St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, a holiday to dawn your green garb and get in touch with the Irish roots you may or may not have. If you can’t make it to the homeland in time, there are plenty of U.S. cities that celebrate the day in a more-than-festive way. May the road rise up to meet you and may the wind be always at your back, on this day, and on your next vacation.
Here are the top 10 U.S. cities for St. Patrick’s Day:
- New York City, NY – New York’s St. Patrick’s Day is a walk through history with a parade that began 14 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Two million spectators and 150,000 marchers line Fifth Avenue to embrace their Irish heritage and participate in the country’s oldest and largest March 17 celebration.
For an authentic pub experience, you can split off from the crowd and head over to Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant for a traditional Irish breakfast or a succulent shepherd’s pie. While you digest, visit Ellis Island where hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants first set foot on American soil or head over to Gaelic Park in the Bronx, a 2,000-seat stadium where traditional Irish sports like hurling and Gaelic football are played to this day.
- Chicago, IL - The river runs green in Chicago, which is not just an obscure saying on St. Patrick’s Day. Over 40 pounds of green dye are dropped in the Chicago River on March 17 to turn its murky waters into a winding emerald river. Join a bar crawl where the beer flows as green as the water or head downtown for a massive parade that includes Irish step dancers, colorful floats, marching bands, bagpipers and thousands of onlookers donning green.
Afterwards, you can head to Irish American Heritage Center for a family-friendly celebration with traditional and contemporary Irish music and dance, authentic food and drink, children’s activities and plenty of places to stock up on Irish gifts. For the full-river experience, join Wendella’s St. Patrick’s Day Cruise to watch the river turn green and sip green beer to the sounds of festive Irish tunes.
- Boston, MA – Boston has the highest concentration of Irish descendants in the U.S. and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration to show it. Join the St. Patrick’s Day Parade that travels through South Boston (colloquially known as Southie), starting at the Broadway T Stop, continuing down Broadway and ending at Andrews Square.
At the House of Blues, you can go see Boston’s own legendary punk band Dropkick Murphys, who take a break from their touring schedule each year to come home and play a packed show. Boston also offers plenty of Irish history, from the Irish Cultural Center of New England where you can find Irish dancing and bites on the day, to the Boston Irish Heritage Trail, a self-guided tour which takes you 3 miles through downtown Boston ending at Fenway Park. To toast to a successful celebration, head to The Green Dragon and order a Guinness. It’s one of the oldest bars in Boston and where Paul Revere was known to sip a few.
- Savannah, GA – The Hostess City takes St. Patrick’s Day and turns it into St. Patrick’s Days, with the festivities starting on March 16th and wrapping up on the 19th. River Street and City Market both host live concerts, Irish food courts and non-stop giveaways over all three days. Their hallmark parade happens in the Historic District the day of, with road closures starting as early as 6:30 am to help prepare the city for more than 300,000 people. To plan a route that doesn’t require you to wake up in the dark, check the road closures before you leave and plan accordingly.
For some of the best Irish food in town, Kevin Barry’s Irish pub invites you to come on by:
Come on by and linger a bit,
We saved a spot for you to sit,
Our beer is cold; our whiskey is good.
You may stay longer than you should.
- Denver, CO – 5,280 feet above sea level, you can enjoy St. Patrick’s Day in the Mile High City with a pint at any number of authentic Irish pubs. Scruffy Murphy’s next to historic Coors Field offers shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and, of course, a Guinness with a milky pour. At the Irish Rover on South Broadway, you can enjoy a chat and a bite next to a roaring fireplace or on a high stool at the bar. Or you can head over to Pints Pub, just minutes from the Denver Art Museum, which has over 16 pages of malt whiskeys on the menu.
Denver has a St. Patrick’s Day parade with more than 200,000 people downtown who come out to enjoy a Western take on St. Patty’s Day classics like marching bands, Irish dancers and floats. For the best seat on the street, head south of 20th Avenue on Blake Street (renamed Tooley Street for the parade). If you’re in town early, you can witness democracy in action at the Denver City & County Building at noon on March 12th when they issue a proclamation for the parade during a regular council session each year, followed by the lighting of the building in green.
- Kansas City, MO – Leprechauns in the morning and green beer in the afternoon…just one of the many ways you can experience St. Patty’s Day in Kansas City. Irish settlers brought over their customs back in the 1800s as they helped shape what is now known as the West.
As a result, St. Patrick’s Day remains a hallmark full of tradition, history, meals and parades. You can start in Westport with an annual four-mile run full of beards (real and fake), pointed hats and a sea of green. For the kids, there’s a three-block dash called the Little Leprechaun Run right at the finish line for the adults. Then you can grab some grub at Browne’s Irish Marketplace, the oldest Irish-owned business in North America and jog over to the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which winds through the city and back on to Westport. Or see one of Kansas City’s other parades in Blue Springs, Leavenworth or Lawrence. At the end of the day, you can rest your feet at Kelly’s Westport Inn or The Dubliner for a hearty serving of Irish fare.
- Phoenix, AZ – Everywhere becomes a little Irish on March 17, and the Valley of the Sun is no different. Phoenix locals refer to St. Patrick’s Day as “the greenest day in the desert.” Join the parade at 10 a.m. which runs through downtown, then join the Irish Family Faire at the Irish Culture Center and Hance Park full of Irish music, Irish step dancing, booths of Irish crafts for sale, and even booths for genealogy, if you need some proof that you really are as Irish as your mother told you.
For a unique Phoenix St. Patty’s Day experience, stick around for the Pot of Gold Music Festival starting in the afternoon and running late into the evening, featuring major artists like Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, and Lil Wayne. When you get hungry, drop out for a few minutes and head over to Murphy’s Law Irish Pub for some comfort Irish food, amazing views and air conditioning.
- Cleveland, OH – There are lots of Irish traditions in American that span back through history, but Cleveland’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the oldest and most festive. Beginning in 1867, Irish Americans marched down the main roads and celebrated their heritage with songs and dancing, while large groups of friends and relatives looked on with pride. Decade after decade the parade grew in popularity and attendance, and this year you can join them in a celebration that’s lasted over 150 years.
You can start the day with breakfast and a green pint at Flannery’s Irish Pub which opens annually at dawn and stays open until it’s nearly dawn the next day. Or you can grab corned beef and eggs in the morning or stacked corn beef sandwiches later in the day at Slyman’s on E. 31st Street. While you eat, Cleveland’s radio stations blast Irish music all day long, from classic Celtic tunes to contemporary Irish rock, so you can fully immerse yourself in an Irish holiday.
- Pittsburgh, PA – Pittsburgh puts down the black and gold on St. Patty’s Day and picks up a festive green. You can join this year’s mascot Finn the Irish Wolfhound and thousands of attendees in their annual parade, which has been cataloged through history by old news clippings. Then head over to downtown’s Irish Fair in the Square for a family-friendly party of live music and authentic eats that lasts through the evening.
Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle serves a fish and chips that’s crispy, golden and delicious along with some lesser known Irish dishes, like roasted lemon chicken served with a seared lemon and piled on top of perfectly cooked rice pilaf. For a unique experience, head to Gaetano’s Banquet Center for a murder mystery dinner intriguingly titled Diamonds to Die For.
- Dublin, OH – Airfare to Ireland may be out of the question this year, but there is a Dublin closer by. Dublin, Ohio is home to one of the largest St. Patty’s Day celebrations in the country. You can start things off with a pancake breakfast at Sells, then get a behind-the-scenes look at how floats work at Graeter’s Ice Cream.
Head to Historic Dublin for a parade full of bagpipers, Irish dancers, and even St. Patrick himself. For the kids, Dublin has theIrish Fairy Door Trail complete with 10 stops full of St. Patty’s Day magic. For the adults, Dublin has the Celtic Cocktail Trail offering a tasty way to try Irish concoctions and travel through the historic town.
Wherever you decide to celebrate, make sure you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day right with an experience you won’t forget. VacationRenter can help you book a stay and plan the best trip possible.