Chicago is well known for an all-out celebration for St. Patrick's Day, but you don't have to miss out on the fun once you have children. If you prepare yourself for what to expect you can still enjoy the best-known events.
- Dress the part. It's fun, it can help put you in a "us" mentality with the crowds (instead of a "Me versus Them" frame of mind) and it can get pretty exhausting the number of people who will point out the fact you don't have any green on.
- Take Public Transportation - "L" or Metra will get you into the Downtown/Loop area for the dyeing of the Chicago River & Parade, and the Metra Rock Island line can get you from downtown to Beverly for the South Side Parade
- Travel light - big strollers are not the best for the crowded streets, so bring a smaller stroller or carrier if possible
- Dress in layers - Mother Nature is a fickle friend to Chicago in March - rain? snow? sun? It's all a possibility
- Bring snacks and be prepared to possibly wait for a table if you try to go out to eat, even with a reservation
March 11th at 9:00 AM
I love living a few blocks from the Chicago River for many reasons and one of them is this event! I know what you are thinking:
"Sara, isn't the river already green?"
No, not like the emerald isle green they dye it every March. The best place to watch the river dyeing is east of Michigan Ave or along Wacker (between Columbus and Michigan), but with kids, I don't mind standing west of Michigan along the Wabash or State Street bridges. Crowds will be heavy, driving is not advised. I like to start early because the day shifts to a more "grown-up" vibe by afternoon, but this is worth seeing. Don't worry if you miss seeing the actual dyeing - the green sticks around for a while!
Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 11th at 12:00 PM
This year's parade is being held to honor the city's essential workers, as they have been a vital part of Chicago's survival through COVID. The parade kicks off at Balbo & Columbus and heads north past the viewing stand by Buckingham Fountain. The downtown area, especially River North, celebrates in a style for accustomed for the 21+ crowd (and the teens who think they are) but if you come for the river you should swing by for the parade! Crowds are heavy and public transportation is definitely recommended!
March 12th at 12:00 PM
Always on a Sunday and always an authentically good time! For the past few years, this event has been brought back to its family fun roots by adopting a "no alcohol" policy along the parade route The South Side parade will kick off at 103rd and travel down Western toward 115th. This event hosts nearly 100 acts including Irish music, pipes & drums, games of chance and so much more!
Looking for more St. Patrick's Day Local Fun?
Check our Calendar for More like these:
| Shamrock'n the Block Party|
March 11, 2023
| Date Night at Kidcreate Studio |
March 10, 2023
(Oak Park & Lakeview Locations)
| St. Patrick's Day at the Irish American Heritage Center|
March 11, 2023
| St. Patty's Day at Gallagher Way|
March 12, 2023
Don't worry - you do not have to spend the entire day decorating Leprechaun traps, or going through a lot of green food coloring to make magical Leprechaun milk or pudding - Unless you want to and if so we have the ideas here for you!
Click Here for More Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day as a Family