The 8 Best Cities for St. Patrick’s Day
You don’t have to travel all the way to Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Right now, cities across the U.S. are gearing up for the “luckiest” day of the year. Colorful parades, leprechaun-themed fun runs, and plenty of Guinness and Jameson make this a holiday worthy of celebrations.
Check out these cities that go big for St. Patrick’s Day:
1. Chicago, Illinois
St. Patrick’s Day is a huge deal in Chicago. In fact, the city practically oozes green — just look at its river. Since 1962, the city has dyed the Chicago River an emerald hue for the holiday. Nearby, the 40th Annual South Side Irish Parade will take place along Western Avenue. It is the largest parade outside of Dublin and benefits Special Olympics Chicago!
Where to Enjoy a Pint: Timothy O’Toole’s – Opening at 8 a.m. sharp for St. Patrick’s Day, this pub will keep the Guinness flowing all day. Don’t miss the green soda chugging contest and its traditional Irish brunch, too.
2. Washington, D.C.
Spending St. Patrick’s Day in the nation’s capital is an exciting experience. Start the day by watching D.C.’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade flow down Constitution Avenue. Then, wander over to the National Shamrock Fest, a one-day music festival that draws thousands of people every year.
Where to Enjoy a Pint: The Dubliner – Known for having one of the best Guinness draft pours in the city, this Irish pub attracts expats with its authentic Irish fare. Try the baked cod and Guinness-braised corned beef.
3. Boston, Massachusetts
Nearly 20% of this city’s population has Irish ancestry, so its celebrations rank high in authentic tradition. Every year, 1 million spectators gather for Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and its colorful floats, bagpipe bands, and leprechauns galore. Expect this year’s spectacle on Sunday, March 18.
Looking for some live Irish music to round out the day? Check out the famous Celtic punk rock band, the Dropkick Murphys, at the House of Blues. Tickets will go fast!
Where to Enjoy a Pint: Brendan Behan Pub – A stellar selection of beers and a cozy atmosphere make this a local favorite. No food is served, but patrons are encouraged to bring their own.
4. St. Louis, Missouri
If you’re a runner, make sure to sign up for the 5-mile St. Patrick’s Day Parade Run and join 8,000 others in green and orange attire. Afterward, head over to Dog Town for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the largest event held in downtown St. Louis.
Where to Enjoy: O’Malley’s Irish Pub – Described as a neighborhood corner bar, O’Malley’s is a cozy nook in the middle of the city. Cozy up near the fireplace and enjoy the live Irish music all day.
5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Like Boston and Chicago, Pittsburgh is home to a large population of Irish-Americans and celebrates the annual event in style.
Catch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to witness its 20,000 participants and the Crowning of Miss Smiling Irish Eyes. This unique tradition recognizes local young women of Irish descent who take pride in their heritage. Pittsburgh is a true bar town, so it won’t be difficult to find a good pub nearby.
Where to Enjoy a Pint: Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle – Guinness, Smithwick’s, and Harp are among the most popular brews sold at this cozy pub. Every St. Patrick’s Day, Mullaney’s sets up a tent with seating out back for revelers to enjoy some cold Irish brews.
6. Savannah, Georgia
Spending St. Patrick’s Day in 75-degree weather is reason enough to travel to Savannah. Thousands flock to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country every year to see the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses strutting down the cobblestone streets. Like Chicago, Savannah also likes to dye their water for the occasion. Every year on March 10, the fountains in Savannah’s Forsyth Park are dyed green for visitors to behold.
Where to Enjoy a Pint: Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub – After reveling in the parade, satisfy your thirst and appetite with a sudsy Guinness and Kevin Barry’s renowned corned beef and cabbage. In 2016, this pub won an award for being the most authentic pub outside of Ireland.
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
This city puts on a joint celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day, an Italian-American holiday on March 19. That means the festivities stretch an entire week with a variety of festive parades and events.
Check out your pick from the Irish Channel Parade, Downtown Irish Club Parade, and Molly’s at the Market Parade in the French Quarter. Then hit the block parties. Parasol’s Block Party features tons of Irish-themed beverages, food, and live Irish music.
Where to Enjoy a Pint: Molly’s at the Market – Located near the French Quarter, Molly’s hosts a St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl and parade, both of which kick off at 8 a.m. on Friday, March 16. Because it all starts early, indulge in a hot or frozen Irish coffee, one of Molly’s specialties.
8. New York City, New York
Dating back to 1762, New York City has one of the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country. Floats and cars aren’t allowed in the parade, but the vibrant dancers, bagpipes, and marching bands certainly make up for it. The Big Apple knows how to bring the party, with St. Patrick’s Day fun runs, live music, and bar crawls all over the city.
Where to Enjoy a Pint: McSorley’s Old Ale House – Established in 1854, this is one of NYC’s oldest bars. Even Abraham Lincoln, John Lennon, and Woody Guthrie have dined and downed a pint here. Take your pick between a light or dark ale – the only types of beer served here.
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.