The Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is held every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, unless the holiday falls on a Saturday, in which case the parade takes place then. Chicago is home to one... ... read more
The Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is held every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, unless the holiday falls on a Saturday, in which case the parade takes place then. 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 green-clad and festively dressed spectators line the Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Parade route, which starts at Balbo and Columbus Drive and proceeds north up Columbus, ending at Monroe Drive. Parade marchers include hundreds of representatives from local youth groups, Irish dancers, police and fireman forces, American and Irish bands, and many other organizations, making for a nearly three-hour procession. The Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Parade starts at 10am and a viewing stand is located in front of the historic Buckingham Fountain.
Before the parade, crowds line the east side of the Michigan Avenue bridge, the west side of the Columbus Drive bridge, and upper and lower Wacker Drive (between Michigan Avenue and Columbus) to view the 10am dyeing of the Chicago River, which takes a shamrock-green hue for the occasion.
Be sure to get to both the Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and river dyeing early for a good spot if that is your main event of the day. The same advice should be taken if you’re headed straight to visit one of the city’s many Irish bars or pubs like McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon and The Galway Arms, which are jam-packed with drunken, fun-loving celebrants. St. Patrick’s Day is an all-night party in The Second City, so don’t be surprised if the party goes well past the conclusion of the parade.
The Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is accessible by the Blue and Red L lines, where travellers can exit at any of the Loop stops and walk east on Columbus, as well as Brown, Green, or Orange L lines. Paid parking is available at Navy Pier and there is street parking available around Wells Street between Lake and Van Buren Streets.