St. Patrick's Day Chicago 2023
Enjoy all the fun, food, and celebrations.
Chicago has a deep connection to Ireland and Irish heritage. The city’s parades are a big part of the celebration, but there are plenty of other ways to get into the spirit and celebrate your Irish roots.
The Irish American Heritage Center aims to highlight Irish culture all year long, not just on St. Patrick’s Day, said its director. That’s why it hosts cultural events, classes and exhibits.
The South Side Irish Parade
The South Side Irish Parade is an important part of Chicago’s irish heritage. Residents of the Beverly and Morgan Park neighborhoods celebrate the holiday by holding a one-mile parade that celebrates the culture, history and heritage of the Irish.
The parade, which has been held since 1979, is one of the city’s most popular and long-lasting. Despite two attempts at relocation and cancellation, it’s an important event that celebrates the Irish heritage in Chicago’s South Side.
During the parade, you’ll see many colorful floats waving the Irish flag high and a large contingent of bagpipers and marching bands. You’ll also find troops of Irish step dancers and other traditional Irish music groups performing.
The parade is a huge fundraising event for the South Side Irish organization, which also holds a home decorating contest to encourage the neighborhood to dress houses and light poles in shamrock green. The event kicks off with a pre-parade party to inspire the Spirit of Saint Patrick on Saturday, February 25 from 3 to 8 p.m.
The Loop’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Chicago has always had a rich Irish heritage. But it was not until Mayor Richard J. Daley resurrected an idea that had been in decline for decades in the mid-1950s that it truly began to thrive.
The first parade in downtown Chicago took place on March 17, 1843. It drew about 775 people and began on Clark Street with “Smiling John” Davlin as grand marshal.
In the early days, it was a way for the city’s Irish immigrants to show they were free of repression in their homeland. That was because, in the 19th century, Catholics in Ireland had been repressed by British government policies that had made them outcasts in their own country.
The repression in Ireland was also paralleled by the repression that older-stock Protestants in the United States made against Catholic immigrants. This was particularly true in Chicago, where Irish clubs and societies were formed to defend their rights against the repression of older-stock Protestants.
The Irish American Heritage Center
Throughout Chicago’s history, the Irish have contributed to its rich cultural heritage. Whether it’s through their contributions to the city’s industrial revolution or helping to create Chicago’s unique architecture, Chicago has a long and storied relationship with Ireland.
As the oldest Irish community center in Chicago, the Irish American Heritage Center provides the very best in Irish culture through the arts, history, education, dance and social outlets. It also promotes the spirit of Irish pride among non-Irish Americans.
The Irish are a proud people, with a deep sense of identity and loyalty that’s reflected in their strong community, solidarity and hard work. Despite having a relatively small population in the early days of the city, the Irish have helped make Chicago what it is today.
This year, the Irish American Heritage Center is putting on a family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day Festival following the downtown parade on Saturday, March 11. The large-scale event is a fun way to celebrate the holiday, with music, dance and children’s activities. Tickets are $15 for adults, and kids 12 and under get in free.
Old St. Pat’s
Chicago has a long and rich history with the Irish. That’s why it’s no surprise that the city turns green every year to celebrate their cultural heritage.
One of the best ways to learn about your ancestry is by exploring the many Irish museums and landmarks around Chicago. Some of these are more focused on the culture than others, but they all have their place and will help you get in touch with your roots while still enjoying all the fun and festivities of St. Patrick’s Day!
A few of these places also offer events that are meant to deepen your connection with Ireland, such as learning how to speak the language or checking out Celtic music. While you’re at it, be sure to try a classic dish like corned beef and cabbage!
You can also learn about Chicago’s rich Irish heritage by visiting Old St. Pat’s Catholic Church, which is considered the cornerstone of the Chicago-Irish community. This landmark features stunning stained-glass windows that were inspired by a Celtic art exhibit at the 1893 World’s Fair.