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Everything You Need to Know About St. Patrick’s Day in the Chicago Loop

If you’re traveling to the Chicago Loop for St. Patrick’s Day you’re in luck. Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration makes other cities green with envy as the city comes alive with the sights, sounds and tastes of Irish culture. Experience one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country, enjoy traditional Celtic dancing and music, sip a green beer at a local pub, or witness the transformation of the Chicago River to an emerald green – we promise everyone will feel the luck of the Irish this March!

Witness the Chicago River’s Transformation in Style

No St. Patrick’s Day celebration is complete without a viewing of the Chicago River dyed emerald green. On March 11th at 9:00 a.m., 45 pounds of eco-friendly vegetable dye will be poured into the river as thousands of viewers witness its impressive transformation. The best street-level views can be found on the east side of the bridge at Michigan Ave. or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive, but if you’re looking for an exclusive experience away from the crowds we recommended these two special viewing parties:

Raised St. Patrick’s Day River View Party at Renaissance Chicago

One of the best views of the river is above the action at Raised Rooftop Bar at Renaissance Chicago. In addition to a great view, you’ll enjoy an authentic Irish food and drink package that includes house made biscuits, tater tot poutine, Guinness braised corned beef, and more.

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Shoreline Sightseeing’s 11th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Lunch Cruise

Enjoy an Irish buffet, cash bar and 75-minute guided tour of all three branches of the green-for-the-day Chicago River on March 11th with Shoreline Sightseeing. This open-air boat cruise is one the city’s most popular St. Patrick’s Day offerings, so get your tickets now before they are gone.

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Feel the Energy of the Downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The Loop’s streets will come alive with Irish culture on March 11th as step dancers, marching bands, bagpipers and festive floats make their way down Columbus and through Grant Park for the Downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This three-hour parade, starts at Balbo and Columbus at 12:00 p.m. and continues north on Columbus with a viewing stand located in front of Buckingham Fountain.

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Where to Drink

You won’t find a shortage of lively pubs and taverns with St. Patrick’s Day drink specials in the Chicago Loop. However if you’re looking to celebrate like a true Irishman (or woman), we recommend the eleven-day celebration at Kitty O’Sheas inside Hilton Chicago. From March 7-17, enjoy Guinness Glass Engraving and samplings, all-day live music, classes on how to pour the perfect pint, and even a chance at winning the Tullamore Dew $420 bar tab. For more information and a complete schedule click here.

Looking to barhop across the Loop? Here are some other great Irish pubs and bars.

Discover a complete list of bars in the Chicago Loop

Experience a Celtic Celebration at the Chicago Symphony Center

On Tuesday, March 14, experience a Celtic Celebration at the Chicago Symphony Center. The extraordinary evening will feature performances by the Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, Old St. Patrick's Concert Choir, Trinity Irish Dancers, Irish Trad band, soloists Gavin Coyle, Jared Dixon, Catherine O’Connell, Beverly O’Regan Thiele and many other outstanding musicians.

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Are we missing one of your favorite celebrations? Tell us in the comments below. 

Photo Credit (from top to bottom): Shoreline Sightseeing (main), Porbital, Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade


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