chicago st patricks day parade
Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade | D Guest Smith/Shutterstock
Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade | D Guest Smith/Shutterstock
Events

Update: Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade Has Been Canceled Due to Coronavirus

On March 11, it was announced that the 2020 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago had been postponed to an unspecified date. The decision was made "as a precautionary measure to prevent any additional spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

The following article was published prior to the announcement.

We hope you've gotten ahead on all of your adult responsibilities (voting, taxes, laundry) because productivity is about to screech to a halt. This Saturday, the Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade is celebrating its 65th anniversary, and it’s bound to be a special one. Dig out your green bowler hat, coat yourself in green body glitter, and get ready to squeeze as much fun out of St. Patrick's Day as possible.

Google Maps

What time does the 2020 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade start and what is the route?

This year, the parade will kick off on Saturday, March 14 at noon sharp, beginning at the corner of Balbo and Columbus, heading north to Monroe Street. They’ve set up a viewing gallery right by Buckingham Fountain, so head there to stake out a spot. 

If you want the full Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade experience, you’ll want to catch the dyeing of the Chicago River as well. As of now, it's scheduled for 9am on the morning of the parade. Recommended viewing spots include the riverwalk between Michigan and Columbus, the west side of Columbus, and all along Lower and Upper Wacker Drive between Michigan and Columbus. We highly recommend arriving at least a half-hour early to carve yourself out a viewing spot. As an added bonus, all these spots are steps from the Buckingham Fountain, so you can just hop over there once the dyeing is done.

For more info, the official website has a bunch of FAQs, as well as VIP tickets for grandstand seating.

What will the weather be like, and what should I wear?

According to Accuweather.com, the weather for this year’s parade will be cloudy, with a temperature between 31 and 38 degrees and a 10% chance of snow. Since you’ll be outdoors for the majority of the day, be sure to layer up, but don’t forget sunscreen for any exposed areas.

If you want to accessorize, consider stopping by Celtica Gifts. Not only do they have a whole bunch of amazing Irish jewelry and gifts, but they also have a ton of specialty foods that’ll make you nostalgic for Ireland even if you’ve never been there. 

Will Covid-19 affect the parade?

As of now, the parade is set to proceed as scheduled. However, the official parade site recommends that anybody who is experiencing flu-like symptoms stay home from the festivities. This is a developing matter, though, so be sure to check the site often for updates.

What else is going on over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend?

The nice thing about the parade being where it is is that you literally won’t be able to walk a block without finding a bar hawking Guinness and corned beef sandwiches. That said, if you’re looking for something more authentic than dyed-green Old Style, head over to the Irish-American Heritage Center for their annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival. It’ll feature traditional Irish dancing, Irish gifts, and (of course) plenty of Irish food and drink.

If you’re trying to stay downtown, though, we recommend hopping over to Navy Pier and visiting Offshore, the nation’s largest rooftop bar. They’re running some pretty severe specials for the holiday -- it’s probably the only time you’ll ever see a $5 beer sold on the entire Navy Pier grounds.

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Sam Greszes is a contributor for Thrillist.