Feb 05, 2020

These U.S. Cities Have the Best St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Each year on March 17, Americans across the country come together to celebrate another culture’s holiday: St. Patrick’s Day. This holiday, which is based on an Irish legend and the patron saint of Ireland, is all about celebrating the Irish spirit. And while it’s most vibrantly celebrated throughout Ireland, there are plenty of American cities that get in on the tradition.

In fact, many U.S. cities with large Irish populations have created new St. Patrick’s Day traditions of their very own. With more than 31 million people with Irish ancestry living in America, there are even more Irish-Americans than residents of Ireland! That alone is a reason to grab a pint and celebrate.

And if you’re looking for a celebration, you don’t have to look far. Plenty of U.S. cities throw huge parties on St. Patrick’s Day, with annual parades, charity runs, and pub crawls happening from coast to coast. From green rivers to green beer, you can find a lively St. Patty’s Day celebration just about anywhere.

But if you’re looking to celebrate somewhere steeped in tradition and Irish heritage, these are the best cities you can visit.

  • New York City is home to many of the biggest celebrations in the U.S. – but St. Patrick’s Day is particularly special. On March 17, the city makes history by continuing its centuries-old tradition of hosting a parade that passes through its streets. NYC was actually the very first American city to host a St. Patrick’s Day parade back in 1762.

    Residents of New York City celebrate in different ways. You can visit some of the city’s most famous places with deep Irish history, like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Irish Hunger Memorial. Or, you can check out some historic Irish pubs like McSorley’s, the oldest pub in all of NYC.

  • You might not immediately think of Irish history and traditions when you think of Philadelphia. After all, this city is best-known in the U.S. for being the home of many early American traditions and moments of history. But this prominent Pennsylvania city is actually filled with Irish spirit.

    There’s a significant Irish population in Philadelphia. It’s actually ranked as the number two city when it comes to the number of Irish residents and the availability of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The holiday is such a big deal that Philadelphia begins celebrating a whole week before March 17 – and the party includes a big parade, city-wide traditions, and more.

  • If you’re looking for a city that comes together to celebrate, you’ll want to visit Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day. This Midwestern city is home to one of the biggest Irish parties in all of the U.S., and Chicago residents truly celebrate in style. Each year, the city’s best-known tradition is turning the Chicago River green. For more than 40 years, people have flocked to the city to see this cool feat.

    Chicago is also home to more St. Patrick’s Day parties and festivals per capita than any other U.S. city. You can visit just about any bar, pub, or even restaurant within the city and find a fun celebration. Don’t forget to try Chicago’s Green River Soda, a booze-free alternative that’s perfect for the holiday.

  • There’s perhaps no more authentically Irish city in all of the U.S. than Boston. With a population that’s 20 percent Irish, more than one million people get together each year on St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate their heritage and traditions. The city is home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country, and you won’t find a more energetic party anywhere else.

    In addition to the huge parade, Boston also celebrates in other ways. You can enjoy traditional Gaelic food at restaurants throughout the city, take part in cool annual traditions, and even check out a concert or two. Every year, the Dropkick Murphys – a Celtic punk band that got its start in Boston – return home and play a show just for St. Patrick’s Day.

  • Los Angeles might be best known for sunshine and celebrities, but it’s also home to a number of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. And because Los Angeles is a city that’s quite spread out, you can celebrate in the heart of downtown or in nearby cities along the coast.

    One of the biggest events each year is the Casey’s St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival. The celebration begins at 6AM, right in downtown LA, no matter which day of the week the holiday falls on. Visitors can party all day and well into the night, enjoying festivities along two city blocks. You’ll find green beer, traditional Irish food, live bands, and so much more at the festival.

  • Phoenix, Arizona is best known for its gorgeous desert landscape and consistently warm weather. But did you know that this city is also one with a whole lot of Irish spirit? Phoenix residents celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with pride each year, and they even call March 17 “the greenest day on the desert.”

    Just about everyone in Phoenix participates in St. Patty’s Day celebrations. There’s an annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Faire in the heart of the city, which includes everything from local community groups to green beer and green horses. There’s also a ton of traditional Irish culture to experience, including art, music, and food.

  • The South might not seem like a deeply Irish part of the U.S., but that doesn’t mean you should ignore its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. One in particular, in the city of Savannah, Georgia, is actually one of the biggest in the entire world. 

    Savannah celebrates on March 17 with a whole host of parties. The city turns its water fountains green, puts on performances of Irish music and dancing, hosts a heritage festival and 5K Shamrock Run, and even offers a bar crawl. There are Irish pubs to visit within the city limits, and you can head to the St. Patrick’s Celebration on the River for even more fun.

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