Chicago Traveler Blog

Chicago Traveler Blog

What to Do and Where to Stay for Saint Patrick’s Day in Chicago

3/4/18 | by

It’s that time of the year - so get out your green gear and get ready to watch that lovely Chicago River shine with the color of the Irish. So, what exactly goes on during St. Patty’s Day in Chicago? Only a whole lot of fun - so find the best things to do and places to stay for this year’s famous celebration.

Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Events

You've heard of Chicago’s famous festivities for St. Patty’s Day, so why not join the fun this year and make it an Irish vacation to Chi - town.

1.) River Dyeing:

Gear up in green and head to the Chicago River on Parade Day at 10:00 am and watch as the mighty Chicago River is dyed to match the mood (Parade is typically at NOON). Watch as 45 pounds of environmentally friendly dye are poured into the river. If you know anything about St. Patty’s Day in Chicago, it’s that this tradition is one that shouldn't be missed, and marks the beginning of a great day. The Chicago River doesn't stay green for long, so be sure to catch it while it holds that emerald hue (around 5 - 6 hours).

View this rad time lapsed video on YouTube showing the Chicago River dyeing several years ago:  Watching them add the dye may be the coolest part of the event.

2.) Downtown Chicago's St. Patty’s Day Parade

Get on those green party hats and join the fun downtown! Starting at 12 pm (head on over after the river dyeing! The parade goes along Grant Park along Columbus - From Balboa to Monroe Drive. The parade gets going with colorful floats, Irish dancing, bagpipers, and marching bands! We recommend public transportation, because parking is no fun on a day like this. For more information about the St. Patrick's Day Parade visit

The Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade is always on a Saturday.  If St. Patrick's Day is NOT on a Saturday, the Parade is held the PREVIOUS Saturday.  Got it?  Don't show up drunk and don't show up a week late!

Where to Stay for Saint Patrick’s Day in Chicago

The best way to enjoy the festive day is to find a hotel in downtown Chicago, and there are a few that we recommend for the event.  Here are the ones that rise to the top:

1.) MileNorth Chicago, A Destination Hotel: Located about 10 blocks from the action, MileNorth hotel offers comfortable accommodations with easy access to the Chicago River and just steps away from the Mag Mile!  Don’t worry about the downtown parking mess and stay close.

2.) Best Western River North: Another easy option for St. Patty’s Day is the Best Western River North provides not only great options for downtown lodging - parking is free! Don’t rely on the luck of the Irish to find downtown parking!

3.) The Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park: Last but definitely not least, is the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, a AAA Four-Diamond luxury hotel just steps from Michigan Ave. Beautifully decorated rooms make for comfortable stays close to all the action.