March in Chicago might be all about the St. Paddy’s Day green, but we’re taking some liberties and adding eco-conscious ways you can go “green” this month too. The parades are canceled (though in a surprise move the city still dyed the Chicago River its signature St. Patrick’s Day green!) but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate. From enjoying the outdoors to supporting local restaurants, here are six easy (and fun) ways to go “green”—literally and figuratively—around Chicago this month.
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Around Chicago and the suburbs, there are many natural habitats in need of protection and restoration. Organizations such as the North Branch Restoration Project, the Shedd Aquarium and the Lincoln Park Conservancy lead groups of volunteers in caring for local ecosystems.
Forest Glen is made up of several ecosystems including woodland, savanna, and floodplain. Volunteers can help the North Branch Restoration Project with removing invasive plants, collecting and distributing native seeds and reducing erosion issues. Sign up here. 5420 N. Forest Glen Ave., Chicago
Remove invasive plants including European buckthorn, brush and weeds from this woodland with the North Branch Restoration Project. It has over 350 native plant species. Sign up here. Harms Road, Glenview
On select Thursdays, starting April 1, join the Lincoln Park Conservancy at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool for a habitat restoration workday. Unfortunately, the “Hops” portion is canceled due to the pandemic but you can still learn about the wildlife that use the pool. Register here. 125 W. Fullerton, Chicago
Join the Shedd Aquarium for a Great Lakes Action Day and help cut and burn invasive brush to make room for native plants and animals. The opportunity is suitable for volunteers of all ages. Sign up here. Forest Way Picnic Grove, North Branch Trail, Glencoe
Spot animals such as great horned owls and red-tailed hawks and take in sights such as open marshes and ponds while you help with restoration efforts of the woodlands and savannas. RSVP to help the North Branch Restoration Project. 1714 Dundee Road, Northbrook
The Chicago Park District is the oldest park district in America, dating back to 1836 when a map of the city was carved out of public ground. Composed of more than 8,000 acres of open space totaling 570 parks (including the Loop’s beloved Maggie Daley Park), 31 beaches, 50 nature areas, and two world-class conservatories, it’s not only the oldest in America, it’s also one of the largest. In the upcoming weeks, the Chicago Park District will reopen the lakefront, playgrounds and indoor aquatic programs. Masks and social distancing are required, and large gatherings are prohibited.
Restaurants around Chicago are serving up St. Patrick’s Day specials, including Reuben sandwiches, corned beef dinners and all things green.
The Dearborn will offer many specials for the holiday in addition to Irish dishes already on the menu including Seafood Chowder, Beef & Lamb Shepherd’s Pie and a Strawberry & Crème Roulade cake. Guests can also order a three-course family meal with Seafood Chowder, Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Apple Cake with Shamrock Cookies from Vanille. This meal is available via Tock March 10-17 for pick-up at Vanille Lincoln Park or The Dearborn. 145 N. Dearborn St., Chicago
Diners can celebrate all month long with $5 green beer and $10 Lucky Charm Floats. If you’re hungry, there’s the Leprechaun Corn Beef Sliders, Reuben Sandwich, and Shamrock Breakfast Burger for brunch. 221 N. Columbus Dr., Chicago
This Chicago hospitality group will offer St. Patrick’s Day dishes through March such as a Reuben Stacker and Mint Kat Milkshake at Burger Bar Chicago. You can also get your corned beef fix with a Corned Beef on Rye at Cafe Press Chicago or a Corned Beef Hash at Sociale Chicago. For reservations, visit the Good Eats Group homepage. Various locations
Between March 12 and March 17, the rooftop lounge will offer several green cocktails including the Smoky Shamrock cocktail, the Green Frose All Day cocktail and the St. Patrick’s Day Flight served with two green cake pops. To accompany the libations, they will serve a Potato Leek Soup, a Reuben, Green Cake Pops and a Carrot Layer Cake. Reservations can be placed online. 127 W. Huron St, Chicago
This rooftop restaurant is offering a Lucky Leprechaun Shake, a boozy take on the classic Shamrock Shake. One guest will discover a gold coin at the bottom of their shake, redeemable for a complimentary stay at the hotel. Other specials include a Pistachio Martini, Reuben Kimchi Egg Roll, Reuben Sandwich, Guinness Beef Stew and Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding. 85 E. Wacker Drive At, N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
PB&J will offer three St. Patrick’s Day packages: the St. Patrick’s Brunch Kit ($50 per person), the Leprechaun Package ($75 per person) and Dealers Choice which is $75 per person. There will also be a Pot O Gold pop up bar for drinks like Green beer, Guinness and more. For more details on the packages, see here. 205 N. Peoria St., Chicago
Through March 31, Portillo’s will offer a Mint Chocolate shake that mixes the chocolate frosting from their chocolate cake with vanilla and mint. For extra indulgence, it can be made into a cake shake for an additional 50 cents. Various locations
If you’re looking to enjoy your St. Paddy’s day at home, The Rambler will offer an “Irish Pub Experience at Home” package from Saturday, March 13 through Wednesday, March 17. The $60 package includes two Corned Beef Platters, a bottle of Bushmills Irish Whiskey and a four pack of Guinness with two Guinness Imperial pint glasses and St. Patrick’s decor. Patrons can also order dinner for one without alcohol for $16. To order, visit the website. 4128 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Recess has extended their Sugar Rush pop-up through March 14 to help you celebrate the weekend. Starting on the same weekend through March 17, guests can order a Boozy Shamrock Shake as well as Irish comfort food like Potato Leek Soup, a Reuben Sandwich and an Irish-themed burger with Irish whiskey cheddar and Guinness glaze. 838 W. Kinzie St., Chicago
Whether you’re in search of a green cocktail, Irish-themed coffee or Irish food, Rewired has you covered. Sip on the March cocktail, “I’m Not Irish, But Drink This Anyway” or the Pot of Gold from the coffee bar that features thyme and star anise demerara, milk, espresso and Lucky Charms. These specials, in addition to the Reuben Pizza and the Green Mac & Cheese, will be available through March 31. For more details, see here. 1100 W. Thorndale Ave., Chicago
While you won’t be front row to the parade here this year, they have several in-house specials to help you celebrate with. Brunch starts at 11 a.m. and all brunch entrees include a cocktail. Their specials include the Reuben Sandwich Special, Corned Beef Dinner Special and Irish Coffee Tiramisu. If you want to enjoy your meal at home, you can order their meal kits: the St. Patty’s Day Dinner for Two or the Reuben Sandwich Kit for Two. See here for more details and to order. 400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Head to your local Stan’s Donuts for all the green donuts and coffee you could want through March 17. Stan’s will offer items including Emerald-dipped donuts, Green River Glazed donuts, Green Mint Hot Chocolate, Irish Cream Cold Brew, Mint Cream Cold Brew with Cold Foam and more. Various locations
Stop by the riverfront restaurant for the Pot O’ Gold. a mimolette fondue with corned beef, sourdough, and thick cut fries and the Corned Beef Belly Ramen. Bailey’s Crème Cupcakes will be available for dessert as well as Irish Soda Breakfast Bread and other to-go treats. These specials will be available on March 13 and March 17, and orders must be placed via Tock. 330 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago
Tuscan Hen is celebrating with a special dinner featuring corned beef, cabbage and carrots, and housemade soda bread. For an Italian twist, dessert is a Bailey’s Irish Cream Cannoli. The meal is $18.95 per person and you can place your order here. 4019 N. Damen, Chicago
Visit one of Chicago’s zero waste stores, including Zefiro. You can find their eco-friendly kitchen, beauty and cleaning supplies at various markets around Chicago. Zero Waste Chicago helps businesses, individuals and municipalities pursue zero waste and sustainable solutions, and they have an online store full of products you can swap into your daily routine such as beeswax wraps or compostable sponges. Tiny Shop Grocer carries bulk food such as grains and beans as well as household items that you can buy online and pick up in reusable jars. Eco & The Flamingo is women-owned and operated. You can find anything from laundry supplies to health and beauty items and more at this shop.
Eco-boozing? Yep — it’s a thing. Try it by sipping this sustainable cocktail by Carolina Gonzalez, Beverage Director/Mixologist at WoodWind:
Cocktail name: The WoodWind
How this drink is green/sustainable: “This cocktail was crafted with the goal to create zero waste. Pineapple is a key flavor in this drink and every piece of pineapple is fully utilized. The pineapple meat and skin is poached to create the puree, while the crown of the pineapple is used for garnish. Additional pineapple skin is sent to the kitchen to be used on dry-aged duck served at WoodWind. After squeezing the lime juice, all scraps are put in a dehydrator to create black lime, which is utilized in dishes as well as other cocktails.”
Make it at home:
2 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
2 oz Pineapple Puree
¼ oz Lime Juice
4 drops of Habanero Shrub
Garnish with Tajin rim, pineapple leaves forming a “W” and lime mist!
If you’re looking to learn how to make drinks that are the color green or enjoy interesting beers, check out these places.
If you want to celebrate the holiday with your favorite locally-made beer, check out this Chicago beer hall. They have an exclusive in-house brew called the Schnitzengiggle made by 18th Street Brewery or German favorites including Ayinger, Hofbrau or Krombacher available in pints, beer boots or growlers. 1709 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
Resident mixologist Zach Overstreet will lead a class showcasing KOVAL’s take on Irish Coffee, Beer Cocktails and a lucky green drink. Class tickets are $10 and can be purchased here. Attendees can also purchase the spirits used in the class here.