Top destinations to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day
Explore the major Saint Patrick's Day destinations and experience the genuine and joyful character of the festival to the greatest extent.
Saint Patrick the missionary and bishop who Christianized Ireland is honored annually on the 17th of March. He is the “Apostle” and patron of Ireland and a series of legends like banishing snakes from the country and turning a stick into a living tree are related to his name. The day of commemorating his death used to be a religious occasion but nowadays it is evolved to one of the most recognized festivals at a worldwide level.
Saint Patrick's Day is celebrating the Irish culture and heritage and it is a national holiday for Ireland, but during the last decades, it is converted to a “party time” for many places around the world regardless of the numbers or the Irish diaspora they host. The large-scale parades, the green decorations, the shamrock-patterned green attire, and accessories, the Irish food as well as the extensive consumption of Irish alcoholic drinks are among the followed traditions that escalate the festive mood and give a special spirit to the festival.
Below you can find some of the most unique places to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. They are major destinations that host plenty of events and keep the joyful and genuine character of the festival. Book your tickets and be prepared for a great party by “going Irish” for a day!
Undoubtedly, the capital of Ireland is a “must” destination for an unforgettable Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Here, over a half-million locals and visitors are taking part in the celebrations and many call it as the epicenter of the global party. The festivities last for 4 days (14th-17th of March) in Dublin and the events to follow are almost countless.
A visitor can attend (if not join!) the large-scale parade, beer and whiskey festivals, free live music events and plenty of food markets. The traditional Irish pubs are open for the whole day, while families with children are participating in shamrock-picking, rainbow-chasing and treasure-hunting games organized by unions and associations. Watching some Irish dancing at the Ceili Festival or attending the Irish University boat races on the Liffey river are also some traditional activities that attract locals and visitors.
The nickname of the festival here is St Paddy’s and it is a timing when the Irish identity, culture, and heritage is celebrated to the greatest extent. A night walk among the green-illuminated iconic buildings of the capital is outstanding while many choose to finish their day in one of the Temple Bar District pubs where the party lasts until the first hours of the upcoming day.
New York hosts the largest Saint Patrick’s parade on a worldwide level. Over 150.000 people are participating as members of the marching groups and when it comes to spectators, they exceed the number of 2 million every single year. This mega-event, which is 14 years older than the Declaration of Independence, dates back to 1762 when the Irish immigrants started to organize official Saint Partick’s Day celebrations in their new city.
For more than 2 centuries the parade marches down the 5th Avenue passing by famous attractions like St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Central Park. A unique festive atmosphere is spread throughout the whole city, while numerous events are taking place all around. One highly recommended destination is the Irish Arts Center which has an annual Open Day and offers the opportunity to participate in plenty of activities from tap dancing, whistle and cooking lessons to Gaelic football and face painting.
Wear green, get a rich Irish breakfast, take your backpack and be prepared for a long day since the parade and celebrations last until late. A break for some Irish beers at the Irish pubs of Manhattan is always an ideal choice, while you can taste plenty of Irish snacks and food at local bars and food markets.
Another destination that celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day it the greatest extent is Chicago. The Windy City hosts one of the biggest parades with marching bands, colorful attires, and joyful participants. Dancing and other cultural events are taking place in the city, while the Irish taverns and pubs serve great amounts of Irish alcoholic drinks and food.
The highlight of the celebration though is the transformation of the Chicago River to a sparkling green waterway. It is a tradition that dates back to 1962 when Stephen Bailey the manager of the locals’ plumbers union observed the perfect shade of green color in the river when one of his colleagues was pouring a type of green dye in the water to detect sanitation leaks. After he suggested Mayor Richard J. Daley to use the dye for future Saint Patrick's Day celebration, he got a positive answer and from 1962 the tradition is followed without any break.
Thus, based on local tips, after enjoying the three-hour parade, it is highly recommended to "line" at one of the bridges or even better to get a seat at one of the rooftop bars to get the spectacular view of the green sparkling river!
Visiting the city that hosted the first Saint Patrick’s parade in the history (1737) and hosts until today the highest percentage of the population with Irish descent, guaranties a unique and genuine Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. More than one million people are expected here on an annual basis to follow the festivities that dominate the environment and bring a joyful atmosphere in the whole city.
Countless Irish pubs welcoming the green-clothed crowds from early afternoon, while the Irish beer and the corned beef dishes are the main choices of the festival participants. Visitors can attend (if not join!) the lively parade with marching bands and numerous groups, while plenty of dancing and cultural events are taking place across the city.
Fo Irish punk music lovers, this is the place to be, since the famous band "Dropkick Murphys" is coming from the city and during the festival, they participate in a six-day concert series event. Among other activities, taking a guided tour along the Boston Irish heritage trail and watch some movies at the Irish film festival are some of the best ones.
Regardless of the historical political tensions between the United Kingdom and Ireland, the capital of the UK hosts one of the most extensive Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations worldwide. Over 100.000 people are taking place annually are the festivity events which are organized on the Sunday that falls closest to the 17th of March.
The great parade starts at 12:00 o’clock from Piccadilly Circus and on its 1.5 miles long way passes by famous landmarks until it reaches Trafalgar Square. There the party goes on until late at night, while the attendants have the opportunity to see free performances, dancing events and marching band shows. The food markets and the numerous Irish pubs are the best choices for those who wish to have a break having an Irish beer with some corned beef dishes. The days end with the famous pub crawl where the Irish alcoholic drinks are at the epicenter of the celebration.