Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration In Chicago 2024 ☘️

Every year, the city of Chicago transforms into a vibrant sea of green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. But in 2024, the city is pulling out all the stops to make this celebration the most memorable one yet.

From the iconic river dyeing to the grand parade, there’s no shortage of exciting activities to partake in. So, if you’re wondering about the best ways to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Chicago 2024, you’ve come to the right place.

The History of St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Before we delve into the festivities, let’s take a moment to appreciate the rich history of St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.

The city’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade dates back to 1843, making it one of the oldest in the country. Over the years, the celebration has grown in size and popularity, attracting visitors from all over the world.

The Iconic River Dyeing

One of the most anticipated events of St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is the dyeing of the Chicago River. This tradition started in 1962 and has been a crowd favorite ever since.

But have you ever wondered, “How do they dye the Chicago River green?” or “Is the Chicago River dyed green all year round?” Stay tuned as we uncover the answers to these questions below.

The Magic Behind the Green River

The Process of Dyeing the Chicago River

The tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green is a spectacle that has been carried out for over 60 years. But how exactly do they turn the river into a vibrant emerald hue?

The process involves the use of a powdered, vegetable-based dye that’s orange in its original state. When mixed with water, it magically turns green! This transformation is carried out by the local Plumbers Union, who pour the dye into the river from their boats.

When Does the River Turn Green?

The dyeing of the Chicago River is typically scheduled on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, but the exact date can vary. For the exact date of the river dyeing in 2024, stay tuned for updates from official sources.

Is the Dyeing Safe for the Environment?

You might be wondering, “Is the Chicago River dyeing safe for the environment?” The good news is that the dye used is environmentally friendly and does not harm the river’s ecosystem. The green color lasts for about five hours, after which the river returns to its normal state.

Best Places to Watch the River Dyeing

The river dyeing can be viewed from several locations along the river, but some spots offer better views than others. In the next session, we’ll reveal the best places to watch the Chicago River turn green.

Where to Watch the River Turn Green

Prime Locations for the Spectacle

The dyeing of the Chicago River is a sight to behold, and there are several prime locations from which you can enjoy this unique spectacle. Here are some of the best places to watch the Chicago River dyeing:

  1. Michigan Avenue Bridge: This location offers a fantastic view of the river turning green. Arrive early to secure a good spot as it can get crowded.
  2. The Riverwalk: Stretching along the south bank of the river, the Riverwalk offers several viewing spots. You can also find many restaurants and cafes here to grab a bite while you wait.
  3. Columbus Drive Bridge: Another great location to watch the river dying. It’s less crowded than the Michigan Avenue Bridge but offers an equally stunning view.
  4. Upper and Lower Wacker Drive: These locations provide a unique perspective of the river dyeing. They’re also less crowded, making them a good choice if you prefer a quieter experience.

Remember, the river stays green for about five hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to soak in the sight.

The Grand St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The Route and Start Time

The Chicago St Patrick’s Day parade is a major highlight of the city’s celebrations. The parade route typically starts at Balbo Drive and proceeds north on Columbus Drive. The exact start time can vary each year, so it’s best to check the official parade website for the most accurate information for 2024.

The Parade Participants and Floats

The parade features a variety of participants, including local school marching bands, dance troupes, and community organizations.

The floats are a sight to behold, with many showcasing intricate designs and vibrant colors. You can expect to see everything from traditional Irish symbols to creative interpretations of the St. Patrick’s Day theme.

Best Places to Watch the Parade

Just like the river dyeing, there are several prime spots to watch the parade:

  1. Columbus Drive: The parade route itself offers the closest view. Arrive early to secure a good spot along the barricades.
  2. Grant Park: This large urban park provides a more relaxed setting to enjoy the parade. You can bring a picnic blanket and make a day of it.
  3. TV or Online: If you prefer to avoid the crowds, many local stations broadcast the parade live. You can also find live streams online.
ParadeDateLocationStart Time
Chicago St. Patrick’s Day ParadeSaturday, March 16, 2024Columbus Dr. from Balbo St. to Monroe St.12:30 PM
Southside Irish St. Patrick’s Day ParadeSunday, March 17, 2024Western from 103rd to 115th12:00 PM

Savoring St. Patrick’s Day: Food and Drink in Chicago

Traditional Irish Fare

St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be complete without indulging in some traditional Irish fare. Many Chicago St Patrick’s Day restaurants and Irish pubs in Chicago offer special menus for the occasion. Here are some dishes you might want to try:

  1. Corned Beef and Cabbage: This classic Irish-American dish is a staple on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s often served with potatoes and carrots.
  2. Irish Soda Bread: This traditional bread is slightly sweet and perfect for soaking up the hearty flavors of your meal.
  3. Shepherd’s Pie: A comforting dish made with ground meat, and vegetables, and topped with a layer of mashed potatoes.

Green Beer and Other Drinks

No St. Patrick’s Day celebration would be complete without a pint of green beer. Many pubs and bars in Chicago serve this festive drink on St. Patrick’s Day. If beer isn’t your thing, you can also find a variety of Irish whiskeys and other spirits.

Best Irish Pubs in Chicago

Chicago is home to several Irish pubs that offer an authentic St. Patrick’s Day experience.

Top Irish Pubs to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Experience the Irish Spirit

Chicago boasts a number of authentic Irish pubs where you can immerse yourself in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Here are some of the top picks:

  1. The Gage: Known for its extensive beer and whiskey selection, The Gage is a popular spot for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
  2. Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant: Named after the influential Chief of Police Francis O’Neill, this pub offers traditional Irish music sessions and a hearty Irish menu.
  3. Galway Arms: An Irish pub with a cozy fireplace, offering live music and a wide range of Irish beers and whiskeys.
  4. The Irish Oak: Located in Wrigleyville, The Irish Oak has a traditional Irish vibe, complete with a menu featuring dishes like corned beef and cabbage.
  5. Fado Irish Pub: A modern Irish pub offering a mix of traditional and contemporary Irish dishes, along with a wide selection of beers.

Remember to drink responsibly and enjoy the Irish spirit!

Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Activities in Chicago

Celebrating with the Little Ones

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago isn’t just for adults. There are plenty of family-friendly activities that kids will love. Here are some suggestions:

  1. St. Patrick’s Day Festivals: Many neighborhoods in Chicago host family-friendly festivals featuring games, face painting, and kid-friendly entertainment.
  2. Children’s Events for St. Patrick’s Day: Look out for special children’s events at local libraries, community centers, and museums. These often include storytelling, crafts, and other fun activities.
  3. Irish Storytelling for Kids: Storytelling is a big part of Irish culture. Some libraries and bookstores offer special storytelling sessions featuring Irish folktales.
  4. Where to See Leprechauns in Chicago: Some local businesses and community centers host special events where kids can “spot” leprechauns. It’s all in good fun and can be a magical experience for the little ones.

Remember, St. Patrick’s Day is a time for everyone to celebrate, regardless of age.

Dressing Up for St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Embrace the Green

When it comes to dressing up for St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, there’s one rule that everyone follows – wear green! Here are some tips on what to wear:

  1. Green Clothing: This could be a green shirt, dress, pants, or even socks. The more green, the better!
  2. Accessories: Think green hats, scarves, and sunglasses. Don’t forget about green beads and buttons that say fun phrases like “Kiss Me, I’m Irish.”
  3. Costumes: If you’re feeling adventurous, consider dressing up as a leprechaun or wearing a green wig.
  4. Comfortable Shoes: Whether you’re planning to attend the parade or explore the city, you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Comfortable shoes are a must.
  5. Weather-Appropriate Clothing: The weather in Chicago in March can be unpredictable. Be sure to check the forecast and dress accordingly.

Remember, St. Patrick’s Day is all about having fun. So don’t be afraid to go all out with your outfit!

St. Patrick’s Day Events and Activities in Chicago

A Citywide Celebration

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is more than just a one-day event. The city hosts a variety of events and activities leading up to and on the day itself. Here are some you might want to check out:

  1. Live Irish Music: Many pubs and venues across the city host live Irish music performances. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in Irish culture.
  2. Irish Dance Performances: Irish step dancing is a unique and energetic dance form. Look out for performances at cultural centers and during the parade.
  3. Gaelic Games: Experience traditional Irish sports like hurling and Gaelic football at local parks and sports centers.
  4. Bar Crawls: For the adults, several neighborhoods host St. Patrick’s Day bar crawls. It’s a fun way to explore the city’s nightlife and meet new people.
  5. Cultural Events: Check out Irish film screenings, book readings, and art exhibits at local cultural institutions.

Remember, St. Patrick’s Day is all about celebrating Irish culture and heritage. So, take the opportunity to learn something new and enjoy the festivities!

Practical Information and Tips for St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Weather and Accommodation

St. Patrick’s Day falls in March, and the weather in Chicago can be quite unpredictable during this time. It’s best to check the Chicago St Patrick’s Day weather forecast closer to the date and dress accordingly.

If you’re visiting from out of town, there are numerous hotels for St Patrick’s Day in Chicago that offer special packages for the occasion.


On St. Patrick’s Day, many roads in the city will be closed for the parade and other events. It’s advisable to use public transportation for St Patrick’s Day in Chicago. The city’s public transit system is extensive and can get you to most locations.

Safety Tips

While St. Patrick’s Day is a time for celebration, it’s also important to stay safe. Here are some St Patrick’s Day safety tips in Chicago:

  1. Stay Hydrated: If you plan on drinking, make sure to also drink plenty of water.
  2. Stay in Groups: It’s safer and more fun to celebrate with friends.
  3. Plan Your Ride Home: If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver or use a ride-sharing service.


St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is a vibrant celebration filled with history, culture, and plenty of fun. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, participating in the festivities is a unique experience that’s not to be missed.

From the river dyeing to the parade, and from the traditional Irish fare to the numerous events across the city, there’s something for everyone. So, don your green attire, join in the revelry, and make the most of St Patrick’s Day Chicago 2024!


Is St Patrick’s Day a holiday in Chicago?

While St. Patrick’s Day is not a public holiday in the United States, it is widely celebrated in cities with large Irish-American populations like Chicago.

How long does the Chicago River stay green?

The dye used in the river is environmentally friendly and temporary. The green color lasts for about five hours.

What time does the parade start?

The start time of the parade can vary each year. It’s best to check the official parade website for the most accurate information.

Where can I find live Irish music performances?

Many pubs and venues across the city host live Irish music performances. Check local listings for details.

How long does the Chicago river stay green?

The Chicago River, once dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day, retains its vibrant hue for about 24 to 48 hours. However, some sources suggest that the color may only persist for around four to five hours. The duration can vary depending on factors such as the amount of dye used and the river’s water conditions.

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