Each year, millions of Americans look forward to St. Patrick’s Day. A celebration of the Emerald Isle that honors its patron saint, revelers enjoy St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green, marching in parades, and sampling staples of Irish cuisine like corned beef and cabbage. While a fun event in its own right, St. Patrick’s Day is inherently about community and family, allowing people of all ages the chance to come together and enjoy life and the promise of the coming spring. So, get your shamrocks and clover ready for these 9 U.S. Cities that celebrate St. Patrick’s day in style.
Boston, MassachusettsBoston’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration is well known around the country, and for good reason. Bostonians start the party a week before St. Patrick’s Day (and sometimes earlier than that). But, pack your bags and your appetite when you book cheap flights in March. In addition to the popular St. Patrick’s Day South Boston Parade, Boston also hosts food and drink events throughout the week.
Chicagoans kick off their St. Patrick’s Day celebration by dyeing the Chicago River bright green – an impressive sight, to be sure. Crowds flock to Columbus Drive on St. Patrick’s Day to watch the annual parade featuring traditional bands, intricate floats, Irish dancers, and more. After the parade, revelers head to downtown restaurants and bars for Irish-themed dinners, special drinks, and spirited competitions.
New York, New York
The historic NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade dates back to 1762 and draws crowds of well over 1 million revelers. The New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade is certainly an experience of a lifetime, replete with green beer, marching bagpipers, and well over 100,000 costumed parade participants marching or atop green and white floats. The city’s restaurants and bars come alive on St. Patrick’s Day, too, with special dinners and events.
St. Paul, MinnesotaIrish culture is alive and well in St. Paul, Minnesota, and never more so than during the week of St. Patrick’s Day. The St. Paul St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins in downtown St. Paul and ends in Rice Park (a lovely urban park and city landmark). Unique events such as the Worst Irish Tenor Contest (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like) and the Irish Music and Dance Association’s annual cultural celebration, add to the festivities. O’Gara’s (a St. Paul Irish Bar) also hosts a variety of events throughout the week.
RELATED: Beyond Dublin: Four Other Places in Ireland to Visit for Saint Patrick’s Day
Washington, D.C.The nation’s capital takes a unique approach to St. Patrick’s Day with its Shamrock Festival at the Echo Stage. This all-day event features over 50 Irish bands, dancers, traditional games, and other activities for all ages. It typically takes place the day before the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
San Diego, CaliforniaSan Diego’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration mixes traditional Irish revelry with West Coast style. The city has split its festivities between the famed St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Irish Festival for decades. The parade features several hallmarks of the holiday, including bagpipers and floats of every kind. You’ll also see antique cars and several dance troupes, a distinctly Californian experience.
If all the green of the marchers isn’t enough, the city also lines the streets along the parade route with artificial turf so that visitors can fully bask in the colorful tradition of the holiday. After the parade, partygoers can visit the Irish Festival for a taste of authentic Emerald Isle cuisine and rides for the young and the young at heart.
The City of Brotherly Love has been holding its St. Patrick’s Day Parade since 1771, making it the second oldest festival in the U.S. behind New York City’s annual parade. As such, record numbers of people participate in the parade, with city officials estimating nearly 200,000 marchers and 100,000 spectators. The city is also home to several bar crawls on both St. Patrick’s Day proper and the days before and after the celebration.
The Shamrock Crawl, which encompasses two days, brings visitors to 50 of Philadelphia’s best bars and restaurants. Another bar crawl of note is Lucky’s St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl, which is held on March 19. The crawl has the unique distinction of concluding with a costume contest that gives participants the chance to win a $1,000 prize.
The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which began in 1824, is one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country. Each year, the city gears up for the parade with smaller events in early March, culminating in a massive celebration on March 17 that typically draws around half a million revelers. Guests of Savannah are especially awed by the fountains in the city’s Historic District, which are dyed green in honor of the festivities.
Those interested in sports can also visit the St. Patrick’s Day Savannah Rugby Tournament, which is held the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. The tournament is the largest St. Patrick’s Day rugby competition in the world.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is known for its parties, and its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations never fail to disappoint visitors. What makes New Orleans’ festivities so interesting is that they take place over the course of several weeks. Major festivities kick off the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day with the Irish Channel Parade and the fun continues with the Downtown Irish Club Parade on the evening of March 17.
As if St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t enough, New Orleans also hosts a noted parade and celebration on St. Joseph’s Day on March 19 for even more revelry. Travelers have their pick of block parties throughout the city that feature a mix of both Irish cuisine and the city’s iconic Creole flavors. Guests can also learn about Big Easy’s thriving Irish community, which has been a haven for countless immigrants from the Emerald Isle since the 1700s.
Have you ever been to one of these U.S. cities that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Tell us all about it!
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