St. Patrick's Day in Chicago is a day when everyone has a little Irish in them. With countless activities and event around the city it's hard to keep up on what to do but Choose Chicago has a great list of ideas beyond grabbing a green beer (or two).

Dyeing of the Chicago River

Saturday, March 11

  • Time: 9:00 am
  • Location: Chicago River (Columbus Dr. & Wacker Dr.)
  • FREE

In what might be one of the world's most famous St. Patrick's Day rituals, 45 pounds of eco-friendly vegetable dye are poured into the Chicago River to turn it emerald green for the occasion. Actually, at first glance, the dye 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.

St. Patrick's Festival at Irish American Heritage Center

Saturday, March 11

  • Time: 12:00 noon - 12:00 midnight
  • Location: Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Ave.)
  • Tickets: $12-$15 adults; free for children 12 & under

On Saturday, March 11, head north to the Irish American Heritage Center after the downtown Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade for one of Chicago's biggest St. Patrick's Day celebrations. This family-oriented event features traditional and contemporary Irish music with dance, food and drink for purchase, children’s activities and vendors selling Irish gifts. Visit the Library, Art Gallery and Museum for programming and exhibits, such as Irish language lessons, a genealogy workshop and a book sale. Entertainment includes the Irish Heritage Singers, the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band, O’Hare School of Irish Dance and more!


Friday, March 10 & Saturday, March 11

  • Time: Friday 8:00-10:00 pm | Saturday 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Location: Hard Rock Cafe Chicago (63 W. Ontario St.)
  • FREE (suggested donation $5 on Saturday)

As the city dyes the river green in annual tradition, Hard Rock Cafe Chicago invites revelers to ring in the luck of the Irish on Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11, for the ninth annual Get ShamROCKED bash. The free St. Patrick’s Day celebration features live music, bagpipe performances, activities for the whole family, Irish fare, green beer and more.