Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Outside of Ireland, there’s no better place to spend St. Patrick’s Day than Chicago. The entire city becomes Irish, and shamrocks and leprechauns can be seen in neighborhoods all over.

Even the river gets into the festivities with a tradition that’s lasted for over fifty years. The Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, the city celebrates by dyeing the Chicago River green. Since 1962, the the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers have poured a mysterious orange dye into the river, which magically turns the water a bright green color.

They like to say the leprechauns make the miracle happen.

That’s just one of the many ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.

Want more? Here you go!

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Dyeing of the Chicago River, City of Chicago Photo Courtesy of Choose Chicago
City of Chicago Photo Courtesy of Choose Chicago

St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Chicago

Chicago loves St. Patrick’s Day so much there are two parades.

The Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place right after the dyeing of the Chicago River. In 2022, it kicks off on Saturday, March 12, at 12:15 p.m. The parade begins at Columbus and Balbo and heads north through through Grant Park.

The best seats are in the viewing area in front of Buckingham Fountain. chicagostpatricksdayparade.org

The South Side Irish Parade is on Sunday. The whole city turns Irish in March, and nowhere is that more true than the Irish enclave of Beverly. 

What started off as a couple of friends gathering some neighborhood kids and marching them through the streets has become a forty-year tradition.

It began in 1979 when George Hendry and Pat Coakley and their wives invited 17 children to march on the sidewalks around the 10900 blocks of Washtenaw and Talman.

These “Wee Folks of Washtenaw and Talman” were the first participants in this inaugural South Side Irish St. Pat’s Parade. The next year it was moved to the streets, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The 2022 South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off Sunday, March 13, at noon from 103rd and Western and will proceed down Western to 115th Street. Just before the parade, the 2018 Emerald Isle Mile will run the route in a 1-mile timed race. 

Visit southsideirishparade.org for complete details.

Events and Specials for St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

For more fun things to do on St. Patrick’s Day Chicago, visit our Chicago events calendar.

For some real luck of the Irish you won’t want to miss the St. Patrick’s Fest at the Irish American Heritage Center. This community center is the headquarters for the St. Patrick’s Festival featuring the Irish Heritage Singers and the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band. If that isn’t enough for you, they celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day also. irish-american.org

Home to the closest Irish pub on the famed St. Patrick’s Day Parade route, Kitty O’Sheas at Hilton Chicago is one of the city’s favorite destinations to celebrate and get into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit. Further details for Hilton Chicago can be found HERE.

Timothy O’Toole’s will hold their 30th annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Streeterville this March. The green beer will be flowing early, as the Irish Pub will open at 9 a.m. on Parade Day (Saturday, March 12) and at 10:30 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day (Thursday, March 17).

On both days, St. Paddy’s party goers may enjoy a bevy of drink specials, performances by the Shannon Rovers Bagpipers, entertainment by Joe the Leprechaun, prizes and giveaways!

In addition to the regular menu, O’Toole’s will feature Irish-inspired dishes including corned beef and cabbage, corned beef on rye, Guinness beef stew, shepherd’s pie and more.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Season through March 17 with Emerald Loop Bar & Grill. There are plenty of Irish eats to choose from, including corned beef and cabbage, Guinness beef stew, fish and chips, corned beef sandwich & side, shepherd’s pie, Irish bangers and mash, all day Irish breakfast, and curry chips with Irish cheddar. 

You can also enjoy Irish beer (Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp, Magners Cider, and Green Lite Beer), Irish whiskey (Jameson, Red Breast, Tullamore Dew, Egan’s Single Malt, Paddy, Powers, and more), and Irish cocktails (Irish Liquid Gold, Jamorita, and Irish Coffee).

To celebrate the river dyeing and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Emerald Loop will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 12. 

Five Iron Golf, 108 North State St, is offering celebrants a shamrocking good time this St. Patrick’s Day.

From March 12-20, guests are invited to transport themselves to Ireland through playing a variety of Irish courses, including Adare Manor and Lahinch Golf Club on Five Iron’s golf simulators.

To add to the fun, visitors may enjoy $5 Green Bud Light Drafts, $5 Jame-O Shots, $10 Guinness and a Shot of Jameson, a Corned Beef Sandwich Special, and more. Additionally, $1 from every green beer purchase will be donated to St. Baldrick’s throughout the week.

On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, guests are invited to test their luck from 5-7 p.m. and complete against the Five Iron golf pro leprechaun on a closest-to-the-pin on Royal County Down in Northern Ireland (on TrackMan).

Guests can enter with a $5 (1 ball/shot) or $20 (5 balls/shots) donation to St. Baldrick’s for a chance to win either a free single-club fitting with The Fitting Lab ($150 value) or a 2 hour simulator reservation and $25 food credit ($155 value).

Get your Kegs & Eggs at Old Town Pour House on Saturday from 8am to 11am. Tickets are $30 and include a breakfast buffet and entertainment. Green beer is $5.

Tuman’s Tap & Grill celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by offering a lineup of specials Friday, March 12, Sunday, March 13 and Thursday, March 17. Food specials include $9 corned beef sandwiches (corned beef with Swiss on rye) and $16 corned beef and cabbage dinners (corned beef with cabbage, baby red potatoes and carrots).

Drink features include $5 Mason Ale Works Rory’s Irish Red Ale drafts, $7 Guinness drafts and $6 Paddy’s Irish Whiskey shots.  The specials are available during regular business hours.

Located atop 875 N Michigan Ave, Signature Lounge at the 96th offers a signature St. Patrick’s Day cocktail for those looking to enjoy the holiday. The ‘Four Leaf Clover’ is made with ingredients including Jameson Irish Whiskey, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lemon juice, honey syrup, and muddled cucumber.

The Signature Lounge at the 96th  ‘Four Leaf Clover’ is made with ingredients including Jameson Irish Whiskey, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lemon juice, honey syrup, and muddled cucumber.

Best Hotels to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Palmer House

In keeping with the property’s spirit of celebration, visitors and Chicagoan’s alike can, “Call Dibs and Save some Green” at Palmer House to enjoy “Shamrockin’” deals.

There’ll a performance by Live Irish Band the Butterfly Swindlers, a Tullamore D.E.W tasting, Guinness glass engraving and Magners tasting and giveaway. Lockwood Lobby Bar is offering Corned Beef and Cabbage Entrée and an assortment of Guinness-based Cocktails. Rooms start at $169 a night and further details for Palmer House can be found HERE.


Ambassador Chicago

Known as one of the city’s original boutique hotels, Ambassador Chicago will be offering a limited time, two-day St. Patty’s Parade Brunch (see menu) at their in-house restaurant, Ambassador Room.

Guests can enjoy bottomless mimosas, delicious brunch offerings, and a fabulously creative cocktail menu exclusive for St. Patrick’s Day for $30/person! Brunch will be offered from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, 3/12 and Thursday, 3/17, and those interested can reserve their seat by calling 312-229-6790.

Le Méridien Essex Chicago

The reimagined and transformed mid-century landmark along Chicago’s Cultural Mile, overlooking Michigan Avenue and Grant Park will offer St. Patrick’s Day face paining in the hotel’s lobby from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, 3/12. Hotels guests and locals are welcome.

21c Museum Hotel Chicago

21c Museum Hotel Chicago_Luck of the Penguin Promotion. Photo credit 21c Museum Hotel Chicago.png

21c Museum Hotel Chicago will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the launch of its “Luck of The Penguin” package, offering hotel guests a 17 percent discount on stays as well as a complimentary ceramic Evergreen Penguin.

Hotel guests will be able to walk from the hotel to the nearby Riverwalk, where they can see the river dyed green during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. The “Luck of the Penguin” package is now available to book by visiting www.21cchicago.com.

Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk

An urban sanctuary amid iconic attractions, Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk offers guests striking views of the river. Stop by the hotel for a wee bit of fun during the river dyeing and cheers with green beers or Powers Irish coffee while dancing a jig to live music.

Don’t leave without enjoying Irish-inspired food specials, including a Dublin Breakfast Burrito, Leinster Dog, Reuben Flatbread and Corned Beef Sandwich from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. along the Riverwalk and inside at Chi Bar beginning at 9 a.m. Reserve one of the hotel’s river view rooms to watch the festivities over the weekend or on the holiday starting at $256. 

Royal Sonesta Chicago Downtown

After recently completing renovations to its guest rooms, lobby and common spaces, Royal Sonesta Chicago Downtown boasts impressive riverfront views and even used the blues and greens of the river as inspiration for the renovation across its 300 oversized guestrooms and 81 suites.

Book one of the hotel’s river view rooms to watch the festivities over the weekend, starting at $304 or on the holiday starting at $200. Post river dyeing or on the 17th enjoy a delicious meal at Hoyt’s a modern American tavern, seamlessly fusing reimagined Midwestern comfort food with a warm social vibe.

Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel

Located directly on the Chicago River and steps away from the Chicago Theater District, the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel is an urban oasis waiting to be discovered.

The hotel lacks nothing with an abundance of rooms and suites, a heated indoor pool, multiple dining options, riverfront views and a plethora of shops and lively bars all within walking distance.

Raised Urban Rooftop Bar, located on the third floor, offers craft cocktails and breathtaking views of the city skyline and the Chicago River making it a stunning indoor/outdoor rooftop location to visit when staying in downtown Chicago.

Plus, Raised is hosting a river dyeing party on Saturday, March 12 from 8 to 10 a.m. which includes St. Patrick’s Day inspired breakfast, green beer, mimosas and bloody mary’s, festive green beads and more!

Tickets are available via Tock for $90 per person. Book one of the hotel’s river view rooms to watch the festivities over the weekend, starting at $336 or on the holiday starting at $303. 

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel

Enjoy all the festivities Chicago has to offer within walking distance from this iconic Chicago hotel with their St. Patrick’s Day package for $269.00 per night, featuring holiday-themed party favors, 50% off parking, and a $25 food & beverage credit.

On March 12, stop by FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar as the patio reopens for the season and listen to the McDonald’s Irish Band and bagpipes from 1-2pm. From March 12 to 17, stop by the farm-to-table restaurant to enjoy St. Paddy’s Day must-have meals like corned beef and cabbage sliders, Irish cheddar bacon mac & cheese, beef pot pies with cheddar-stout crust, watercress and potato soup with whiskey cream, and reuben sandwiches on marble rye.

Breakfast specials will also be offered, like green pancakes with lucky charms and corned beef hash with eggs any style Wash it all down with green beer, Irish coffee, and shamrock floats.