Best free family St. Patricks Day events in Chicago 2017
PrimoMedia - Chris Biela

Chicago will once again tinge everything from the city lights to the river water green for another St. Patrick's Day celebration. With parades, festivals, fireworks shows and more, there are numerous St. Patrick's Day activities all throughout Chicago. While the holiday might be better known for it's boozy side, there is still plenty of family-friendly fun to be had throughout the city.

Check out some great free family events on and around St. Patrick's Day in Chicago right here. 

The 17 Days of St. Patrick
March 1-17 
Irish Bistro — 3905 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

The party is already in full swing over at Irish Bistro, who are hosting two weeks of festivities leading up to the big day. Sample authentic Irish cuisine, listen to pipers and bands and get your jig on at the beloved downtown eatery. On parade day (March 11), the Bistro will host a benefit for Concern Worldwide. 

West Suburban Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 11 @ 10 AM
Starts at Naperville North High School — 899 N Mill St, Naperville, IL 60563

Naperville's annual parade celebrates Irish heritage with dancing, music and plenty of bag pipes. Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Pantry. 

Dyeing of the Chicago River
March 14 @ 9 AM 
Chicago River between Michigan Ave and Columbus Dr Bridges — Chicago, IL 60601

For over 50 years, this annual Chicago tradition has provided awe-inducing moments and some excellent photo ops. The Saturday morning "water-coloring" event, in which boats drop 40 pounds of environmentally-friendly green dye into the river, is best-viewed from the East side of Michigan Avenue, the West side of Columbus Drive,  or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. The use of public transit in encouraged. 

Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 14 @ 12 p.m. (noon)
Starts at Grant Park at Columbus St and Balbo St. — Chicago, IL 60601

Now in its 60th year, Chicago's downtown Irish parade continues to dominate. The procession boasts step dancers, marching bands, bag pipers, floats and local celebrities. Expect big crowds and traffic (public transportation is highly recommended). 

IAHC St. Patrick's Day Celebration 
March 17 @ 12 p.m. (noon)
Irish American Heritage Center — 4626 N Knox Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

Head to the Irish American Heritage Center's daylong indoor festival. The 12-hour rain or shine bash (noon-midnight) boasts Irish music, dancing, food and children's activities, like face painting and crafts. Children 12 and under are free and attendees are encouraged to head over early for 11 a.m. Mass. 

East Dundee Fireworks
March 17 @ 7:30 PM
Fox River Footbridge — 10 N River St, East Dundee, IL 60118 

This spectacular fireworks show lights up over Fox River in the charming suburb of East Dundee. Fireworks will be launched from the footbridge between East and West Dundee, right above Route 72. The Dundee Scotts Bagpipes will set up shop on on both ends of the bridge for a pre-show performance. Pro tip: Arrive early to find parking and keep your eyes peeled for the sneaky glow-in-the-dark juggler.