As the color green begins to invade the city of Chicago, natives and visitors alike know that St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching. This year, the festivities will kick off with the annual dyeing of the Chicago River, however the most anticipated event will begin at noon- the St. Patrick’s Day Downtown Parade.
The Main Attraction
On Saturday, March 11 the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will step off Columbus Drive at 12:00 p.m. This year will mark the 62nd anniversary of the Downtown Parade with the theme being “Irish Immigration: A New World of Opportunity.” As one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country, it’s a good idea to arrive early to claim your spot amongst the thousands of attendees. You can expect to see a wide variety of Irish floats and traditionally dressed dancers throughout the entire parade, something you won’t want to miss!
How it All Started
While the Irish population in Chicago had been growing steadily since the mid-1800s, the official celebrations didn’t take hold of the city until the 1900s. The first downtown parade was held in 1956 when the mayor at the time made it a city-wide event with reportedly 5,000 people marching, 29 floats and nearly 100,000 spectators. Today, Chicago is home to several St. Patrick’s Day parades and a green river, bringing in massive crowds to celebrate the Irish immigrants.
If you just can’t get enough St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, there are still several other events that will be going on throughout the city. On Sunday, March 12 you can choose between the Northwest Side and South Side Irish parades, both stepping off at 12:00 p.m. Later in the week, on March 17 there will also be a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at the Irish American Heritage Center featuring live music, dance, food and drinks. Tickets are $10 for adults, free for children and can be purchased online. Check out the complete list of St. Patrick’s Day events and activities here.
While planning out your week of Irish fun, don’t forget to consider a place to sleep! Only 15 minutes away from the parade location, the exceptional City Suites Hotel is the perfect place to stay after the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
Where: Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL
When: Saturday, March 11 at 12:00 p.m.
WHERE TO STAY
City Suites Hotel
A sleek, retro property characterized by its unique Art Deco style. 933 West Belmont, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.404.3400.