Saint Patrick's Day official is Wed 3/17, but most of the festivities occur this weekend. In case puking green beer in the john at your local "pub" isn't sufficiently celebratory, a partial list of more formal and family-friendly options follows. —Lauri Apple
Dyeing of the Chicago River An annual tradition, this year's dyeing begins east of Wabash Ave. and west of Columbus Dr., just before the Saint Patrick's Day Parade starts at noon in Grant Park (see below). Sat 3/13, 10:45 AM, 877-244-2246, chicagostpatsparade.com.
Northwest Side Irish Parade This parade begins at the Onahan School, 6633 W. Raven, and ends at Northwest Hwy. and Harlem Ave. Participants include Governor Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White, and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, labor unions, Irish dancing troupes, and high school marching bands. There's an after-party with a corned beef and cabbage dinner, raffles, and other activities at Immaculate Conception Recreation Center, 7211 W. Talcott, at 1 PM ($5-$10). Sun 3/14, noon, 877-244-2246, northwestsideirish.org.
Saint Patrick's Day Parade The 55th annual parade kicks off from the north end of Grant Park, at Columbus and Jackson. From there, floats, bagpipers, the parade queen, and thousands of marchers travel south on Columbus to Monroe. Sat 3/13, noon, 877-244-2246, explorechicago.org.
Saint Patrick's Festival This family-oriented event features performances by local and touring Irish music acts, including the Mickey Finns, the Dooley Brothers, and Anish. Also: traditional Irish dancing, food, and activities for kids. Sat 3/13, 1 PM-midnight, Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, 773-282-7035, irishahc.org, $12-$15, kids 12 and under free.
Shamrock Around the Block This 17-hour block party features Irish pipers, dancers, leprechauns on unicycles and stilts, and more. Participating bars include She-Nannigan's House of Beer, the Original Mother's, Bootleggers, Mother's Too, and the Lodge. Wed 3/17, 11 AM-4 AM, Rush and Division, rushanddivision.com.
South Side Irish Parade Family Fest The South Side Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee and the Beverly Arts Center cohost this party, an alternative to the increasingly unruly parade (which has been cancelled). Activities include the "Lucky Dog" costumed-dog contest, Irish vendors, Irish-themed arts and crafts for kids, and an evening performance by Irish rockers Hothouse Flowers. Sat 3/13, 11 AM-11 PM, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th, 773-445-3838, beverlyartcenter.org, $7-$10, free kids under 12,all tickets $25 after 4 PM.