Even if you aren’t Irish, it’s time to pull out those “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” T-shirts because St. Patrick’s Day is just about here! In honor of everybody’s favorite Irish priest, get that green on (or risk pinching), get those beers in early, and get yourself downtown for a day of Irish dancing, bagpipe music, and lots of traditional food and drink!
If you’ve never celebrated your St. Patty’s Day in Chicago before, you may be wondering: where can people go to celebrate in the city, where’s the best Irish food, and when do the festivities begin? Let Navy Pier be your guide!
It all starts when the river is dyed green, a uniquely Chicago tradition for over 50 years. Each year, Mike Butler and his crew dye the river using 40 lbs of orange dye; with a little leprechaun magic, the dye turns from orange to green. And where does the green Chicago River lead? Straight to Ireland of course! Lore says the dye travels all the way from the Chicago River to the Irish Sea!
If you were lucky enough to score a seat on one of Shoreline Sightseeing’s St. Patrick’s Day boat cruises, you’ll be able to experience the green river up close and personal. Otherwise, arrive early to claim your spot along upper and lower Wacker Drive!
Since St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Sunday this year, the river will be dyed at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, followed by the annual downtown parade at noon through Grant Park. Catch it along S. Columbus Drive, starting at E. Balbo Drive and ending at E. Monroe Drive. One of the parade highlights is always the big reveal of the St. Patrick’s Day Chicago Queen!
Don’t let your St. Patty’s Day festivities end early! Join us here at Navy Pier for the actual holiday! Harry Caray’s Tavern on Navy Pier is serving up traditional Irish fare like corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie and we bet any of the Pier’s great restaurants would love to pour you a Guinness or your favorite Irish whiskey.
Beginning at noon on March 17, the Trinity Irish Dancers will take the stage in our Family Pavilion for a series of high-stepping shows and at 4 p.m., the Shannon Rovers will regale us with their amazing bagpipe and drum music.
Plus, St. Patty’s Day weekend is the last weekend that Navy Pier is offering a seasonal parking discount—we bet you’ll feel pretty lucky saving on parking!