Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade: 2017's Guide to Food and Fun in the Windy City
Every year, on March 17th, the city of Chicago turns into the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day revelers. Chicago sees its’ downtown loop flooded with partiers, families, and fans of the Irish holiday. Whether you are in town for the festivities, which includes the amazing parade and the Chicago River being dyed green, or the delicious food – you are bound to have a good time. This year marks Chicago’s 62nd celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and it will no doubt be a good one. In honor of the festivities we are going to detail some of our favorite spots to be when the city goes green. Are you ready? Let’s go!
The Places to Be
If this is your first St. Patrick’s Day in the Windy City then you are going to be starting out early. You’ll want to head down to the Chicago River, located at Michigan Ave and Wacker Drive, around 9AM. Here you’ll be first in line when the river is dyed a bright, Irish green. Chicago has been dyeing the river since 1961, when the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union 110 helped to come up with the idea. Local residents advise getting there a couple minutes early in order to snag a prime viewing spot. The dyeing process only takes a few minutes but it is well worth the watch. Afterwards you can even go on boat river rides to see the city from a whole new angle.
With the river green and the city teeming with tourists it is time to head over to Grant Park. Grant Park will serve as our starting point for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and that’s where you’ll want to find yourself around noon. From there the parade will travel from Balboa Drive all the way to Monroe Drive. Rain or shine the parade will run for about three hours. Show up in your finest green clothing – or a kilt if you’re up for it!
The Places to Eat
No matter how enticing the parade may be you are going to get hungry pretty quickly. While there is definitely a ton of great food available around the city, some places are particularly good on St. Patrick’s Day. Since we are already downtown let’s head over to a local Irish favorite, the Emerald Loop. At the Emerald Loop you will be treated to over 40 different beers, Holiday specials, and some traditional Irish fare. The interior of the Emerald Loop is modern and spacious, though we anticipate that it will be packed before and after the parade. If you want to steal a lunch during the festivities you can still watch the parade on the numerous giant, flat-screen televisions. We definitely suggest dishing up some bangers and mash while you are there.
If you want something a little slower, and don’t mind going out of the way, we suggest hitting up Chief O’Neill’s. Located at 3471 N Elston Ave, Chief O’Neill’s offers authentic Irish food at a modest budget. Locals rave about the shepherd’s pie and the cheap drinks. Does that not sound like the greatest combination ever? If you dig your lunch then consider coming back during Happy Hour to steal a nice little buzz.
Closing out the Night
If the kids are put to bed and the adults want to let loose, we suggest heading down to River North for a few of the city’s best pubs. Our personal bar crawl would begin at the Fado Irish Pub which is located at 100 W Grand Avenue. Fado, which is Gaelic for ‘long ago’, was started back in 1997 by a group of actual Irish foodies. The pub features an incredible Happy Hour selection and some of the best drinks in the city, available until 3AM on St. Patrick’s Day. From there you will see a host of bars within stumbling distance any of which will do you just fine.