6 Things to Do During the Greek Independence Day Parade
By Rena Haralambopoulos
Have the Saint Patty’s Day Blues? Bring those blues (and whites, for that matter) to the Greek Independence Day Parade coming up this Sunday at 2:30 pm in Greek Town (Halsted St.)! While you may be familiar with the festivities during Saint Patty’s Day, you might question what kind of things you can do at the Greek Parade (besides watching it, of course!). Here is a helpful list to get you through the festive day.
6. Grab a Nutritious Breakfast at Meli Before the Parade
Want a jumpstart to your adventurous day at the Greek Parade? You’ll need all the energy you can get to keep up with the Greeks! I absolutely love Meli Café! If you love breakfast like I do, I recommend eating here! Meli, which means “honey” in Greek, serves up amazing options for health-conscious and vegan customers. Do not forget to try their all-natural marmalades!
- Visit the Hellenic Museum
This Sunday from 2-5 pm, the Museum will be hosting crafting sessions as well as Greek Dancing. During these times, admission is also free to the public to tour the three floors of Greek art and culture! Some of the current exhibits include: “The Story of Greek Independence,” “Reaching for the American Dream: The Legacy of Greek Immigration,” and my personal favorite–“The Street is My Gallery”—where signs of struggle through the economic depression are expressed though the street art displayed from Athens. I also recommend checking out the museum store for beautiful souvenirs made in Greece.
- Grab a Tiropita (Cheese Pie) at Artopolis
Artopolis is famous for its authentic Mediterranean flavors. While their whole menu is delicious, I personally love their mesmerizing baked goods. My personal favorites are the savory, cheese pies that are perfect on the go, especially when watching the parade! They are made with delicious filo dough and baked to perfection. Every time I have one, I feel like I’m back in Greece for lunch time. If you prefer sweet treats, my favorites are the chocolate éclairs and the bougatses.
- Try the Greek Fries at 9 Muses
For those of you who love feta like I do, you absolutely have to try it on top of golden fries. The best ones I’ve had are at 9 Muses. When it’s nice out, the restaurant opens their windows for visitors to get the European café-feel. Pair this with their pork shish kabob, and you have yourself a meal made from the Muses themselves! Get here at the start of the parade and try to sit by the windows to get the best view!
- Belly dance at Gyro-Mena and Get a Free Frappe
Gyro-Mena is known for their great sense of humor while delivering phenomenal gyro plates. What else can you ask for? Being a picky eater, I love that you can make it your own by choosing between different types of gyro meat and toppings. They also have healthier alternatives, like their multi-grain pita. If you are a great dancer and want to show off your moves, the staff may reward you with a free iced Frappe for your efforts.
- Visit the Athenian Candle Company
Although Greeks take pride in their food, they also value their spirituality. The icons and candles sold here are symbols used in Greek religion which the people value deeply. If you are looking for authenticity, most of these products are shipped from Greece. I would definitely recommend buying a small item from here to take a piece of Greece with you home after a fun day at the parade.