How to avoid traffic, parking costs while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend

Whether you’re watching the Chicago River turn green or waving at marching leprechauns on the city’s South Side, public transit is your lucky charm this weekend, Metra officials say.

The commuter railroad is adding service to accommodate the thousands heading out for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Chicago.

For starters, Metra will provide extra trains Saturday for the annual Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade downtown on seven of its lines including the BNSF, Union Pacific and Milwaukee District.

On Sunday, the agency will run additional trains on the Rock Island Line for the Annual South Side Irish Parade.

Passengers should expect slower boarding times on Saturday, and suburbanites returning home are advised Metra will check tickets prior to boarding at downtown stations.

Alcohol is forbidden on all trains Saturday and on the Rock Island Line Sunday.

Cyclists are advised space will be limited for bicycles on trains Saturday and on the Rock Island Sunday.

A boat travels down the Chicago River as the river is dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago. Associated Press file

“We’re happy to serve our community by providing extra service for one of Chicago’s most iconic celebrations,” Metra Executive Director Jim Derwinski said in a statement.

“In fact, for the first time, Metra will be joining in the celebrations with our very own parade float that will appear at both the Chicago and South Side Irish parades.”

The railroad has a $7 unlimited ride pass for Saturday or Sunday and a $10 weekend pass for both days. Three children age 11 and under can ride free with a fare-paying adult.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Transit Authority reminds riders that it offers a $5 one-day pass for trains and buses and a $15 three-day pass.

For information on revised Metra weekend schedules, go to

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