There are events and parades to celebrate St Patrick's Day in major cities all across America, and we would love to be able to feature them all, but time and space add their own constraints so we've had to try and be a little selective. The versions in Dublin and New York we felt pretty much picked themselves in terms of sheer scale, but after that there were some strong contenders in places such as Boston, Toronto, San Francisco and even Singapore...
So why Chicago? Well I have to confess it's because of the whole river dyeing thing. This is something I hadn't even heard of until a couple of years ago, but the more I read about it and look at the pictures and videos the more amazing I find this - I mean, they actually dye the Chicago river green! And not just a little bit green, but a really bright, vivid green as I hope the picture above captures.
As far as I'm aware this is a unique feature anywhere in the world and surely worthy of a visit alone, and this is the main reason Chicago has shot up to third place on my list of St Patrick's Day celebrations that I would love to attend one day. There is a parade too of course, which is very popular and well attended, but the signature event just has to be the river dyeing, so if you're in town on St Pat's, get yourself down to the Michigan Avenue or Columbus Drive bridges and have a look.
The parade and river dyeing in Chicago would normally take place on the 17th itself but as in 2016 this falls on the Thursday then the events are instead moved to the Saturday before, the 12th.
The Chicago river dyeing starts the day off, scheduled to take place a little earlier this year at 9.00am. Recommended viewing points are:
Michigan Avenue Bridge (East side)
Columbus Drive Bridge (West side)
Wacker Drive between the 2 bridges
The parade then gets underway at 12 noon. It's pretty much a straight line so the route is easy enough to describe:
Start at Balbo and Columbus
Follow Columbus Drive
End outside the Chicago Art Institute
The South Side Irish parade will take place on the 15 March for 2015.
The viewing options aren't as widespread as some of the larger parades, but TV coverage is provided by local channel ABC7. It isn't certain at this stage whether this will be streamed online, but they do have the facility to do so and tend to cover major events so it's a definite possibility:
If it doesn't show up then the best option will be to wait for the highlights to show up on Youtube - there are always plenty of people recording the event to there should be lots of coverage coming online, along with the range of videos from previous years that are already on there:
If you're in Chicago for St Patrick's Day then you'll need to get your reservation made as far is advance as possible to get the best prices. You can search and check availability for local hotels here.
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