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Best Family-Friendly St. Patrick's Day Events In Chicago

When it comes to family-friendly activities for St. Patrick's Day, Chicago has no lack of options. There are parades, parties, and even a themed cooking class on the calendar in honor of the day. Although the holiday isn't until March 17, there are still plenty of fun things to do starting this weekend. Celebrate the wearing of the green by taking a look at these events in Chicago for St. Patrick's Day.

St. Patrick's
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Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade 2016
Columbus Drive and Balbo Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605

Take part in a time-honored tradition when you and your family sees the Chicago St. Patrick's Day 2016. Held March 12, rain or shine, the event steps off at noon from Columbus Drive and Balbo Avenue in Chicago's downtown. Consider arriving early so you can grab a spot along the parade route, as this event can draw a substantial crowd. Are you seeing plenty of green? You will after watching the Chicago River dyed green starting at 9 a.m. on parade day. Parade organizers suggest watching the river dyeing at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, and additional details are available on the parade's website. If this will be your first time attending the parade, then consider leaving the car at home and taking public transportation to the parade route.

2016 South Side Irish Parade
103rd St. and Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60643

Keep the good times coming by adding the 2016 South Side Irish Parade to your family's plans. The annual event, which will be held March 13 in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood, is a family-friendly gathering that includes plenty of parade participants, including bagpipers and traditional Irish dancers. The parade steps off at noon from 103rd Street and Western Avenue. Parking restrictions will be enforced in the area, so you might want to take public transportation to the parade route.

Northwest Side Irish Parade
6634 W. Raven St.
Chicago, IL 60631

The St. Patrick's Day parades held downtown and in Chicago's South Side might get all the press, but there's another parade held in the city the weekend before the big holiday, too. Northwest Side Irish Parade in Chicago's Norwood Park neighborhood starts at noon on March 13 in front of Onahan Elementary School. The fun keeps going with the official after-party, held at Immaculate Conception Recreation Center starting at 1 p.m. Take a look at the parade's website for ticket information for the after-party.

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The Kids' Table
2337 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 235-2665

All this talk of parades may work up your appetite. If that's the case, then consider registering you and your child for special cooking classes at The Kids' Table. The organization will offer workshops on how to make pesto pizza and shamrock shakes in honor of St. Patrick's Day. The classes will be held starting at 4 p.m. on March 12 at the organization's location in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, and at 10:30 a.m. on March 17 at the Wicker Park location. Workshops are $18 per family member, and the classes are suitable for ages two and up. It is advised families register for classes in advance.

Irish American Heritage Center
4626 N. Knox Ave.
Chicago, IL  60630
(773) 282-7035

If you'd like to do more, then make your way downtown for the parade, then keep reading. Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago's Irving Park neighborhood has a few options and activities on the calendar for families. There's the St. Patrick's Day festival, held March 12, which features music, food, crafts for sale and traditional dancers. On March 17, the center will hold a mass in honor of the holiday starting at 11 a.m., followed by live music, food and dancing. Tickets for families can be purchased in advance.

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in "-er." She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at

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