The 15 Best Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Illinois!

Bustling cities and small towns across Illinois come together each March 17 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Parades are held throughout the state to honor Irish heritage with traditional Irish food, dances, music and more. From dyeing the Chicago River to running in Leprechaun Leap, Illinoisans continue to uphold these St. Patty’s Day traditions. Here are 15 great places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the state. 

1. Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Chicago, IL

As one of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day activities in the state, the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been celebrating Irish heritage for over 60 years in rain or shine. Each year the Chicago River gets dyed green, drawing attention from thousands of sightseers. An annual corned beef and cabbage dinner and plenty of music festivities are part of the event, as well. 

2. Kelleher’s St. Patrick’s Day Party, Peoria, IL

Nobody in Peoria celebrates St. Patty’s Day like Kelleher’s Irish Pub. This lively pub serves corned beef and cabbage all day on the holiday and features a huge beer garden, live music, Irish dancers, and several Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums performances. The 6,000-square-foot indoor party also provides ample space for dancing to the live music. 

3. Green River Booze Cruise, Chicago, IL

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than partying on a yacht with a DJ? The Green River Booze Cruise provides spectacular views of the Chicago skyline, dancing, freebies, and admission to the after party. The after party is typically held at a River North bar and includes a drink. 

4. Inn at Irish Hollow, Galena, IL

For a romantic St. Patrick’s Day away from large crowds, the Inn at Irish Hollow is the ideal destination. Here you can stay in a quaint cottage with a stone fireplace and whirlpool spa. This intimate bed and breakfast also offers seasonal dishes prepared from organic produce straight from the garden. 

5. Banditos Barney’s Firework Show, Dundee, IL

As part of the Thom McNamee Memorial St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Banditos Barney’s presents a spectacular firework show over the Fox River each year. The Dundee Scotts Bagpipes kick off “The Most Shamrocklicious Firework Show You’ll Never Forget” and a glow-in-the-dark juggler adds even more wow-factor to the performance. Kids and adults alike can enjoy this after-dark St. Patty’s Day event. 

6. Leprechaun Leap, Chicago, IL

Make a difference this St. Patrick’s Day by running in the Leprechaun Leap. This annual event is a favorite among Chicago runners as over 1,000 attendees typically show up to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The Leap starts and Lincoln Park and finishes by the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. 

7. Springfield St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Springfield, IL

Each year thousands of locals gather to watch the floats, marching bands, and other green spectacles at the Springfield St. Patrick’s Day Parade. As the largest parade in Central Illinois, this Springfield tradition features the top marching bands in the Midwest. 

8. St. Patrick’s Backyard Bash, Chicago, IL

For all you can eat Irish pizza and day-drinking on the outside patio, head to the St. Patrick’s Backyard Bash at The Duck Inn. Here you can sit outside from noon till dusk and enjoy the early spring weather and endless pizza prepared by Chef Kevin Hickey. It’s the perfect spot for celebrating St. Patty’s Day with the huge crowds. 

9. Chicago Shamrock Crawl, Chicago, IL

Go bar hopping in Wrigleyville at the Chicago Shamrock Crawl. Tickets include a breakfast buffet, green t-shirt, and lots of free giveaways. The Shamrock Crawl hits up all the best bars in Wrigleyville including Old Crow, Full Shilling, Moe’s, and several others. 

10. Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Elmhurst, IL

If you love parades, put Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade on your destination list. This local festivity features Irish dancers, marching bands, animated characters, and over 80 floats. The parade is second largest St. Patty’s Day parade in the Chicagoland area. 

11. Galena St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, Galena, IL

For small town charm and family-friendly activities, head to the Galena St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. Run in the Shamrock Shimmy 5K and watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which features floats and marching bands. Live music is provided at the Elks Lodge after the parade. 

12. South Side Irish Parade, Chicago, IL

The South Side Irish Parade is a family-friendly Chicago tradition featuring Irish dancers, marching bands, leprechauns, bagpipes, floats, and more. The Emerald Mile Isle run and South Side Irish Parade Golf Outing are held to support the yearly celebration. 

13. Lake Villa St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Luncheon, Lake Villa, IL

This northern Illinois St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at Palombi School and ends at the Lake Villa train station. Colorful floats and costumes brighten up the streets, then the annual corned beef and cabbage luncheon is held afterward at the Lake Villa VFW hall. 

14. Irish American Heritage Center St. Patrick’s Day Festival, Chicago, IL

There’s never a dull moment at the Irish American Heritage Center’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. This large celebration draws in thousands of visitors and features Irish step dance performances, contemporary Irish music, food, Irish gifts, children’s activities, and even an arts and crafts fair! 

15. Southern Illinois Irish Festival, Carbondale, IL

The Southern Illinois Irish Festival is a celebration of Irish American music. This Southern Illinois tradition began in 1997 and now draws in thousands of visitors each year and features three days of live music, highland games, and Celtic fair vendors. 

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