5 Things to Do: St. Patrick’s Day Weekend 2018

Chicago certainly knows how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Of course there’s the annual tradition of dyeing the river, but there are so many things to do this weekend — both St. Patrick’s Day-themed and not — that we couldn’t possibly narrow it down to five. So read on to start planning what is sure to be a busy weekend.

And before you head out, make sure you know where to find the best corned beef or have all the ingredients to make these Irish drinks at home.

St. Patrick’s Day Events

5 Things to Do: Chicago River Dyeing on St. Patrick's Day
Photo by David Sowa.


  • Chevy Chase Country Club will host its annual St. Patrick’s Day Feast, featuring the Trinity Irish Dancers, on March 16. Dine on Potato Leek Soup, Tossed Salad, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Glazed Carrots & Boiled Potatoes, and Rye Rolls, plus Chicken Tenders and Fries for the kiddos.
  • Join The Curragh in Glenview for their St. Patrick’s Day Ultimate Block Party March 16-17. The event will feature food, live music, the Tully Irish Dancers, and more.
  • Don’t miss the dyeing of the Chicago River and Parade. The river dyeing starts at 9 a.m. on March 17 before the parade, which begins at Columbus and Balbo drives and runs along Columbus to Monroe Drive. (Catch all the action from high above the city at Skydeck Chicago, the country’s highest observation deck.)
  • Winnetka Park District’s Leprechaun Leap will benefit the Les Turner ALS Foundation. After running into Lake Michigan, enjoy free refreshments and warm up by bon fires on the beach.
  • For $17 per person and $7 per child under 10, you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat St. Paddy’s Day Lunch Buffet at Found Kitchen and Social House in Evanston.
  • North Suburban YMCA will tint their indoor pool green for the 8th annual Dive for Gold. Kids will find “leprechaun gold” tokens at the bottom of the pool and can redeem what they collect for prizes.
  • Chicago’s Nelson Street Revival featuring Cathy Richardson of Jefferson Starship will perform at 210 Live during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. A full Irish dinner with corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and Irish soda bread will be served.
  • Keep celebrating after the weekend with Chicago History Museum’s History Happy Hour on March 20. Enjoy live entertainment from Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band, Paddy Homan, and Bentley School of Dance, plus drinks, 15-minute flash tours, and activities.

Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Chicago Flower & Garden Show
Photo courtesy of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show.

March 14-18

This year’s Chicago Flower & Garden Show theme is Flowertales: Every Garden Has a Story to Tell, showcasing “the unique role flowers, plants, and gardens play in the stories of our lives and literature.” Visit for free seminars, demonstrations, a marketplace, kids’ activities, and more.

Where the Children Sleep

5 Things to Do: Where the Children Sleep at Illinois Holocaust Museum
Photo courtesy of Illinois Holocaust Museum.

Opens March 15

Illinois Holocaust Museum’s newest exhibit, which serves as “a wake-up call,” will feature photos and film of Syrian refugee children by award-winning photojournalist Magnus Wennman.

Stephen Dinsmore: Selected Works

5 Things to Do: Stephen Dinsmore: Selected Works at Anne Loucks Gallery
Ocean and Waves, 36 x 36 in. (Image courtesy of Anne Loucks Gallery.)

Opens March 15

Anne Loucks Gallery will display 30 paintings by Stephen Dinsmore, a Nebraska artist known for his abstract landscape paintings and still life and figurative compositions, during this exhibition. “For me, painting means being on the lookout for an image or idea that excites,” Dinsmore says. “So many things count: the creamy light of late afternoon on landscape; the abstract beauty of marks on the side of a train car; an interior filled with color and reverie; a fly fisherman in shadow; a disregarded corner of town. I try to make a painting that has in it the all the magic and mystery of the thing that excites.”

The Art of Maple Syrup with Gale Gand

5 Things to Do: Gale Gand at Brushwood Center
Photos courtesy of Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods.

March 17

Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods will host James Beard Award-winning pastry chef and Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame member Gale Gand for a cooking demonstration that’s all about maple syrup. Register online or by calling 224-633-2426.

Looking Ahead

Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of Glenbrook South High School and the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital