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I am so fortunate to live on the outskirts of Chicago because boy it’s fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in this City!  We always make sure to get downtown early for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago and enjoying the festivities in the front row of the crowds!

celebrating st. patrick's day in chicago - irish hat

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Chicago is home to one of the largest and most influential Irish-American communities in America, making its parade one of the best in the U.S.  Nearly 400,000 Chicago Irish (ChIrish) and Chicagoans of all ancestry will pack the downtown parade route.  On Saturday, March 15, spectators will be festively dressed in their St. Paddy’s Day outfits while they participate in the dyeing of the Chicago River at 10:00am and the parade at Noon.

The Emerald Green Chicago River

Chicago has a unique tradition of dyeing the Chicago River emerald green!  The river is dyed green using orange vegetable dye. That’s right; the dye that turns the river green is actually orange!  The Chicago Plumber’s Union and the Blarney Island Bar help the magical leprechauns dye the river for a festive start to the weekend.  The dyeing of the Chicago River has been a tradition for 43 years.

Once the river has been dyed Shamrock green, everyone knows that the St. Patrick’s Day Parade can begin!

celebrating st. patrick's day in chicago by dyeing the river green

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago with a Parade

The parade is held every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.  Even though sometimes the weather is cold, thousands of spectators will line the streets to watch the Shannon Rovers bagpipers, leprechauns, floats, Irish dancers, marching bands and hand waving politicians march in one of Chicago’s most popular and celebrated annual events. Spectators need to get there early to get a good spot to watch the nearly three-hour procession!  The parade starts at Noon on the corner of Balbo and Columbus.  It will head north on Columbus Drive and a viewing stand will be located in front of Buckingham Fountain.


Outside of Ireland, it’s a ton of fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.  Everyone wants to be a wee bit Irish on St. Paddy’s Day.  We sell plenty of unique Christmas ornaments, many of them with Irish flair to celebrate your Irish heritage, or to commemorate the fun you had partying on St. Paddy’s day!  May the luck of the Irish be with all of you!  Slainte! (A toast to good health).


“May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand”

― Irish Blessings