7 Luckiest Cities to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

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Looking for the luck of the Irish when you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? These cities are the pot of gold for parties!

Chicago, IL

You can find green beer anywhere you go on St. Patrick’s Day, but Chicago takes this holiday seriously enough that they dye the river green, too!

On the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day (Saturday, March 16 this year), the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union head out on to the Chicago River at 9am to add the dye which will turn the water emerald for the next few days. You can watch the dyeing from the Michigan Ave bridge, the Columbus Drive bridge, or Upper and Lower Wacker, or from inside one of the many bars and restaurants with a view – River Roast, BIG Bar, and Travelle all have Irish specials to take part in. In addition, from Monday, March 11 through Sunday, March 17, the city will shine green lights on iconic buildings, monuments and streets for its new ShamROCK Chicago 2019 campaign.

The official Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade starts at noon, from Balbo and Columbus, continuing north along Columbus through Grant Park to the south end of Millennium Park at Monroe Street. The South Side Irish Parade (which is much less rowdy than it used to be since the city canceled the parade and then reinstated only after cracking down on open container violations) takes place on Sunday, March 17th on Western Ave from 103rd to 115th Street, starting at 11:30am.

To celebrate the luck of the Irish in a true Irish pub atmosphere, visit Timothy O’Toole’s in River North, with plenty of drink specials beyond the green beer – though they have that, too!

How to get there: Book a ticket to Chicago from Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, and cities across the country!

Boston, MA

South Boston (Southie, not the South End!), is the home base for all things Irish in Boston.

The South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place this year on Sunday, March 17th and winds its way through Southie starting at West Broadway at 1pm. Put on by the Allied War Veterans of Boston, this parade is one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the nation, so, if you attend, expect to be joined by up to a million other spectators.

Keep the celebration going after the parade at one of the many pubs in the area who support the event, including Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, Stats Bar & Grille, and Playwright Restaurant. You’ll definitely be in for a party wherever you go, as the city of Boston has quite the history on this day. The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the nation was held in Boston in 1737.

For live Irish music, the biggest draw is the Dropkick Murphys (who as you may remember from above, will be performing in Philly the weekend before). The band behind “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” perform each year on St. Patrick’s Day. You can also find great traditional Irish bands at Landsdowne Pub near Fenway, The Black Rose by Faneuil Hall, and The Burren in Davis Square in Somerville.

How to get there: Book a ticket to Boston from New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and many more locations!

Savannah, GA

You might not think Savannah when you think St. Patrick’s Day, but you definitely should! This Southern city is home to the second largest parade in the nation.

The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the few that actually take place on March 17th, instead of the weekend before or after. The parade kicks off at 10:15am and meanders from Gwinnett and Abercorn through downtown Savannah. If you want to have a seat among the crowds, you can buy a spot in the bleachers that line the parade route. You can also bring snacks and something to toast to Irish pride (although no glass containers are allowed, and it should be under 16oz).

The celebration continues beyond the parade with a weekend-long festival with live music on stages set up throughout historic downtown Savannah. Throughout the weekend, local bands will play in the festival zones from 11am to midnight. You can get a wristband for $5 each day to enjoy the party with a pint in hand!

How to get there: Book a ticket to Savannah from Atlanta, Charlotte, Jacksonville, and lots of other places, too!

New Orleans, LA

The city of New Orleans loves a parade for any occasion, and St. Patrick’s Day is certainly no exception!

With two parades on the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day and one on the holiday itself, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to let the good times roll in NOLA. On Saturday, March 16, the Irish Channel Parade makes it’s way down Magazine Street at 1:30pm. Then, on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, the Downtown Irish Club Parade starts at 6pm on Burgundy in the Bywater and eventually reaches Bourbon Street. No matter which one you attend, you can’t go wrong with a New Orleans parade!

Because the celebration of Irish cheer can’t be contained to a parade route, you can also find plenty of block parties in the Big Easy. Parasol’s, the famous po-boy place in the Garden District, hosts a block party all day on March 16, with plenty of great food, music and the ever-present green beer.

Also, just off Bourbon Street but hidden from the throngs of tourists is the Erin Rose, which serves as a stop during the parade. And though it doesn’t have any special activities planned on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a special spot with an Irish twist any day of the year.

How to get there: Book a ticket to New Orleans from Houston, Jacksonville, Atlanta, and around the country!

San Francisco, CA

If you’re looking for an all-out Irish celebration on the West Coast, San Francisco is the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day!

The annual parade kicks off at 11:30am on Saturday, March 16. Starting at the corner of Market Street and Second Street, the Irish dancers, marching bands, and floats head down the route to Civic Center Plaza, culminating in a festival that lasts the rest of the day.

Irish pubs abound in San Francisco, so you have plenty of places to find that green beer flowing. From Johnny Foley’s Irish House with its dueling pianos, to The Chieftain Irish Pub & Restaurant with its perfectly poured pints of Guinness, to The Irish Bank Bar & Restaurant with its annual block party, you can celebrate the best of Ireland all over town.

For a signature San Francisco foodie treat – with an Irish twist – make sure you get to Boudin Bakery, makers of the traditional San Francisco sourdough bread. For St. Patrick’s Day, they create special shamrock-shaped loaves and Irish soda bread.

How to get there: Book a ticket to San Francisco from Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and other locations, as well!

New York City, NY

Just like it does with everything, New York City goes all out for St. Patrick’s Day.

The 257th annual parade (it was started by Irish immigrants even before America was officially founded) is the biggest in the country, and makes its way down Fifth Avenue starting at 11am on Saturday, March 16. The route runs from 44th Street to 79th Street, and passes in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street.

For your Irish pub needs, McSorley’s Old Ale House in the East Village is the oldest tavern in the city and is about as authentic as you can get (meaning no green beer here, just light or dark McSorley’s ale). The Dead Rabbit in the Financial District is a throwback to old-school 19th-century cocktails, and you can also get your Scotch egg fix here.

If you don’t want to belly up to the bar, but you still want to get in the Irish spirit, you can attend a one-night-only showing of the camp classic, Leprechaun in the Hood, at Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg.

How to get there: Book a ticket to New York City from Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and anywhere around the country!

Denver, CO

Though it might be an under-the-radar St. Patrick’s Day location, Denver is full of Irish celebrations!

The official parade takes place in downtown Denver on Saturday, March 16. Starting at 9:30am, the parade winds its way through the streets around Coors Field. The best place for viewing the parade performances is south of 20th Avenue on Blake Street (of course, this also makes it the most crowded area for parade watchers).

Fado Irish Pub is host to biggest St. Patrick’s Day party in Denver at the plaza in front of Coors Field. With outdoor bars, Irish dancers, and 10 hours of live bands, this is the place to “Paddy Hard” after the parade on March 16. Fado is also open early and closing late with lots of live entertainment on St. Patrick’s Day itself.

If you prefer something other than Guinness or green beer, plenty of bars near the parade route offer great craft beer options, so you can still sláinte! Wynkoop Brewing Co.’s patio is perfectly placed for parade viewing, so get there early to grab a spot. Or check out Terminal Bar and Hopdoddy Burger Bar.

How to get there: Book a ticket to Denver from Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, and so many more places!

Wherever you go to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, don’t forget to wear green and book your tickets on Wanderu.com or by downloading the Wanderu app!

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About the author
Kate Sedrowski

Kate Sedrowski

Kate Sedrowski is on a mission to spread delight while inspiring and encouraging people to travel. Her favorite travel companion is her teddy bear, and her favorite souvenir is the scar from the broken nose she got in a snowball fight in Québec City.
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