Sure, you can spend another St. Patrick’s Day looking for leprechauns and sharing sensual moments with the Blarney Stone, but why not try something different? Ever thought about how fun it would be to wake up on March 18th with a massive hangover and more regrets to think about before falling asleep every night? Maybe, just maybe, you love going to the dentist and are looking for a way to get a whole new set of cavities. Maybe a river dyed green catches your fancy. I’ve got you covered on all fronts. Here's how to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Chicago.

#SpoonTip: Drinking can be fun, but be responsible. Spoon does not promote binge or underage drinking. Stay safe!

Must-see St. Patrick’s Day traditions in Chicago

Image by Benjamin Suter on Unsplash

Saturday, March 11th at 10 a.m. get your caboose downtown and see the river dyed green. It only lasts a few hours, and it’s something you won’t want to miss. Since 1962, this has been one of Chicago’s favorite St. Patrick’s day traditions. Don’t worry about the fish, the dye is a vegetable-based powder that doesn’t harm them. The whole process takes about 45 minutes, so don’t dawdle in the meadow picking four leaf clovers. That said, if you miss the dyeing you can still catch the epic Chicago St. Patrick’s day Parade happening at 12:30pm. It’s a great way to acquire green bead necklaces if you’re short on those for some reason.

Must-eats for St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

I don’t know about you, but I always associate St. Patrick’s Day with a sugar coma. Every March 11th, I grab a Green River donut (made with locally-produced Green River soda) and a black coffee at Stan’s Donuts, then I head down to the river to consume my tasty morsels while watching the Chicago River get in the St. Patrick’s mood. Then, on March 17th, I’ll munch on Firecakes’s pistachio and Guinness-infused chocolate donuts or a Lucky Shake at JoJo’s Shake Bar (a monstrous sugar concoction well worth the price). For the more elegant celebrators, try some Lucky Charm Macarons at Vanille. You can get in the holiday mood without sacrificing your elegant public image.

Where true sustenance is concerned, I stop at Cafecito for a cheap yet delicious Cuban sandwich lunch and usually reserve a table for dinner at Mrs. Murphy’s & Sons Irish Bistro when my family’s in town. Mrs. Murthy’s & Sons serves authentic Irish fare set to the background of lively Irish music. Pinch me, I think I’m dreaming! Actually, don’t pinch me.

Best bar crawls in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day

I always suggest the River North St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl. For the price of one ticket (around $20), you get access to the best bars in the area, from Hubbard Inn to Bodega. It’s Guinness time, baby! The St. Patrick’s Day Lucky Charms Bar Crawl that takes place in Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, and River North. I may or may not have done all of these in the past four years.

Additionally, don’t miss the St. Patrick’s Day Party at Flash. With all the green beer you could desire, and music that would bring the house down, you can make memories for a $19 cover fee. I’m also a huge fan of St. Paddy’s Kegs & Eggs at Millenium Hall because they have an unlimited Bloody Mary bar from 10 am-1 pm. The stuff that dreams are made of.

St. Patrick’s Day bar crawls are not for the faint of livers. That being said, there are tons of non-alcoholic drink options available at each bar so that you can enjoy the chaotic ambience and still drive home afterward.