Chicago St. Patrick's Day 2012: Parades, Parties, Pubs, Events and Irish Culture.

Chicago St. Patrick's Day 2012:  Parades, Parties, Pubs, Events and Irish Culture.
Trinity Irish Dancers will "pop-up" along State Street. Photo credit: Hare.

Friday, March 9, 2012. Are you ready, Chicago?  The greening of Chicago is underway–with the return of the South Side Irish parade, the new Lightscape installation on State State going green, the greening of the Chicago River, the parades and the green specials from theaters to pubs–the city is in celebration mode.

So here goes…just check out the Show Me Chicago calendar of events and remember Erin Go Bragh…or if not forever, at least for the month of March in Chicago.

The Greening of that great street: Activities all month.

From U2 to the Irish Celtic Fiddle Waltz, Chicago’s Loop will radiate with an Irish soundtrack throughout the month of March as Lightscape celebrates St. Patrick’s Day – with vibrant green shades of light “choreographed” to more than 100 Irish songs daily from 10am – 8pm, free.  Plus trivia fans will appreciate special Irish trivia at each of the 12 Lightscape installations.

The Trinity Academy of Irish Dance will “pop up” at locations along State Street on Friday, March 9, from 11 am – noon, and Friday, March 16, from 10-11am.

The South Side Irish Family Fest.
March 9-11.
Before the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, bring your “wee folks” to the Beverly Arts Center to celebrate Irish Culture.

It’s the Real McCoy presented by the Irish-American Heritage Center.
March 9-10.
Get ready for an action-packed night of theater, direct from Ireland, as a brand new  three-act Irish comedy comes to the Irish-American Heritage Center for two nights only. Set  in rural Ireland in 1964, what unfolds on stage is a combination of high drama, amazing  Irish wit and a happy ending.

South Side Irish Parade – FREE.
Sunday, March 11.
An old favorite returns to Chicago’s South Side with a focus on family and Irish heritage.  The Beverly neighborhood parade steps off at 11:30 a.m. on Western Avenue and runs from  103rd to 115th Street.

Northwest Side Irish Parade – FREE.
Sunday, March 11
Enjoy the newest of the annual parades when this fun-filled community event steps off at 12  p.m. at Raven Street and Northwest Highway near William J. Onahan School in the Norwood Park neighborhood.

Chicago History Museum presents Erin Go Beer! Irish Pubs of Chicago.
March 11 and 15.
Explore your inner leprechaun on this trolley tour that visits various Irish pubs. Enjoy a  foamy brew while chatting about each stop and hear about the Irish in Chicago and the  history behind St. Patrick’s Day.


Green is the New Pink as the Emerald City Theatre’s PINKALICIOUS: THE MUSICAL goes Green for St. Patrick’s Day weekend performances, March 17 and March 18.  The audience will don “green-tinted glasses” during the performance. Guests  are also encouraged to wear green to the show and will be greeted with fun festivities and St. Patrick’s Day décor.  For ticket specials use the promo code: GREEN. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut St).

RIVERDANCE will play in Chicago for the last time at the Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph, Chicago), March 13-18, 2012 for eight performances only.

The Chicago River Goes Green.

Saturday, March 17.  Plan to arrive early, before the parade, to view the dyeing of the Chicago River. The river will be colored with 45lbs of environmentally-friendly green dye starting at 10:45 a.m. near Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade – FREE.
Saturday, March 17.
Approximately 400,000 people are expected to come to the Loop area for the  spectacular parade. Spectators will be treated to a colorful parade floats, musicians and dancers on Columbus Drive, beginning at  Balbo Drive at 12 p.m. and ending at Monroe Drive.

St. Patrick’s Festival at the Irish-American Heritage Center.
Saturday, March 17.
After Saturday’s downtown parade, head north to the Irish-American Heritage Center for  contemporary and traditional Irish music, dance, food and activities at this family-oriented  annual event from 1p.m. to midnight.

St Patrick’s Day Celebration at Navy Pier – FREE.
Saturday, March 17.
Head to Navy Pier after the downtown parade for an exciting afternoon of Irish dance by Trinity Irish Dancers and live music by Anish from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Family Pavilion Stage.

Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises.
Saturday, March 17.
Enjoy a traditional Irish buffet, a cash bar and a 90-minute tour of  all three branches of the Chicago River. Professional docents will  entertain with stories of how the Irish shaped modern Chicago. Cruises are scheduled before and after the downtown Chicago parade, departing at 10  a.m. and 2 p.m. from Navy Pier.

Chicago Greeter – FREE.
Get the inside scoop on the City’s rich Irish-American heritage from an enthusiastic, knowledgeable local during a free Chicago Greeter walk around the city. Eco-conscious  travelers can explore the other side of “Green” Chicago with a visit to Chicago’s green  buildings and park space. Customized for small groups up to six people, these insightful  two- to four-hour introductions can be reserved at 7-10 days in advance.

Red Hen Bakery Goes Irish.
For the entire month of March Red Hen Bakery will feature Irish Soda bread and decorated sugar cookies.

Get Your Green Beer Here…St. Pat’s Day Specials.

Avenue Tavern.
$3 Jameson Shots, $5 Guinness Pints
Special Appearance by Billy McNugget (The Leprechaun).

Michael Diversey’s.
Food Specials: Corned Beef & Cabbage with Red Potatoes, Sheppard’s Pie, Guinness Beer Brats, $4 Green Bud Lt., ($6 Mega 23 oz. & $16 Pitchers)
$5 Guinness Pints, $7 Irish Car Bombs, $5 Mini Guinness, Shots, $4 Bushmill & Jameson

Monsignor Murphy’s.
$4 Pints of Green Miller Light plus complimentary Corned Beef & Cabbage.

Wilde Bar & Restaurant.
Opens 9am on March 17 with Live DJ direct for Ireland, Face painters, Irish Dancers and more.

Trader Todd’s.
$30 Brunch Package 10am-1pm features Green eggs and ham, corned beef and spuds, biscuits & Gravy, Beer, Stouts, Bloody Marys and more…
All Day Specials: $4 Green Bud Lights, $4 Jameson Shots, $5 Corned beef sandwiches, $6 Car bombs, and the NEW 4 person Shamrock Ski!!! And of course Karaoke noon-close.

Brendan’s Pub.
On March 17 Brendan’s will feature $4 Harp, corned beef sandwiches.

Bridget McNeil’s.
Opens 8am on March 17 with food and drink specials.

Friar Tuck.
Opens at 10am on March 17, Green Beer, Green Jello Shot, $6 Bud Light and Rolling Rock mini pitchers, $9 Green Line and 312 mini pitchers, Shiner Dortmaunder $3 bottle.

F’ O Mahoney’s.
Irish Food Specials, $3 Green Miller Lite, $4 Harp, and $4 Jameson.

Rocks Lakeview.
$2 Jello Shots, $4 Green Beer.

Irish Oak.

The Irish Oak will feature traditional St. Patrick’s Day pub fare and Irish brews on tap.

The Abbey.

The Abbey, home to live music and Irish Grub, will feature an annual all-day St. Patrick’s Day festival of their own.

The Gage.

The Gage on South Michigan Avenue promises a contemporary American menu of Irish classics with a twist.

Other Irish pubs include: Poag Mahone’s, Timothy O’Toole’s, Kitty O’Shea’s, Emerald Loop, Temple Bar in Lakeview and Mrs. Murphy’s & Sons Irish Bistro in North Center.

Chicago Neighborhood Tours presents Bridgeport.
Saturday, March 31.

The city’s historically Irish-American Bridgeport neighborhood comes alive, revealing a rich  history that sheds light on its working-class past at Chicago Neighborhood Tours. The tour is a half-day motor coach excursionof the Bridgeport neighborhood. Excursions depart from the Chicago Cultural Center at  10 a.m. and can be booked at


Leave a comment
  • I'm gonna be out by 11:00am.

  • Don't forget these two Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Parades: The Forest Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Saturday, March 10 starting at 1pm and the Tinley Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Sunday March 11 at 2pm.

    Windy City On The Cheap

  • In reply to windycityonthecheap:

    Thanks for the additions.

  • fb_avatar

    Will the parade be on WGN for those who don't have a car & live in northern michigan-this is the one parade I truly enjoy.

  • In reply to Beth Moore:

    Only ABC/WLS-TV in Chicago will televise the parade. I'm sure you can catch some excerpts on youtube and WGN news.

  • fb_avatar

    So I take it WGN doesn't show the parade anymore so others who have cable could see it. Someday I will have a good car & will come & see it for real.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Beth Moore:

    Thanks Carol-I've noticed WGN hasn't broadcast for maybe 5 yrs now-what a bummer. Enjoy the parade!!!

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Meet The Blogger

    Carole Kuhrt Brewer

    Arts, entertainment and dining journalist..

  • Follow me on Twitter.

  • Recent posts

  • Categories

  • Latest on ChicagoNow

  • Advertisement: