Things to do | St. Patrick's Day 2013

Downtown Parade Chicago’s 58th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, presented by the Chicago Journeymen’s Plumber Union (local 130), kicks off at noon on Saturday. The timely start’s kind of a miracle, considering the thousands of people marching, playing music, and riding floats in the parade. Highlights include performances by seventeen bands (with the Shannon Rovers leading); a tiered royalty float topped by the 2013 parade queen, her court, and past winners; grand marshal Coach Brian Kelly from Notre Dame; and a rumored appearance by vocal group the Celtic Thunder. Parade starts at Balbo and Columbus ( Sat 16 at noon; free. 

Northwest Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade The family-friendly parade will kick off at noon at Onahan School (6633 W Raven St) and will head south on Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway, then north on Northwest Highway to Harlem Avenue. Afterward, from 1 to 5pm, is the annual parade party at Immaculate Conception School Recreation Center (6211 W Talcott St). Adult tickets for the after-party are $10, which includes a Danny Boy corned beef and cabbage dinner, beer, wine and soda. Kids' tickets are $5 and include hot dogs, chips and soda. The after-party also includes live entertainment, face painting, balloon magic and raffles. 6633 W Raven St ( Sun 17 at noon.

River dyeing Watch Chicago’s river turn as green as the Emerald Isle on Saturday at 10am. For more than 40 years, the city’s Journeymen Plumbers—led this year by Mike Butler and co—have heaped orange dye into the river and waited for the water to miraculously change color. The official river-dyeing website suggests the east side of the bridge at Columbus Drive or upper and lower Wacker between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive as the best areas from which to watch the magic happen. We wish you luck getting a prime spot. Chicago River (312-942-9188, Sat 16 at 10am; free.

St. Patty’s at Sidetrack There may not be gold at the end of the rainbow, but there are some very attractive men—Jameson men, that is. Join them for a whiskey and some bagpipe music (provided by Stockyard Kilty around 8pm) at this post-parade Boystown bop. 3349 N Halsted St (773-477-9189, Sat 16, 5–10pm.

Sean Cleland & Friends Ditch the usual disco and go dancing somewhere else this Friday for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. As part of the Old Town School of Folk Music’s “Global Dance Party” series, Sean Cleland, founder of the Irish Music School of Chicago, and his friends will teach Irish set dancing and entertain with live music. Let your legs do the work—no arm flailing allowed. 4545 N Lincoln Ave (773-728-6000, Fri 15 at 8:30pm. $10.

Tossers in concert St. Patrick's Day always means a rollicking performance from Chicago's Celtic punk Tossers, even if it is a day before the fact. Is it sometimes more about sweaty, alcohol-fueled spectacle than music? Sure, we suppose, but we'd never say that directly to the band's face, not tonight, because we like our own too much. Metro, 3730 N Clark St (773-549-4140, Sat 16 at 9pm. $18 in advance, $20 day of. 18+.

St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Bender Wanna pregame the pregrame? From 7–10am on Saturday 16, McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon offers booze, breakfast and atmosphere for $20. Then head south for the parade, which starts at noon at Balbo Avenue and Columbus Drive. If you’re still too sleepy, or too into your green beer, stay put for local KISS FM personalities broadcasting live from the bar at noon. 1206 N State Pkwy (312-475-9450, Sat 16, breakfast 7–10am; $20.

St. Patrick’s Parade Day at D4 2013 Snuggle up with a Guinness (and a Green Bud…and a Smithwick’s) while enjoying some fresh air at D4. It’s got an outdoor tent with two bars that open bright and early. The cover includes a T-shirt, beads and giveaways. Inside, there’s plenty of Irish-themed drinks and food, like cider drafts, corned beef and cabbage. 345 E Ohio St (312-624-8385, Sat 16, doors open 9am; $10.

St. Patty’s Pub Crawl Erin go-for-broke at the Castle’s (formerly Excalibur) 16-year-old St. Paddy’s party perfect for big groups of pals. The crawl’s $50 wristband buys a four-hour open bar, DJ performance, free photo booth and bus transportation to a second location. The higher ticket price draws a less rowdy crowd of drinkers to spacious bars with ample seating and plenty of room, meaning you may not have to shout your drink order over someone’s head. 632 N Dearborn St (312-266-1944, Sat 16, 9:30am–1:30pm, then transportation to second bar. $50. Gold Giveaway Even though it’s easy to find a leprechaun in Chicago this St. Patrick’s Day (his schedule will be posted online!), getting his gold’ll still be tough. Lucky lads and lasses trying for the $1,500 Krugerrand gold coin he’s holding onto must first solve his riddle—posted at 9am on—and reveal the secret password to him. Not interested in thinking hard on a holiday? Follow the leprechaun anyway; he’s got tons of free swag to give away.( Sun 17. Free. 

St. Patrick’s Day Photo Scavenger Hunt People usually want to avoid taking pictures on St. Patrick’s Day. Not so at this 21-and-over scavenger hunt—probably because participants remain behind the camera. Solo or in groups of three to five, grab your hipster-ific Diana camera, borrow film from camera store Lomography and set loose on the city with a list of items to shoot. Capture as many as you can before three hours are up (with some barhopping mixed in) and you might win a camera. 1422 N Milwaukee Ave (872-206-2253, Sun 17 at 1pm; $10.

Chill at Rockit Bar & Grill Swap marching-parade madness for Big Ten basketball, live music and Irish-themed drink specials at this swanky lounge. Guinness and Jameson are $5, while green beer will set you back $4. Cover band Rendition caps festivities Sunday at 7pm. 22 W Hubbard (312-645-6000, Sat 16–Sun 17. Lounge opens 8am Saturday and 11am Sunday. 

Jive Turkey Turning food green’s a tradition on Irish Day, but green fried turkey? That’s a new one. Brooklyn transplant Jive Turkey’s offering a 12–14 lb., herbed pesto-covered fried bird for $75.50 on St. Paddy’s that serves 10. For meals with extra eaters or bigger appetites, pick up the St. Patrick’s Day feast that serves 12. For $215, guests can gobble up a fresh herb, whole deep-fried turkey, herb roasted potatoes, sautéed cabbage, carrot soufflé and Irish bread pudding with caramel whiskey sauce. 1979 W 111th St (718-797-1688, 

Three-day St. Paddy’s Bar Crawl It’s a Seusically-themed St. Patrick’s Day with’s “Green Kegs & Hammered” three-day bar-crawl-slash-bender. The party starts Friday and doesn’t stop until 2am Sunday. Buy the three-day pass (or tack on a ticket to Paddy Fest, Saturday’s after party) if you’re feeling lucky—otherwise pay by the day for festive, flexible fun around Lincoln Park. ( Fri 15–Sun 17. Times and prices vary. 

Irish American Heritage Center St. Patrick's Festival and St. Patrick's Day Celebration
Retreat from obnoxious street rallies to these familial confines for Irish music, dance, food and children’s activities. Performers working the crowd this year include the Shannon Rovers, the Dooley Brothers, the Irish Heritage Singers, Larry Nugent and Bill O’Donoghue, In Spite of Ourselves, Mulligan Stew, Identity Irish Dance Company, Rebecca McCarthy School of Irish Dance, O’Hare School of Irish Dance, Mullane Healy Godley School of Irish Dance, Mulhern School of Irish Dance and the Academy of Irish Music and more. On Sun 17, the party continues with performances by Tim O’Shea and Phillip Crickard, O’Hare School of Irish Dance, Chancey Brothers, Sheila Tully School of Irish Dance and Chicago Reel. 4626 N Knox Ave ( Sat 1pm–midnight,
$15, advance $12, kids 12 and under free. Sun 1:30–9pm, $10, kids 12 and under free.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)