Tips for a Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Celebration


fun saint patricks day activities for kids and families

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have a wee bit of a reputation that might involve some green beer and Irish whiskey. But the holiday isn’t just for adults looking to revel in their Irish heritage (real or honorary). There are lots of great family-friendly ways to celebrate the patron saint of Éire.

This year, March 17 falls on a Tuesday. Look for events to begin the weekend of March 7 throughout the Chicago area.

Here’s some great ways to get in the spirit of the wearing o’ the green with kids of all ages in tow.


The Chicago area hosts four St. Patrick’s Day parades.

  • Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Saturday, March 7 at noon – This annual event is the place to kick-off the holiday in the Western suburbs and features more than 80 floats, Irish dancers, marching bands and local team mascots like Tommy Hawk and Benny the Bull.
  • Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Saturday, March 14 at noon – The parade starts at Balbo and Columbus and winds its way north past Buckingham Fountain. Parking is tight, so other transportation is highly recommended. You can also watch a livestream of the parade on NBC.
  • South Side Irish Parade, Sunday, March 15 at noon – The parade steps off from 103rd and Western, heading south down Western to 115th. This year, the parade honors The Tom Hopkins Foundation, which provides support to local youth athletics and assists local families who have been affected by cancer.
  • Northwest Side Irish Parade, Sunday, March 15 at noon – This parade celebrates Irish heritage in the Norwood Park neighborhood, followed by an official after party at St. Thecla Falcon Hall, 6725 W. Devon Ave. in Chicago.


Get the kids in the mood for fun with these St. Patrick’s themed crafts.


  • Dyeing of the Chicago River – Before the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the city dyes the Chicago River a bright green. Dyeing begins at 9 a.m., so get there early to watch the process from a vantage point on the Riverwalk.
  • St. Patrick’s Festival at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave, Chicago – Right after the parade, this family-friendly event features traditional and contemporary dance performances alongside tasty Irish food and drink.
  • Irish Music on the South Side of Chicago, 9956 S Western Ave, Chicago – The ShamRockers are playing a family-friendly set on Saturday, March 14 at 5 pm at Fox’s Beverly Restaurant and Pub.


  • Galway Arms Irish Bar and Restaurant, 2442 N. Clark St., Chicago – Name an Irish whiskey and you’re sure to find it well stocked at Galway. The venue bills itself the soul of Ireland in the heart of Chicago.
  • McNally’s Traditional Irish Pub, 109 W. Main St., St. Charles – This charming pub puts Guinness to good use. Of course, the Irish beer is served properly in specially designed pint glasses. You’ll also find Guinness-battered cod nuggets along with a menu full of Irish favorites.
  • Quigley’s Irish Pub, 43 E. Jefferson St., Naperville – Enjoy live music throughout the day on March 17.

Ride In Style for St. Patrick's Day

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!