A Family Friendly St. Patrick’s Day: Events and Activities for Everyone

March 7, 2018

Chicago river dying for St. Patricks Day

(Updated March 2019)

With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, there are lots of events and activities happening, many involving over indulging in some adult beverages and creating some fuzzy memories. But just because you have a family now doesn’t mean the fun can stop. There are a ton of family friendly activities happening and even ones that involve green beer just for you parents. Yes parents, you deserve a green beer or two.

I gathered a list of things we have done as a family, alone and other popular events throughout the city. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Downtown Parade– The big downtown parade and river dying will take place this Saturday, March 16th. The river dying is scheduled for 9am, which I think is the best part! The best place to watch it is from the Riverwalk (see pic above), Michigan and Columbus. I would HIGHLY recommend getting a spot early and baby wear, if possible. (I like this one, I find it the most supportive and have returned two others we had). We saw strollers last year, but as the crowds filled in, it is that much more difficult to navigate. There is lots of room on the Riverwalk, but it does get a little wild later in the day, but early, it’s great for kids.

Public transportation is also ideal and the Brown Line is the closest (check to make sure all stops are accessible, I’ve learned the hard way!) The parade kicks off at noon, with a viewing gallery right by Buckingham Fountain.

When: Saturday, March 16th

Gallagher Way– This area next to Wrigley Field has had several family fun activities in the past, including ice skating and visiting Santa Clause. This year, there will be lots of activities like face painting, a basic Irish dance lesson and more.

Where: Gallagher Way, Wrigleyville

When: March 17th, 11am-3pm

St. Patrick’s Day Civic Celebration– If you are looking for other ways to celebrate the day, attend mass at Old St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Chicago’s West Loop. The Old St. Patrick’s concert choir will be accompanied by The Sheila Tully Irish Step dancers, and the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band. Highly recommended to get there early.

When: Saturday, March. 16th, 9am. (doors open at 7am)

Where: Old St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, 700 W. Adams St., West Loop

St. Patrick’s Festival at the Irish American Heritage – The Irish American Heritage Center is on the Northwest side. The family-oriented annual event will include traditional and contemporary Irish music, Irish step dance performances, food and drink, children’s activities and an arts-and-crafts fair with an Irish flair.

When: Saturday, March 16th – Sunday, March 17th , 1 p.m.-midnight

Where: Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave., Irving Park

Additional Details: $15 for adults, or $12 for advance purchase if bought by the end of the day on March 14. Children 12 and under are free.

Northwest Irish Parade- The Northwest Irish Organization (NWSI) kicks off its 16th annual parade to celebrate all things Irish. This is probably the most manageable parade with a family compared to the downtown parade.

The after party is at Immaculate Conception Elementary School Recreation Center from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Tickets for the after party include dinner and drinks for kids and adults. There will be corned beef, entertainment, face painting, balloon magic and raffles.

When: Sunday, March 17th, noon

Where: Begins at 6634 W. Raven

Additional Details: After party 1:00- 5:00 pm
Immaculate Conception Recreation Center 7271 W. Talcott Ave

Tickets: $10.00/12 and over, $5.00/children under 12. Drink Wristband (optional) $5.00 -21 years & older only (includes beer & wine)

Hard Rock Cafe– Need somewhere to go after the downtown parade? Hard Rock is having their 11th annual GET SHAMROCKED! This all ages event starts at 10:00 AM. I’ve done this without kids, but there were families present early in the day. You can head in Cafe (children are only allowed in this area). There will be live music, along with green beer, Irish grub and jello shots and more. 

I think it’s great if you are taking the Metra into the city and need a pit stop along the way. 

*Heated tent is 21 and over, but the cafe is all ages*

When: Saturday, March 16th

Where: 63 West Ontario, Chicago, IL

Additional Details: $5 dollar suggested donation to Misericordia


Krispy Kreme-  In the mood for doughnuts? What about green doughnuts?! Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is joining the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and is back serving green doughnuts for the weekend.


Krispy Kreme is bringing back its “O’riginal” Glazed Doughnut on Friday and Saturday, March 16-17, at Chicagoland’s Krispy Kreme shops located at 17815 South Halsted Street in Homewood and 9150 South Western Avenue in Evergreen Park. 

Definitely perfect for those little ones with a serious sweet tooth in your family!

Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant- Named one of the “Top Ten Irish Pubs in the World” by Irish of the Welcomes magazine, Chief O’Neill’s is very authentic and also, family friendly. In fact, we have celebrated many special occasions here including their father’s day brunch. They have several family friendly activities going on all weekend like their Little Leprechaun Family Breakfast Feast.

*Children are welcome UNTIL 2:30pm Saturday Parade Day and Sunday St. Patrick’s Day on the main floor*

When: Saturday, March 16th (Opens at 7AM)

  • Face painting and balloon animals
  • Free Irish Dance lessons 10am, kids 3 to 10 years told with The Trinity Academy of Irish Dance
  • An appearance by St. Patrick himself at 10am
  • And more! 

Where: 3471 N. Elston Ave., Avondale

Breakfast Food Service, Adults $15, Kids 10 and under $12

Lady Gregory’s – Lady Gregory’s Irish Bar & Restaurant in Andersonville is one of our family’s favorite lunch spots. We LOVE their holiday events like visiting Santa.

This charming pub focuses on farm-to-table, sustainable, local ingredients and authentic Irish fare. Try to secure a table in the cozy library with a fireplace. They are serving traditional Irish Fare and green beer 

When: Starting Friday, March 15th-Sunday, March 17th

Where: 5260 N. Clark Street

XO Marshmallow– This is the cutest space and the desserts are delicious! They are serving Green River soda marshmallows. Also, very instagrammable 🙂 

Where: 6977 N Sheridan Rd, Andersonville

JoJos Milk Bar– This dessert bar is new on the scene and serving over the top milk shakes, pop tarts, pastries and more. They also have a food menu with items like burgers, fries, peanut butter & jelly and cocktails. For St. Patrick’s Day, they have milk shakes to satisfy all the sweet tooths for your little ones.

Where: 23 W. Hubbard St. River North


Celebrating at home? Here are some ways to enjoy the festivities at home with your family. These books are perfect for the family to read throughout the weekend. 

1.How to Catch a Leprechaun

2. The Itsy Bitsy Leprechaun

3. Curious George- Happy St. Patrick’s Day

For the Adults

I thought these St. Patrick’s Day Wine Labels are cute if you are having people over to celebrate. 

So however you are celebrating it, be safe and enjoy the day with your family! As always, thanks for following along. You can sign up for weekly emails here and follow me on Instagram.

Until next time,



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