Go All Green this St. Patrick's Day in Chicago
Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations offer something for all ages who are Irish-at-heart. From the emerald-colored Chicago River to 13 earth-friendly green hotels, Chicago visitors can “go green” in every way this St. Patrick’s Day with parades, festivals, special tours and “green” citywide activities.
Make the first stop the Visitor Information Center in the Chicago Cultural Center (77 E. Randolph St.), across from Millennium Park. For more information on St. Patrick’s Day activities in Chicago, or to book accommodations, visit www.ExploreChicago.org.
Family Friendly Parades
Arrive early to get the best spots for the downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 12. Watch as the Chicago River is dyed an environmentally friendly green at 10:45 am at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, followed by a lively parade through Grant Park. Starting at 12 pm, this parade runs north along Columbus Drive, from Balbo to Monroe.
Visitors can also enjoy the newest of the annual parades, the Northwest Side Irish Parade, on Sunday, March 13. This community parade assembles near Onahan Elementary School (6633 W. Raven St.then south on Neola Ave.) and steps off at 12 pm.
Irish Heritage Festivals
Irish culture buffs can get a head start on the festivities at the 12th annual Chicago Irish Film Festival at the Beverly Arts Center (2407 W. 111th St.). This festival features 30-plus screenings of Irish classic, contemporary and documentary features and shorts, as well as some of the Irish filmmakers in person, from Friday, March 4 to Wednesday, March 9.
The two-day South Side Irish Family Fest also takes place at the Beverly Arts Center. On Friday, March 11 from 5 to 11 pm, there’s live Gaelic music and more for those 21 and older. Then Saturday’s all-ages activities include a best-dressed “Irish dog” contest, men’s and women’s kilt contests, and a children’s parade around the Arts Center grounds. It’s a full day of fun on March 12, from noon to 11 pm.
After the March 12 downtown parade, head north to the Irish American Heritage Center (IAHC; 4626 N. Knox Ave.) for live music, food and children’s activities from 1 pm to midnight at the St. Patrick’s Festival. Return on Thursday, March 17 for IAHC’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Party,showcasing Chicago’s finest talent in Irish dancing, music and food, from noon to midnight.
Irish Theater and Music
On March 2 – 3 and 5 – 6, the national theater of Ireland, Dublin’s Abbey Theatre performs Terminus by acclaimed Irish playwright-director Mark O’Rowe on the MCA Stage (220 E. Chicago Ave., Museum of Contemporary Art). With the exception of Sunday’s 3 pm performance, the other three performances are at 7:30 pm. Click here for more information.
The 15th Annual Siamsa na nGael celebrates the Celtic arts and the Irish that championed Mexico at Chicago Symphony Center on Wednesday, March 16 at 7:30 pm (220 S. Michigan Ave.).Performers include actor Martin Sheen, tenor Rodrick Dixon and the Old Saint Patrick’s Concert Choir. Seanchaí Theatre Company presents the Midwest premiere of Gerard Stembridge’s That Was Then at IAHC’s third-floor theater at 7:30 pm on March 17.
Also on March 17, Dublin’s popular new rock group, The Coronas end their Heroes or Ghosts tour at Lincoln Hall at 9 pm (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.). The next day, singer-musician-dancer Kathleen Keane celebrates the release of her first solo CD in a decade, Where the Wind Meets the Water, with an 8 pm concert at Mayne Stage (1328 W. Morse Ave.).
See ChicagoThrough “Irish Eyes”
One of the best views of the city is from the Chicago River. Shoreline Sightseeing offers two St. Patrick’s Day Lunch Cruises the day of the downtown parade, featuring traditional food and stories about Chicago’s Irish community. These 90-minute cruises depart on Saturday, March 12 at 10 am and 2 pm.
The evening of March 12, Shoreline offers a Chicago River and lake view cruise featuring Navy Pier’s St. Patrick’s Day Fireworks. Or, visitors can view this 10-minute colorful display with traditional Celtic music and modern Irish artists on Navy Pier at 7 pm (600 E. Grand Ave.), preceded by a day of greenery at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier.
Get the inside scoop on the city’s rich Irish American heritage from an enthusiastic, knowledgeable local volunteer during a free Chicago Greeter tour of the city. Eco-conscious travelers can explore the other side of “Green” Chicago with a Greeter visit to Chicago’s green buildings and parks. Book a Chicago Greeter visit 7–10 days in advance at www.ChicagoGreeter.com.
Green Grub and Irish Pubs
Two Irish-owned restaurants are sure to please St. Patrick’s Day appetites: The Gage (24 S. Michigan Ave.) gastropub offers a contemporary American menu of Irish classics with a twist, while The Irish Oak (3511 N. Clark St.) features traditional St. Patrick’s Day pub fare and great Irish brews on tap.
Visitors staying in the Loop find some of Chicago’s best Irish pubs nearby. Celtic Crossings (751 N. Clark St.), Fadó (100 W. Grand Ave.) and Emerald Loop (216 N. Wabash Ave.) are some downtown favorites.
Continue on a “green” streak with dinner at Green Zebra (1460 W. Chicago Ave.), a Michelin Bib Gourmand vegetarian restaurant presenting seasonal ingredients. Then, visit the historic Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway St.), one of the most popular jazz clubs around.
Eco-friendly Chicago: Green Hotels and More
Chicago’s river and restaurants aren’t the only things going green. Chicago is home to 13 Green Seal–Certified hotels—the most in any U.S.city. Earth-friendly and energy efficient, these eco-properties offer great options for green-minded visitors: Chicago’s Essex Inn, Palmer House Hilton, The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, The Silversmith Hotel & Suites, The Westin Michigan Avenue, Hotel Monaco Chicago, Hotel Burnham, Hotel Allegro Chicago, Hotel Felix, InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, The Talbott Hotel and Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park.
Boutiques like Green Home Chicago Design Center (213 N. Morgan St.), The Daisy Shop featuring women’s couture resale (67 E. Oak St.) and kids’ store Grow (1943 W. Division St.) offer eco-conscious clothing, accessories and home décor. Open six days a week, Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand (66 E. Randolph St.) carries hundreds of products from within 250-miles of Chicago. Green City Market, the city’s first sustainable farmers market features local, organically grown produce and more. The market is at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N. Cannon Dr.) on Saturday, March 12. Chicago Center for Green Technology (445 N. Sacramento Blvd.) is open to the public and offers free educational seminars several times a week.
Drop by one of Chicago’s largest green roofs and most popular lakefront attractions, the 24.5-acre award-winning Millennium Park. Across the street through May 2, explore famous architect Louis Sullivan’s creative intent through photographs, drawings, artifacts and his writings at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Louis Sullivan’s Idea exhibition.
Visitor Information Resources
Visitors and Chicagoans planning to entertain out-of-town guests can receive trip-planning assistance and information by visiting www.ExploreChicago.org.
Brochures and information on Chicago’s exciting events and activities are also available at the Visitor Information Centers. Friendly Visitor Representatives can answer questions and assist in planning an unforgettable itinerary. The visitor centers are located in two of the city’s most popular areas: across from Millennium Park in the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street; and at the historic Water Works pumping station, 163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue.
For daily alerts about fun and free things to do in Chicago, follow ExploreChicago on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ExploreChicago. Receive answers to your Chicago questions on the go, and tips on the latest citywide events and activities, via the FREETwitter Concierge Service (@explorechicago) available daily.
The Chicago Office of Tourism is dedicated to promoting Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers and to providing innovative visitor programs and resources. For more information please visit www.ExploreChicago.org.