DOWNTOWN — Restaurants on the Chicago Riverwalk are opening early for St. Patrick's Day, a first for the Downtown attraction.
A handful of Riverwalk restaurants including City Winery and Island Party Hut will be open in time for Chicagoans to grab a drink outdoors while watching the river get dyed green Saturday morning.
Chicago Water Taxis and, weather permitting, Urban Kayaks will also make their seasonal debut Saturday.
The city's new-and-improved Riverwalk debuted in 2015, but this year marks the first St. Patrick's Day for most of its restaurants. The Riverwalk's early debut on St. Patrick's Day is the latest sign the seasonal attraction is transitioning into a year-round destination.
“We are excited that residents will be able to fully enjoy the green river this Saturday,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “After a banner year in 2016, there is no question that the riverfront investments we’re making throughout the City are promoting economic growth and moving closer to making the Chicago River the City’s next recreational frontier.”
Forecasts call for a chilly, cloudy day; with a high of about 30 degrees. Island Party Hut will remain open after Saturday, while other vendors will open just on weekends, weather permitting. The Riverwalk is expected to open in full for the year by May.
The river will be dyed green at 9 a.m. Saturday. The nearby Downtown St. Patrick's Parade will step off at noon in Grant Park.
Here's a full list of Riverwalk offerings Saturday:
• Wendella Chicago Water Taxi: running 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Lillie’s: open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Will serve corned beef sandwiches, specialty fruit and hot chocolate.
• Tiny Tapp Riverwalk: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Will feature live music, corned beef and cabbage, and specialty cocktails
• Downtown Docks & Frost Gelato: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Guided boat tours, gelato, hot chocolate and other treats. Make a reservation online.
• City Winery: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Will feature live music from Rick King’s Royal Hustle, wine and food and heated "river domes"
• O’Brien’s Riverwalk Cafe: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Will serve corned beef, beer specials and feature an "Irish session jibs and ballads."
• Wendella sightseeing boat tours: all day
• Island Party Hut: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Will feature live music, food & drink specials and charter boats. Make a reservation online
• Urban Kayaks: Guided tours on the green river, weather permitting. Make a reservation online