What time does the 2018 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade start and what is the route?
Though the parade itself will begin at noon, if you want the full St. Patrick’s Day Parade experience, you’ll want to head downtown at 9am so that you can see the dyeing of the Chicago River. Our favorite viewing spot is along the Chicago Riverwalk, between Columbus and Michigan Avenue. This spot isn’t too far from where the parade will begin.
This year, the route is fairly simple. The 2018 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade will begin at the corner of Columbus and Balbo, right at the northwest edge of Grant Park. From there, it will continue north along Columbus Drive for a few blocks, passing by Buckingham Fountain and the Art Institute of Chicago before concluding at the intersection of Monroe and Columbus at the southern edge of Millennium Park. As a bonus, the fact that the parade route is tucked into the eastern portion of downtown means that if you’re looking to steer clear of the craziness, you’ve got a few blocks worth of buffer even if you still want to hang out downtown.
What will the weather be like, and what should you wear?
As of publication time, Weather Underground is reporting that it’ll be a brisk 40 degrees at 9am when the dyeing of the river starts. By the time the parade starts at noon it’ll be around 47 degrees. The weather will top out close to 50 degrees as the festivities extend into the late afternoon, so maybe save the clover-suspenders-and-green-jorts look for another year.
Of course, you’d be completely out of place at the parade if you don’t show up rocking some green (personally, we think you’d look great in a mint green seersucker blazer over a chunky black turtleneck with some olive green leggings). But in case you get called out by some know-it-all wielding a shillelagh for your lack of knowledge, know that the color green isn’t just meant to prevent you from being pinched by leprechauns or 35-year old former frat stars. It’s also a symbol of revolution, used both by displaced Catholic populations in 1641 and by revolutionaries in the 1790s who looked to install a government inspired by the republic of the United States. (For more information on the relationship between the color green and Irish history, check out this informative Time magazine piece.)
If you’re looking to wear something a bit more classy than that “Kiss Me, I’m CHI-rish” shirt you bought from Spencer’s Gifts back in 2004, you can always order from Long Grove’s Irish Boutique, a one-stop shop for authentic and fashionable Irish clothing, jewelry, and accessories!