St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago—well, the weekend at least—means two things: more emerald green Patrick Kane jerseys than you knew existed and the dyeing of the Chicago River. Now, actual St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th, but everyone in this city knows that the true St. Patrick’s Day celebration occurs on the Saturday before it falls on the calendar. Hundreds of thousands of cheerful Chicagoans head toward the heart of downtown to witness the bravado of the Chicago River transforming from its usual hue of milky blue to the iconic green glow of St. Patrick’s weekend.
The tradition of dying the river green dates back to the 1960’s where journeymen and pipe workers used the dye to identify leaky pipes, and ultimately ended up pouring hundreds of pounds of dye into the river to give it its deep shade of green. Now, the Chicago River being dyed is a welcome sign of celebration, and an incredible spectacle drawing people in from the city, suburbs, and beyond!
Wondering where the best spot to watch the Chicago River Dyeing this year? We’re lining up the perfect spots to get the best view of this Chicago tradition.
Michigan Avenue Bridge
333 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601
The Michigan Avenue bridge is arguably the best place to watch the river dyeing. It puts the audience literally on top of the river, at one of the final overpasses before the mouth of Lake Michigan. As many streets will be closed down for the parade on Saturday be sure to utilize public transportation as best as you can. It’s worth the trek!
Columbus Drive Bridge
Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60611
Like the Michigan Ave bridge, Columbus Ave (or William P. Fahey, for the Chicago purists) offers another spot to be as close to the action as you can. Watch the boats pass underneath as the river turns that notable bright green.
85 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
If you’re looking for a great view of the river combined with a great party, LondonHouse is your place to go. Experience breathtaking views of the city and river while enjoying indoor and outdoor DJs and an open bar from their 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, floors!
317 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
We already know Pizzeria Portofino has incredible views, so you know it’s on our list as a great place to see our favorite river. This year, Pizzeria Portofino is back with another St. Patrick’s Day party where you can watch the river be dyed, sip on fresh cocktails, and dance the day away with live DJs.
1 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
On the third floor of the Renaissance Hotel, you’ll find RAISED bar. Throughout the year, people flock to RAISED for the incredible views of our city, but that is elevated just a bit more for St. Paddy’s! At this party, look for mimosas, green beer, an Irish inspired breakfast, and that quintessential green river!
Trump International Hotel and Tower
401 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
There are a few events happening at Trump Tower this Saturday. The river dyeing party in the Grand Ballroom will feature Irish libations, a full buffet, and entertainment with the sweeping river in the background. For more of a bar scene, head to Rebar and enjoy Irish river dancing as you watch the river dyeing.
320 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60654
Nestled right along the Chicago River is aptly named 320 RiverBar. This space has an expansive patio, perfect for watching the dyeing boats pass along. 320 RiverBar is located inside the Westin, who’s river-facing rooms also offer the perfect view.
151 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
Just on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency is BIG Bar. While this spot opens in the late afternoon, it’s a great place to head to when you want to view the river from above without the flood of crowds that are sure to be there in the morning. Their menu is also perfect for small bites after you’ve had a few too many green beers!
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