- When: Saturday before or of St. Patrick’s Day
- 2017: March 11
- Where: Itasca and downtown Chicago
- Metra Line: Milwaukee District West Line
- Cost: $6.50 (reserved), $7.00 (day-of-event)
An Itasca tradition for decades long before The Yard Social Club got involved, the Itasca St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a two-block walk to the Itasca Metra Station where the group heads down to the Chicago Loop for the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on the Saturday before (or of) St. Patrick’s Day. Since 2014, The Yard Social Club charters a private train car onboard the Metra to provide parade-goers with a more comfortable trip into and out of the city at discounted rates. In 2016, we sold out of 75 discounted Metra fares, so definitely plan ahead for 2017.
While the Itasca “parade” and the group train ride is not restricted to a particular age group, this event is recommended for an 18+ age group and the bars downtown are strictly 21+. Check out the “Side Excursions” section below for all-ages event ideas. Also, a reminder that alcohol is not allowed on Metra trains on Saturday, March 11.
Metra tickets for this year’s trip are now available! Tickets cost $7, or $6.50 if you pay before the event. We’ve purchased a block of 75 tickets, which include travel on the 9:23am inbound train from Itasca and the 4:30pm outbound train from Chicago Union Station. Since these are discounted fares, these tickets are only good between Itasca and Chicago Union Station on trains #2706 (9:23am inbound) and #2715 (4:30pm outbound). Additional free tickets are available for travelers who have monthly Metra passes.
Register for your tickets by filling out this Google Form. Your tickets are not officially reserved until payment is received, and we do sell out of discounted tickets every year, so plan ahead!
- 8:30am: Private pre-party
- 9:00am: Parade begins at Maple and Grove Streets, Itasca
- 9:15am: Parade arrives at Itasca Metra Station
- 9:23am: Inbound train #2706
- 10:20am: Arrive Chicago Union Station
- 11:00am: The Berghoff
- 12:00pm: The Bar Below
- 1:30pm: Kitty O’Shea’s or Cactus
- 3:00pm: O’Neil’s on Wells*
- 4:15pm: Arrive Chicago Union Station
- 4:30pm: Outbound train #2715
- 5:12pm: Arrive Itasca Metra Station
- 5:15pm: Tree Guys Pizza Pub
* Schedule note: The Shannon Rovers Irish pipe band will have a live performance at O’Neil’s on Wells at 2:30pm. Some members of our crawl will head over to that bar around 2pm. There is usually a cover charge at O’Neil’s.
Maybe bars aren’t for you. Maybe you want to try something a little different and explore the city a bit. By all means, blaze your own trail and take in more of what downtown offers! Here are some of our recommended excursions.
- Sail on the Green River. The Chicago River is famously dyed green every St. Patrick’s Day. While our usual schedule has us arriving too late to see the actual dyeing of the river, the river stays that neon-green color for quite awhile. But the Chicago Water Taxi, Wendella’s fleet of big yellow boats, sails on St. Patrick’s Day! Board water taxis just north of Madison Street and at Rush Street, one block west of Michigan Avenue.
- Check out the new Riverwalk. If ye be a landlubber who hasn’t found your sea-legs yet (or you’d simply rather not pay for the Water Taxi), Chicago’s newly-extended riverwalk puts you right at the water’s edge from Lake Street to Lake Michigan.
- Don’t forget about the real Parade! It’s a running joke that we go downtown “for the parade” and haven’t seen a minute of it for decades, but you can go check out the performers and floats yourself! The Parade runs on Columbus through Grant Park, starting at Balbo at noon and heads north to Monroe.
- Take a bike ride. If the weather’s decent and you want to burn off a few calories while expanding what’s in your reach of Chicago, $10 buys you a 24-hour pass for unlimited half-hour rides on any Divvy bike at any Divvy dock. Protected bike lanes on Clinton, Dearborn, Randolph and Washington will let you criss-cross the Loop in safety and style.
- When in doubt, there’s always Navy Pier. While “true” Chicagoans would go to Navy Pier no sooner than they’d put ketchup on their hot dog, recent upgrades have shed much of the Pier’s old carnival atmosphere in favor of something a little more sleek and 21st Century. Plus the newly expanded Ferris Wheel might be the best place to check out the city from above.
If you do choose to choose your own adventure, check Metra’s schedules and plan accordingly. Our group rate tickets are only good between Itasca and Union Station and only on the two indicated trains, so you may find it more valuable to buy a Metra $8 Weekend Pass instead and have more flexibility.
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