The Chicago River gets dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day


Remember the Southwest companion pass I got this year? This is the first trip I’m able to use the pass to check out an annual tradition in the Windy City. Chicago has an annual tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The city’s celebration is typically held the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. The river is dyed green at 9 am, followed by a parade in the afternoon.

I used 5,994 Southwest Rapid Reward points and my companion flew along for free. I only paid $11.20 in taxes per person. The flights would have been ~$118 round-trip which is cheap enough that a few friends joined along for the trip. We went for the weekend; we flew in Saturday morning and left for home the next day.

We all stayed at the Cambria Chicago Magnificent Mile for 10,000 Choice Privileges points. The hotel would have been ~$200 for the 1 night. There were no additional taxes/fees for the award stay. I was also able to book the award room for 4 people with no additional cost. This is important because on award stays at many hotel programs your number of beds is not guaranteed and sometimes limited to 2 adults on an award booking (I’m looking at you, SPG).

Here’s the trip in pictures.

The Chicago river before the greening. The best area to see the whole process is around the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue. Walk down to the Chicago river walk for an up-close view.

Our group in front of the boat which is spraying the dye into the river.

The river gets to a really nice shade of green and will last at least the rest of the day if you can’t make it in the morning.


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