Posted on: March 4, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Graphic by Sarah Schudt

By Rosie Finnegan, Opinion Editor

Clearly, Chicagoans love St. Patrick’s Day. After all, what other city goes so far as to dye its river green? All of the parades, food, and other festivities make it hard to decide the perfect way to celebrate, so let this be your guide to make the most of your experience this year.

Sweet treats to eat

The food of St. Patrick’s Day inspires a lot of divided opinions, but even if corned beef is not for you, there are plenty of other treats to indulge in. 

Each year, McDonald’s brings back the Shamrock Shake. Many people spend all year just waiting for the taste of artificial mint flavoring in vanilla ice cream. The allure of having a shake that vaguely tastes like toothpaste delivered straight to your door is unmistakable. Some may think that a toothpaste shake would not be very tasty, but those people would be wrong. Something about the fact that the mint flavor is so obviously fake makes it even more enjoyable. 

Another drink that comes around every March–especially appropriate in Chicago–is Green River. If you are often disappointed by Sprite, this may be your new favorite beverage. It is bright green and lime-flavored, although the main flavor is really just sugar. It is typically sold in one-liter bottles, and if you drink the whole thing (which you likely will), it will dye your tongue green so you can be extra festive. 

One of the best edible traditions of St. Patrick’s Day is Irish soda bread. It is not made with any yeast, and instead uses buttermilk and baking soda to make it rise. When made with raisins, it is called a Spotted Dog and is best enjoyed warm with plenty of butter. It came about because of the scarcity of ingredients like eggs and sugar, but it can now be found in supermarkets if you are not up for the task of making it from scratch. If you do want to try making it yourself, you can find a great recipe here.

Plenty of restaurants in Chicago are ready to help you mark the day, and from authentic Irish pubs to specialty donuts, there is bound to be something you enjoy! Thorn Restaurant & Lounge is offering a Rueben special on St. Patrick’s Day, complete with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and rye bread. The restaurant is also offering to turn all of its draft beers green. Or for something more high-end, Ocean Prime has a special menu for “Green River Day,” from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Parades to help celebrate

While food and beverages tend to be at the forefront of the mind due to the number of parties held to celebrate the holiday, Chicago has plenty of other unique St. Patrick’s Day traditions.

Parades are coming back after a hiatus due to COVID, and there are two big ones to choose from.

The downtown Chicago parade will take place on Saturday, and begins at noon. The most notable part of this parade is the dying of the Chicago River, which begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday. By the time the parade starts, the river will be completely green and the procession will go down Columbus Avenue. You also have the option to cruise down the river after the dye is dumped in.

Another option is the South Side Irish Parade, which takes place in the Beverly and Morgan Park neighborhoods. This parade takes place on Sunday, beginning at 103rd Street, moving down Western Avenue and ending at 115th Street. This community is largely Irish, and many of its members share the idea that everyone is Irish for parade day.

Other communities including Orland Park and Tinley Park also have parades if the other two are too far for you to enjoy.

Erin go bragh!

No matter how you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to stay safe and have fun. Take this time to be with friends and family after the past two years of so much social distance. Be sure to set the mood with Irish tunes–the Glacier editors put together a Spotify playlist of tunes both traditional and modern to help you get in the spirit.

So don your Irish sweater, your favorite Irish hat, or anything you own that is green. And eat, drink and be merry!