A leprechaun skipping down the street

What on earth is going on here? Oh, you know, a leprechaun skipping merrily down the street.

Get Your Irish On

Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day steps off at 10 a.m. on March 16. So, practice in Milwaukee this weekend as the city celebrates the Emerald Isle in a big way. Beginning at noon on Saturday, March 9, more than 140 organizations will march in the 47th annual parade, including bagpipe and marching bands, celebrities and politicians, and troupes of Irish step dancers. The route starts at Third Street and Wisconsin Avenue, travels east to Plankinton Avenue, north along Old World Third Street, and east on Juneau Avenue before halting at Highland Avenue. Viewing stands will be at Old World Third Street near Kilbourn Avenue. Spectators are encouraged donate a non-perishable food item to help stock the pantries of Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force. Pre-parade festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 8, at the Hilton’s Miller Time Pub (509 W. Wisconsin Ave., 414-271-2337, millertimepub.com), where you can enter a raffle for prizes such as a “Best Beer History Tour” for you and up to 29 of your friends, $60 in “beer bucks” from the Old German Beer Hall, and $40 worth of smoked meats from the 113-year-old Usinger’s Sausages.

GO The 47th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 414-276-6696, saintpatricksparade.org

While You’re in the Area: Also on Saturday, March 9, drive 30 minutes north to historic Cedarburg, which holds an annual event at the Cedarburg Cultural Center (W62 N546 Washington Ave., 262-375-3676, cedarburgculturalcenter.org). A traditional Irish buffet begins at 6 p.m. Bringing a repertoire of Celtic, bluegrass, classical, pop, and original songs, an acoustic duo called Frogwater will perform; $40, reservations suggested.

Where to Stay: The Hilton Milwaukee City Center (509 W. Wisconsin Ave., 414-271-7250, hiltonmilwaukee.com) is a 1927 art deco hotel with sumptuous guest rooms that are ultra-convenient to the Miller Time Pub where Milwaukee’s official pre-parade celebration takes place; rates start at $120 a night. Built in 1929, the Knickerbocker on the Lake Hotel (1028 E. Juneau Ave., 414-276-8500, knickerbockeronthelake.com) is on the National Registry of Historic Places and gives old-world charm with modern luxuries; rates range from $110 to $170 per night.

Where to Eat: Crazy Water (839 S. 2nd St., 414-645-2606, crazywaterrestaurant.com) encourages sharing with small plates, including goat-cheese tarts with lingonberry salsa and lamb patties with cucumber yogurt and dried cherry salad. The Hinterland Gastropub (222 E. Erie St., 414-427-9300, hinterlandbeer.com) offers microbrews alongside a tasting menu that features veal heart tartare, wood-fired grilled octopus, and beet cured sturgeon lox.

Want more recommendations? Check out Chicago magazine’s June 2012 story about Milwaukee’s best places to eat.