Chicago doesn’t wait until March 17th to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, so there’s a Chicago River and Downtown Color Parade on Saturday.
The city is expecting an influx of people to celebrate these events, so here’s what you need to know if you plan to see them in person.
On Saturday, it will be cloudy and windy, the air temperature will be around 30 degrees. About 1 inch of snow is expected Saturday night.
On Sunday, snowfall is expected in places with temperatures from mid to above 30 degrees.
Here’s a look at the craziest weather ever to St. Patrick’s Day since 1871 — and how the Tribune covered it.
The coloring process begins with 10 am on Saturday and extends from Orleans Street nearly three-quarters of a mile eastward to Columbus Drive. This is a much wider area than in the years before COVID-19.
Watching from home? Tune in to WMAQ-Ch. 5live broadcast.
- Date: March 11, Saturday
- Start time: 10:00 a.m. (It takes about 45 minutes for the river to turn completely green.)
- Where to watch: Along Upper Walker Drive.
- Bridges: Closed to spectators during the river painting, except for Orleans Street and Columbus and LaSalle roads, which will remain open to vehicles and pedestrians.
- Chicago Waterfront: Closes at 11pm on Friday 10th March and reopens at 6am on Sunday 12th March.
Approximately two hours pass between the completion of the Chicago River coloring and the start of the parade, now in its 66th year.
Watching from home? Tune in to WLS-Ch. 7live broadcast.
- Date: March 11, Saturday
- Start time: 12:30 p.m
- Based on: The corner of Columbus and Balbow runs north on Columbus about half a mile to Monroe Street.
- Login: Beginning at 11 a.m., spectators can access the parade route only via Jackson Boulevard and Ida B. Wells Drive. Leave coolers, alcoholic beverages and water bottles at home.
- Road closures: Beginning at 8 a.m., Columbus Drive will be closed to traffic from Wacker Drive south to Roosevelt Road.
- Security: All bags and purses will be checked at the entrance to the parade route. No alcohol, coolers, open drinks, CamelBaks or personal water bottles.
Details on other St. Patrick’s Day parades in Chicago:
- Archer Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade: It starts at noon Saturday at the intersection of 53rd Street and Oak Park Avenue, then goes south on Oak Park to Archer Avenue, then east on Archer to Narragansett Avenue and ends in the 5600 block of South Narragansett.
- North West Irish Parade: Starts at noon Sunday at 6634 W. Raven St. (outside of William J. Onahan Elementary School), then goes south on Neola Avenue to Northwest Highway, then north on Northwest Highway to Harlem Avenue.
- Southern Irish Parade: It begins at noon Sunday at the intersection of 103rd Street and Western Avenue, then continues south on West to 115th Street.
With the expected large crowds and street closures, organizers say they are planning extra time to travel to these events and will consider using public transportation.
Chicago Transit Authority
Unlimited tickets available for one day ($5) or three days ($15) and can be purchased through The Ventra app.
Departure transitchicago.com for information on bus and rail fares, timetables and maps.
Buses: road closures will cause redirects routes.
Metra offers two weekend pass options. Unlimited rides on Saturday or Sunday are $7. Up to three children under the age of 11 can ride for free with each fare-paying adult. Weekend pass includes unlimited rides for $10, available only at The Ventra app.
Six Metra lines connect to Union Station and Ogilvy Transportation Center. One connects to LaSalle Street Station.
Check metro.com for route schedules and maps. Alcohol and bicycles are prohibited on all lines on Saturday and on Rock Island trains on Sunday.
If you are going to the city center, you can purchase parking in advance through SpotHero or Millennium Garages.