St. Patrick's Day in Chicago brings loads of merrymakers into the Chicago Loop every year to watch as the Chicago River turns green and the St. Patrick's Day Parade marches through Grant Park. Plus, our great city has another celebration with the South Side Irish Parade just south of Hyde Park. Regardless of where you decide to celebrate, Chicago neighborhoods have their fair share of goings-on at Irish pubs, Chicago restaurants and other institutions, too. We've rounded up the best ways to mark the holiday.
When is St. Patrick's Day?
St. Patrick's Day is always on March 17, which this year falls on a Friday.
What is St. Patrick's Day?
St. Patrick's Day occurs annually on March 17, the date marked by the death of Saint Patrick, Ireland's most celebrated patron saint. The festivities surrounding this date specifically commemorate Saint Patrick and the subsequent arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
Where is the Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade?
Chicago's downtown parade occurs on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day (March 11), beginning with the dyeing of the Chicago River at 9am and continuing in Grant Park with a parade at noon—starting from Balbo and Columbus. The South Side Irish Parade occurs the following day (March 12), stepping off from 103rd and Western at noon.
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St. Patrick's Day specials at restaurants and bars
St. Patrick's Day falls on a Tuesday this year, so you have a few days to celebrate with St. Patrick's Day specials like green beer, Irish whiskey shots and bar food to soak it all up. These restaurants and Irish pubs are toasting the Irish holiday with traditional options like Guinness, corned beef, and fish and chips, plus themed doughnuts, cocktails and more. Here's where to eat and drink on March 17 and before and after the St. Patrick's Day Parade, March 14. RECOMMENDED: St. Patrick's Day in Chicago
Why I love St. Patrick’s Day
Patrick J. O’Connor, 40th Ward aldermanI’m 56 years old, and I think I have been in the parade 52 or 53 times. It is a tradition in our family. We would march in the Dyeing the River Green and St. Patrick’s Day Downtown Parade, initially with the Gaelic Athletic Association, then with a City of Chicago department, and now with people from the ward I represent. Perhaps my most memorable parade event was the time [we] were behind the police horses, and my 11-year-old foot found something one of the horses left behind. My 13-year-old brother laughed hysterically until I began to laugh as well, because, as it turned out, I was wearing his shoes. Beth Murphy, owner of Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish BistroI really do think, in Chicago, part of it’s just that everybody’s had it with winter. St. Patrick’s Day has become a rite of spring. It’s not religious, it’s not Christian, it’s more, you know, everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. At Mrs. Murphy’s, my tradition is to polish lots of glasses. It can be a little raucous, people sometimes sing. We [serve] the world’s best corned beef, don’t forget that. Kerry Ann Brennan, 2010 St. Patrick’s Day Parade QueenThe parade gives us the opportunity to recognize the many hard-working Irish that have contributed to the growth and development of Chicago. Both the parade and the weeks leading into the parade were filled with some of the most unbelievable memories, including meeting Mayor Daley. The girls in my court and I got to take pictures w
St. Patrick's Day 2012 restaurant and bar specials
Bridge Bar Food and drink specials will be on offer here after the dyeing of the river, as well as musician Anthony Calderisi, who will perform his takes on classic hits by U2 and Van Morrison. Starting at noon, party-goers can enjoy green draft beer ($2), Jameson Jell-O shots ($4) and bangers and mash ($5). Butch McGuire's 20,000 green and white lights will be strung around this tavern during its 50th St. Patrick's Day celebration. The ritualistic pre-drinking breakfast buffet will include French toast and homemade bread pudding. After morning munchies, expect green beer and other drink specials to wash down corned beef sandwiches. Chicago Q For those on their way to parades and parties around the city, chef Lee Ann Whippen offers cash-and-carry pulled-pork sandwiches ($8) at 10am. Other holiday weekend specials include a Kobe corned beef with fingerling potatoes ($15.75 for lunch and $20.75 for dinner). Cityscape Bar Those at Cityscape will see the dyeing of the Chicago river from a prime location, and they'll enjoy complimentary appetizers and an Irish dance performance by the Sheila Tully Dancers ($7) to boot. Drink specials include a Dublin green apple martini and a Skyy shamrock smoothie. Division Ale House Opening three hours early to host a "Kegs and Eggs" brunch for $20, Division Ale House will fill your belly with green eggs and ham, hash browns and green Miller Lite drafts. The Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band starts their performance at 6pm while DJ Ivan wi
St. Patrick's Day Events 2011
5K & 8K St. Paddy's Run, Walk & Leprechaun LeapThe 10th annual St. Paddy's 5K Run/Walk is Sunday, March 20, in Lincoln Park. Participants can walk, run or race their way through a 5K or 8K course. Green gear is encouraged, and prizes will be awarded for the most creative and green outfit. The kid-friendly and free Leprechaun Leap for 10 and younger is back this year too. Feeling competitive? Raise the most money for the Special Olympics and win two airline tickets to Ireland. The 5K or 8K timed (chipped) race begins at Fullerton Pkwy and Cannon Drive. For the hungover or less-competitive, be one of the 5,000 other walkers/runners parading their best green gear lakeside. Then head over to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Musuem for a free post-run/walk party. Live music, awards, prizes and drinks (beer for of-age drinkers) make for a festive and family-friendly St. Paddy's celebration. Proceeds benefit local Special Olympics efforts and the Irish-American Heritage Museum. For registration and more information, visit www.chicagoevents.com or Special Events Management, co-sponsor of this year's event. 12-hour Chicago St. Patty's Pub CrawlEager to start your St. Patrick's celebrations this year? Then head over to [node:159937 link=Sluggers;] on the North Side Thursday, March 17, for the annual Chicago St. Patty's Pub Crawl. The crawl lasts from 11am–11pm. Ticket are $15 and include five drink tickets (good for cheap beer and well drinks), a pub crawl map and an official PubCrawl.com