There is nothing quite like Chicago St. Patrick's Day. When Irish pubs are packed with partygoers, local festivals spring up all over the city, and the Chicago River shimmers in dazzling emerald green hues. It just sounds like magic!
Well, talking about this magic, get your chi-Irish shamrock t-shirt on. It's time to better understand this day's history and why Chicago is the best city to celebrate!
We know you're excited to learn more about Chicago St. Patrick's Day (believe me, we are too), but before digging into it, here is a little history about the day itself.
Saint Patrick's Day, the patron saint of Ireland, is celebrated on March 17.
What began as a religious celebration in commemoration of his death has become a popular and multitudinous celebration where the green color is everywhere, and shamrock t-shirts and beers are a distinctive part of the celebration.
According to legend, St. Patrick is the boss. Not only did he bring Christianity to the island, but he also made shamrock fashionable and rid Ireland of snakes.
Ireland began officially celebrating the day in 1903. Since The Emerald Isle is mainly Catholic and St. Patrick's Day usually coincides with Lent, traditionally, it was a quiet, religious holiday.
A time during which you could eat and drink as much as you wanted, hence the traditional Irish meals. However, drinking whiskey and beer was not allowed. Lenten restrictions were lifted, giving Christians a respite.
In fact, until the 1970s, Irish law mandated that pubs close on March 17. However, beginning in 1995, the Irish government began a national campaign to capitalize on the interest in St. Patrick's Day to boost tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish culture to the rest of the world.
As we mentioned, Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated every year on March 17, the anniversary of Saint Patrick's death.
In some locations, the day is moved to a different date if March 17 falls on Easter.
Within Ireland, which celebrates a week with various cultural and festive activities, the capital, Dublin, is where more people gather to celebrate this day in all the organized events.
However, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in many parts of the world. St. Patrick’s day became popular in other parts of the world, such as Australia, Canada, and the United States, after the nineteenth to twentieth-century immigration of the Irish people to these areas. The immigrants brought with them some Irish customs, including St. Patrick's Day, which then became very popular in these countries.
Catching up with the United States reference leads finally to our purpose! Are you prepared for a party on Chicago St. Patrick's Day?
Now that you know a little about the history and that many Irish immigrated to the United States, especially to Chicago, did you know that more than 175 years have passed since St. Patrick's Day was first celebrated in the city? We know it's crazy!
The first Chicago Irish parade took place in 1843, and it became a recognized city event in the 1950s. It is now a long-standing Chicago tradition.
Well, no more history. Let's get into the reasons that make Chicago St. Patrick's Day an epic green tale, too!
First, Chicago has a long and rich Irish heritage. Many of the city's early settlers were Irish immigrants, and their influence can be seen and felt throughout the city.
This strong connection to Ireland is reflected in the city's St. Patrick's Day celebrations, which are among the most authentic and well-attended in the country.
The most famous St. Patrick's Day tradition in Chicago is the green dyeing of the River. It's one of the special events of the day!
This unique event began in 1962 when a plumber named Stephen Bailey had the idea to use environmentally friendly dye to turn the river green.
Today, river dyeing is a unique event that takes place every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day and attracts thousands of spectators.
Make sure to arrive early with your shamrock t-shirt for a good perspective and to observe the unionists at work from different boats.
The parade is one of the country's oldest and largest St. Patrick's Day parades. It features various participants, including marching bands, Irish dance groups, and even elephants.
In 2023, the Chicago St Patrick’s Day parade will be on March 11.
Before the parade's commencement at noon, suit up! Put on your best shamrock shirt or kilt and find a good place.
Throughout the three-hour celebration, from Balbo to Monroe, you'll also see a ton of vibrant floats waving high Irish flags, groups of Irish dancers, marching bands, and more.
Enjoy the river's emerald-green beauty from the front row. The river cruises in Chicago provide a singular viewpoint of the day's events.
Watch the river turn green, sip on specialty drinks like green beer, listen to live music, and enjoy your corned beef!
There are various boats and tours to enjoy this experience best.
You'd like some Irish food, wouldn't you? What about a glass of Guinness poured to perfection or a drunken Shamrock Shake?
You have arrived at the correct location! Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day at one of the city's many restaurants or pubs, many of which will offer a variety of traditional dishes and original takes on old favorites as part of their menus.
It is easy to locate Irish food in Chicago because of its solid immigrant heritage and sizable Irish community. The city's restaurants always spare no expense when preparing their food and, of course, their drink specials.
The South Side Irish Parade has been going strong for many years.
It is said that two people who lived nearby were the ones who came up with the idea to organize the first parade. They felt that children needed to have a method to commemorate St. Patrick's Day.
In 1981, the very first parade traveled along Western Avenue; until now, the parades still follow the same path.
Regarding the Northwest Side Parade, the same feeling. Another cultural site where you can feel the true sense of community and watch the Irish Heritage in each corner.
Make your way to one of the most important points on this day in the northwest part of the city for the Saint Patrick's Day Festival.
This event is one of the most significant events in the city that is geared toward families.
This festival is fun for both children and adults. It incorporates both traditional and contemporary forms of Irish music and dancing, as well as Irish food and drink that can be purchased, games for children, and merchants selling items with an Irish theme.
For those who want to make the most of their St. Patrick's Day celebration in Chicago, here are a few tips:
Get there early.
The dyeing of the river and the parade are popular events attracting large crowds, so it's a good idea to get there early to secure a good spot.
Dress for the weather, and
St. Patrick's Day falls in the middle of March, so it can be pretty chilly in Chicago. Be sure to dress warmly and in layers.
To help you out, browse through our Chicago St. Patrick's Day collection. Each of our shirts is designed to capture the spirit of St. Patrick's Day in Chicago.
Whether you're looking for something traditional or a little more modern, we have something that will suit your style. And with our high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship, you can be sure that your t-shirt will last for many St. Patrick's Days to come.
Many of the city's bars and restaurants will be crowded on St. Patrick's Day, so making reservations in advance is a good idea.
St. Patrick's Day is about celebrating Irish heritage and having a good time, so don't be afraid to let loose and enjoy the festivities!
Overall, Chicago is the ideal location for celebrating Saint Patrick's Day due to its extensive history of Irish heritage. Its iconic green river, lively parades, vibrant Irish-American community, traditional Irish food and drink, various entertainment options, and events are perfect for families.
Whether born in Chicago or just in town for the occasion, you should make it a point to participate in some of the city's most famous St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
So, grab a pint of Guinness and join in the fun!
P.S. Curious about other St. Patrick's Day facts? Check out our blog. We have info that you don’t want to miss!