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Chicago Turns to Emerald City for St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

By Selena Fragassi in News on Mar 14, 2015 4:15PM

Get ready to see a lot of green this weekend—from flashy fashion to the limited-time Green River and colorful gobs of puke in every corner of the Loop, yes it’s that time of year everyone goes bragh for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Celebrations kicked off this morning with the annual dying of the Chicago River downtown and continues with the popular St. Patrick’s Day Parade at noon that heads down Columbus from Balbo to Monroe. With the warmer weather, record crowds are expected to turn out so be prepared for that.

Tomorrow brings parade number two and three. The South Side edition will travel a stretch of Western from 103rd to 115th Street while the Northwest Side starts at Onahan School, both beginning at noon. Be advised, alcohol is not allowed at any of the parades, but there’s plenty of Irish pubs and bar crawls to say Slainte this weekend as part of a growing national trend that all but consumes the once religious holiday.

Wallethub put together a report of St. Patrick’s Day statistics that are staggering, claiming that more than 52% of Americans will celebrate the holiday spending an average of $36 on activities, including downing 13 million pints of Guinness.

Chicago is still one of the biggest cities even outside Dublin to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In fact Celtic Chicago has put together a campaign to illuminate us the “GREENest City in the World.” From Friday, March 13th through Tuesday, March 17th, iconic buildings, monuments and streets around town will light up in various shades of green turning us into an emerald city. Here are some other ways you can sham-rock the holiday:

St. Patrick’s Day Festival at the Irish-American Heritage Center

Hear contemporary and traditional Celtic music, see Irish dancers and take part in the arts and crafts fair. Starts at 1 p.m.; $12-15 for adults

Three Bar Crawls
Chicago Shamrock Crawl - March 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. $25.
St. Pat’s Trolley Bar Crawl - March 14 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. $30-$40.
St. Patrick’s Day Booze Cruise - March 14 from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. $65.

The Art Institute of Chicago
Starting Tuesday, the museum brings a new exhibit, “Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design” with hundreds of pieces of art from 18th century Ireland. A bagpiper and special guests will come just for opening day. Tickets are included in museum admission (from $14-23).