Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick"), is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century, has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green.
Celebrate Irish culture and tradition in Chicago with its deep-rooted Irish heritage. From raucous pub crawls to lively parades, there’s nothing quite like Saint Patrick's Day in Chicago. Irish taverns are packed with revelers and jovial crowds jam the city streets. However, the spectacular sight is reserved for the dyeing of the Chicago River that sparkles brilliant shades of emerald green.
Dyeing of the Chicago River
On Saturday, March 17th, you are in for what might be one of the world's most famous Saint Patrick's Day rituals—when the Chicago River turns an emerald green. Actually, at first glance, the eco-friendly (yet secret formula) dye used appears orange on the river's surface—but don't panic. Thanks to a little leprechaun magic (or, well, science), the hue transforms and seeps in until the whole river is a bright, beautiful green. Dating back to over 50 years ago, the dyeing of the river remains a cherished tradition for many generations of Chicagoans and draws almost ½ million spectators to the city center eager to catch a glimpse before taking in the parade that follows. The Chicago River keeps its color for about five hours only, so don't miss it!
Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
Chicago is home to one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the US. Join in the Chicago tradition that dates back to over 60 years ago. Rain or shine, don your best green outfit—or a kilt if you dare—and embrace all Chicago has to offer for those Irish at heart. You will be witnessing an array of colorful floats waving their green flags high, troops of Irish step dancers in their requisite curls, booming marching bands and bagpipers. A sight not to be missed.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!