Free family-friendly events in Chicago for St. Patrick's Day 2018
PrimoMedia Chris Biela YouTube

St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated with family-friendly parades and special events in Chicago and the Chicagoland suburbs in 2018. Kids and adults will have fun at the free event, featuring Irish music, step dancers, marching bands, shamrocks, and leprechauns.

Dyeing of the Chicago River
March 17 @ 9 a.m.
Michigan & Columbus, Chicago, IL 60605

Chicago is famous for its tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day. Plan to arrive early to find a spot to watch the river as it is transformed into an emerald green ribbon. The best places to see the spectacle will be from the east side of Michigan Ave., the west side of Columbus Dr., or upper and lower Wacker Dr., between Michigan and Columbus. Watch the miracle as the Plumbers Local 130 UA, assisted by Blarney’s Island staff in speedboats, zip through the river and pour in orange dye, which magically turns the river the perfect shade of emerald green. The river will stay green for several hours but will eventually return to its normal color.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 17 @ 12 p.m.
Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL 60605

The entire family will have fun at one of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the U.S. The parade will step off at noon at Balbo and Columbus, and will head north on Columbus Dr. The viewing stand will be in front of Buckingham Fountain. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the festive celebration, which will include marching band, dignitaries, leprechauns and characters, Irish step dancers, and more. Public transportation is recommended for the Chicago River dyeing and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade because the events attract huge crowds.

South Side Irish Parade
March 11 @ 12 p.m.
Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60643

The Special Olympics Chicago will be the Grand Marshall of the South Side Irish Parade. The event used to have a reputation for heavy partying, but it is now family-friendly has a zero tolerance for alcohol along the parade route. The parade will step off from 103rd and proceed down Western Ave. to 115th St.

Northwest Side Irish Parade
March 11 @ 12 p.m.
William J. Onahan School, 6634 West Raven St., Chicago, IL 60631

This free family-friendly parade will step off at the William J. Onahan School and will wind through the Norwood Park neighborhood. There will be an after party at Fr. Eric Meyer Parish Center, which will include a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner with Eli’s Cheesecake, and live entertainment. Tickets for the after party will be $10/Adults 12 and over and $5 for children under 12.

Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 10 @ 12 p.m.
Spring Rd., Elmhurst, IL 60126

The parade in the western suburb of Elmhurst will be a family-friendly event featuring floats, animated characters, marching units, and more. The parade will step off at the intersection of Wilson St. and Spring Rd. and travel north of Spring Rd.

West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 10 @ 10 a.m.
Mill St. & Jefferson, Downtown Naperville, IL  60540

The 25th St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the far western suburb of Naperville will be a family-friendly celebration featuring Irish dancers, bagpipers, marching bands, and local businesses.

Paint The Town Green
March 17 @ 11 a.m.
Palatine, IL 60067

The Paint The Town Green celebration in the Northwestern suburb of Palatine will feature a parade, an Irish market, a scavenger hunt, and other family-friendly activities.  The event will be family-friendly and free to attend.