Other bands and musicians include the Sullivan Brothers, The Sandcovers, The Dooly Brothers, The Shannon Rovers and Mulligan Stew.

St. Patrick’s Day Fireworks

Saturday, March 12th, 7:00pm
Navy Pier
600 E. Grand, Chicago, IL
(312) 595-PIER

Navy Pier will be putting on a 10-minute firework display on the Chicago lakefront, synchronized to traditional Celtic tunes and modern Irish musicians. Great way to end your night because let’s face it; we’ll all be in bed by 8pm.



St. Patrick’s Day Lunch & Fireworks Cruises

Saturday, March 12th
Ogden Slip at Navy Pier
600 E. Grand, Chicago, IL
(312) 222-9328

Choose from one of two cruises offered by Shoreline Sightseeing. The first features a cruise down the oh-so-green Chicago River, traditional Irish fare and a cash bar (leaves the dock pre- and post-parade). Tickets are $31 for adults, $29 for seniors and $17 for children. The second option cruises the river and lakefront in the evening for the firework display. It’ll be cold though, so bundle up!

Siamsa Na NGael

Wednesday, March 16th, 7:30pm
Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan, Chicago, IL
(312) 294-3000

Chicago’s Symphony Center hosts “Make Them Hear You,” a special event in honor of St. Patty’s Day. Celtic entertainment will be showcased with a narration by award winning actor, Martin Sheen, and performances by Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, Old St. Patrick’s Concert Choir and Trinity Irish Dancers & Vocalists.

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle

Saturday, April 10th, 9:30am-1:30pm
Grant Park

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations continue into the month of April with Bank of America’s Shamrock Shuffle 8k run. This event gets better and better each year with runners wearing some of the most ridiculous and hilarious getups. You name it, I’ve seen it: green wigs, green body paint, green everything. If you don’t want to run, but would like to participate, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities like the post-race beer tents. My suggestion, help out at the Imerman Angels tent. That’s where I’ll be for a second year. They are a great group of people with an amazing cause,

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

Corned beef, cabbage and beer, need I say more? Chicago just happens to have a legit Irish pub on just about every corner. Try one of these:

Streeterville: Lizzie McNeill’s, 400 N. McClurg, (312) 467-1992
River North: Fado Irish Pub, 100 W. Grand, (312) 836-0066
River North: Celtic Crossings, 751 N. Clark (312) 337-1005
Gold Coast: Butch McGuires Tavern, 20 W. Division, (312) 337-9080
Lincoln Park: Halsted Harp, 2138 N. Halsted, (773) 348-3665
Beverly: Keegan’s Pub, 10618 S. Western, (773) 233-6829
Avondale: Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant, 3471 N. Elston, (773) 583-3066

Samantha McCarthy

Samantha McCarthy

Samantha McCarthy is an editor and freelance writer in downtown Chicago.