2020 St. Patrick's Day in Chicago

Something for Everyone!

By Sara Yaniga, Macaroni Kid Chicago (Midtown) March 1, 2020

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.

1) 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.  If you are an Irish lass (or lad) and looking for the perfect 'do - you can visit the Irish-owned Bentley Hair & Beauty (43 E Oak Street) and choose from a selection of styles, including braids and ponytails, each finished off with a touch of gold, green or silver glitter! 

2) Take Public Transportation - "L" or Metra will get you into the Downtown/Loop area and the Metra Rock Island line can get you from downtown to Beverly for the Southside Parade

3) Travel light - big strollers are not the best for the crowded streets, so bring a smaller stroller or carrier if possibles

4) Dress in layers -As of now, the forecast is predicting a high in the upper 30's and no rain, but Mother Nature has proven to be a fickle friend to Chicago in March.

5) Bring snacks and be prepared to possibly wait for a table if you try to go out to eat.  If you are looking for a couple of options you could take the kids into without too much worry - I suggest Harry Caray's or Tavern at the Park.  I have been to both and it's a fairly tame experience.

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)!

Chicago River Dyeing 

March 14th 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 the Wackers (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. The downtown area is not generally "family-friendly" on much of St. Patrick's Day, 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 14th at 12:00 PM

Featuring the theme of "65 Years of Love, Loyalty and Friendship" 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!

St. Patrick’s Festival at the Irish American Heritage Center

March 14th at 1:00 PM

The fun begins as the Downtown parade ends and lasts all weekend long!  One of Chicago's largest celebrations you will have plenty of Irish music dance, food and drink for purchase, children’s activities and an Arts and Craft Fair, with vendors selling Irish gifts. Visit the Library, Art Gallery and Museum for programming and exhibits, Irish language lessons, genealogy workshops and a book sale.

Tickets are $12 for adults ($15 after 3/14) and children 12 and under are free. To see the full schedule and purchase tickets, please visit

The 2020 Emerald Isle Mile

March 15th at 11:30 AM

Sponsored by Running Excels, begins at 11:30 AM just prior to the start of the South Side Irish Parade. A portion of the proceeds helps offset the cost of the parade. Follow this link to sign up:

South Side Irish Parade

March 15th 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!

St. Patty's Day at Gallagher Way

March 15th at 11:00 AM

Gallagher Way has quickly become a location synonymous with "Family Fun" and they appear to be delivering for St. Patty's Day too!  Have you ever wanted to learn how to dance the Irish Jig? 

Now you can! On Sunday, March 15 join your neighbors for a family-friendly St. Patrick's Day celebration at Gallagher Way. Old Town School of Folk Music will perform live, traditional Irish music and offer two basic Irish Dance lessons throughout the day. To conclude the event, The Trinity Irish Dancers will take the stage for a live performance at 2:30 p.m. We'll also have a balloon artist, arts & crafts for the kids, lawn games, a festive face painter, and Irish beverages for the adults to enjoy. 

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at the Irish American Heritage Center

March 17th 10:30 AM (Mass) and 12:00 PM (Party)

Mass is celebrated at 10:30 am and the party begins at Noon. Join us for music, dance, food, and drink for purchase and face painting for kids. The party is from 12 pm-11 pm and tickets are $10 for adults and children 12 and under are free.

Looking for more St. Patrick's Day Local Fun? 

Check our Calendar for More like these:

10:00 AM
435 E Illinois Ave Chicago IL

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Small Gathering Studio
3717 N Ravenswood Ave Chicago IL

2:30 PM
Willis Tower Skydeck
233 S. Wacker Chicago IL

9:00 AM
Uncommon James
849 W Randolph Street Chicago IL

5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Kidcreate Studio
3709 N Southport Ave Chicago IL

17 More Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Kids