Chicago, you feeling lucky? If not, then you may want to pin your hopes on the ol’ luck of the Irish this week.

As a city with a proud, Irish heritage, we tend to go all out for St. Patrick’s Day. So, there’s no shortage of fun ways to celebrate the holiday. But don’t worry – if you’re not into green beer and parades, we’ve got a couple of other fun events just for you.

Dyeing of the Chicago River

March 16 at 9am at the Michigan Avenue Bridge

No doubt you’ve seen the result of this unique Chicago tradition many times. But if you’ve never witnessed the process of dyeing an entire river green, you’re missing out. The special dye (which is actually bright orange) gets dumped out by boats in a truly fascinating spectacle that all ages can enjoy. And rest assured, the dye is vegetable-based and environmentally friendly, so it fades away in just a few days.


Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 16 at noon at Columbus Dr and Balbo Ave

The theme of this year’s parade is “The Music of Ireland” and will feature plenty of bagpipes, drum corps and Irish dancers. As one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country, it’s something you should experience at least once in your life. Just be sure to plan your transportation or parking as the area does get pretty packed before, during and after the parade.


South Side Irish Parade

March 17 at Western Ave from 103rd St to 115th St in Beverly

For those who’d like to celebrate on the actual day, the classic South Side parade is the place to be. This area of Chicago has a large Irish-American population and was the original location of what is now the downtown parade. Twenty years after it was moved, a couple of neighborhood guys decided to bring it back on a very small scale. But over the years, it’s grown into the huge celebration that it is today.


St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawls

If you prefer to celebrate St. Patty’s day on a bar stool (or several), then a holiday pub crawl might be more your style. Register ASAP though as some are selling out quickly.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl

March 16, 11am-6pm

St. Patty’s Day Trolley Crawl

March 16, various times

Chicago Shamrock Crawl

March 16, 8am to 2pm


Chicago Flower & Garden Show

March 20-24 at Navy Pier

Growing impatient waiting for spring in Chicago? Then this celebration of all things green and floral should wet your whistle. In addition to being able to just admire (and smell) all the natural beauty, attendees can check out life-sized gardens, workshops and seminars to help you make your own thumb a little greener.


C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo

March 22-24 at McCormick Place

If you consider yourself anything close to a movie, TV or comic nerd, you need to be here. With tons of unique vendors, celebrity guests and panels, there’s truly something for everyone. And this is a family-friendly event as well, so feel free to bring the kiddos along.


Honorable Mentions:

Chicagoland Family Pet Expo

March 15-17 at Arlington International Racecourse

Kid’s Expo

March 16-17 at the Schaumburg Convention Center

Mac & Cheese Competition

March 16 at Second Unitarian Church