It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! To help you celebrate the March 17 holiday, here are ten cities in the United States with great St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
Regardless if you are Irish or not, everyone loves a good St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Feast of Saint Patrick, or widely known as St. Patrick’s Day, is the national holiday of Ireland and is celebrated worldwide. What started as a religious celebration in observance of the death of Irish patron saint, Saint Patrick (circa 385 – 461), it has now become more of a holiday to celebrate the Irish culture and its influences throughout the world.
The United States has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day long before it’s independence from Great Britain. Boston is home to the first St. Patrick’s Day and parade in 1737, and New York City started celebrating this holiday soon after. While Boston and New York City can claim the first two cities to partake in Irish festivities, the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade is held in Chicago with over 2 million spectators and participants. With its sizeable Irish ancestry, the U.S. has green festivities, including parades throughout the country. Here are some of the best St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations you should check out this March:
Boston, Massachusetts, has the highest concentration of Irish descendants in the U.S., which makes their parade all the more special.
The big St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston officially began in 1901. However, the celebration supposedly dates back 200 years prior when colonists of Irish descent marked the event with a modest parade. Today, more than a half-million people come to Boston for the Irish holiday, marking it one of the biggest celebrations outside of Ireland. The parade makes its way 3 miles through the streets of Boston decorating the streets with colorful characters, Irish dancers, bands, bagpipers, and floats. If you are into Irish punk rock, the Dropkick Murphys perform at the House of Blues near Fenway Park on and around St. Patrick’s Day every year.
Chicago, Illinois, is well-known for one of the most impressive St. Patty’s Day celebrations in the country. One notable tradition The Windy City does every year is color its river green. Early risers can watch the dying of the Chicago River before the parade starts. The ceremony includes lots of Irish inspired floats as well as bagpipers, bands, Irish step dancers. These spectacles march from Balbo Drive to Monroe Drive, decorating the streets with green, white, and orange flags to represent the Emerald Isle. If you are headed to Chicago this St. Patrick’s Day, arrive early as this parade attracts large crowds of people donning their green attire with green beer in hand.
New York, New York hosts a St. Patrick’s Day parade that brings 2 million spectators and 150,000 marchers together to embrace their Irish heritage. The Big Apple’s parade is dubbed one of the largest in the country and is also one of the oldest, starting 14 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. For centuries, celebrating Irish culture and the Catholic faith has been popular in the big city. Today, the parade draws a million spectators each year as it begins at 44th Street and proceeds up Fifth Avenue, passing the magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral at in its route. The morning festivities last about five or six hours, concluding on 86th Street.
Savannah, Georgia, hosts the second largest parade in the entire nation. The Hostess City spreads out the St. Patrick’s Day holiday celebrations by kicking-off at the beginning of March. The city’s biggest party of the year is St. Patrick’s Celebration on the River, where you can enjoy nonstop live entertainment, games, food, and beverages. Accompanied by the three-hour parade, which brings out more than 500,000 people, makes this a destination city for St. Patrick’s Day. The parade takes place in the Historic Park District. Here the fountains have been dyed green for the occasion, and Irish spirit runs high.
Denver, Colorado’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the city’s biggest annual parade, attracting nearly a quarter-million viewers. This parade runs through the heart of the Mile High City and features over 10,000 marchers, floats, bands, and Irish dancers. There are quite a few Irish pubs to celebrate in Denver, including Dougherty’s Neighborhood Pub, which offers a great pint, as well as traditional Irish fare like corned beef and cabbage and bangers and mash. Dougherty’s also has live entertainment, including bagpipers, Irish dancers, and Irish bands performing throughout the day.
Phoenix, Arizona locals, refer to St. Patrick’s Day as “the greenest day in the desert” as everyone takes part in the fun of the Irish holiday. This city has lots of Irish spirit with its annual parade filled with marching bands, bagpipers, step dancers, floats, and the Arizona Irish Colleen with her Court. Afterward, the Irish Family Faire begins. The fair features entertainment provided by Irish dancers and Celtic rock bands, arts and crafts vendors, pony rides, face painters, and a petting zoo. There are also plenty of glasses filled with green beer, as well as mounds of corned beef and cabbage.
Dublin, Ohio, is home to one of the largest St. Patty’s Day celebrations in the country. With a handful of cities around the U.S. named Dublin, none compare to Dublin, Ohio’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Since the 1980s, this city’s festivities begin with a big pancake breakfast followed by an “Inflation Celebration,” which allows attendees to watch the parade’s floats come to life. After the ceremony, there is plenty of Celtic music to be heard throughout the Historic District, along with beer, Irish tea, and potato chowder.