Related: St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago – Top Events & Picks
South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade Tips
- The west side of Western Avenue is for drinking and the east side is for families. As one regular told me, “It will be very apparent which side is for families as the other side will be littered with 20 year-olds with 32 ounce beers in both hands.” Another regular, a mom of four, recommends that families get on the east side south of 111st Street where there are significantly fewer taverns and it’s much more family-friendly.
- If you know someone who lives in the neighborhood, try to see it with them. Bathrooms can be difficult to find if you don’t have a friendly spot to hop back to. Port-a-potties are present but not always easy to get to. Also, the parade is very long, so you may find it beneficial to have a landing spot.
- The proper attire is more Irish caps and knit sweaters than green “Kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirts. Enough said.
- The truly proper way to attend is by going to Mass first. My understanding is that you gotta go to Mass if you want to do this completely authentically. (Perhaps that’s more for the East Side attendees than those sitting on the West Side?) Just about every church in the vicinity of the parade will be celebrating Mass that morning. The parade is always on a Sunday.
- If you intend to drink there, know that the bars can get packed. One person described the bars as being at “double capacity” with “outrageous” lines. And, then, there’s that warning about the bathroom shortage, which is relevant here too.
- It’s best not to drive. “The South Side St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the only days North Siders come to the South Side and complain about our parking rather than the other way around,” quipped a resident. The best alternative is to take the RTA/Metra to the 103rd through 111th Street Stations. (Related: Using the RTA/Metra Trip Planner)
Another good choice is to take one of the buses from the downtown and north side bars. Plan now to have fun safely by completely avoiding drinking and driving.
- Two popular restaurants known for their post-parade celebrations are Gilhooley’s at 3901 West 103rd Street and Fox’s Beverly Pizza and Restaurant at 9956 S. Western Avenue. Both usually celebrate with Irish music, dancers, food, and entertainment afterward.