The Best Cities for St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

The Best Cities for St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

December 30, 2021

Like many people all over the world, we love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. You might not be aware that St. Patrick's Day has a fascinating history, and it’s important to keep it in mind while you’re off celebrating the day in some incredible cities. 

While St. Patrick's Day has huge cultural significance in the United States, the Irish have been celebrating the day for thousands of years. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and is remembered for bringing Christianity to the country. 

Today, many people celebrate St. Patrick on March 17, whether they identify with Christianity or not. However, it was brought to the United States by Irish immigrants who sought to preserve their Irish traditions from back home. That’s really how it grew to become extremely popular on a national scale, even though it’s not legally recognized as a national holiday. 

Regardless of your religion, St. Patrick's Day is still a great reason to get together with friends. If you’re looking for a place to do so, plenty of cities take the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day very seriously. Add the cities that we’ve listed below to your travel bucket list if you’re hoping to celebrate March 17 the right way. 

Boston, Massachusetts 

Historically,Boston, MA was home to many Irish-American immigrants and still is to this day. Boston, which is situated on the coast of New England, functioned as a port of entry for thousands of immigrants, particularly Irish immigrants who were fleeing from famine and poverty back in Europe. 

Today, Boston has maintained a strong Irish identity (their NBA team is literally the Celtics), and South Boston (also known as Southie) still has a very strong Irish-American heritage. In fact, Boston was one of the first cities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in North America on March 17, 1737. Speaking of repping your favorite Boston teams, you better be prepared for a lot of green Boston apparel, so you better stock up before it’s too late. 

St. Patrick's Day is one of the most important days of the year for many people all over Boston and the state of Massachusetts. If you’re looking for a city that knows how to celebrate, look no further. 

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Boston this St. Patrick's Day, the first activity on your list should be to attend the St. Patrick's Day parade. The parade in Southie is not something you want to miss and is presented by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council. 

If you don’t end up in Southie, don’t worry. The Dropkick Murphys, a famous American Celtic punk band from Boston, perform each year at the House of Blues in Boston. Tickets sell out incredibly fast, so give yourself plenty of time to plan for this concert if you’re interested. 

Prepare for intense crowds all over Boston, given the popularity of the holiday. However, if you’re hoping to celebrate in a slightly more low-key manner than attending a parade or concert, the most guaranteed good choice is to head to an Irish pub and grab a pint of Guinness. Irish pubs are located all over Boston, but we recommend staying somewhere close to one since your best and cheapest option for transportation is to travel by foot. 

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, IL is world-famous for many reasons, one of which is the famous Chicago River dyeing during St. Patrick's Day. It's the home of the Chi-rish! If you’ve only seen the green river in pictures, the city is definitely worth a visit this time of year. The river is typically dyed green the Saturday prior to St. Patrick's Day, so if you’re in the area, head to the riverwalk for a preemptive St. Patrick's Day celebration. 

If you find yourself in the windy city on March 17, the Beverly neighborhood has strong Irish ties. Similar celebrations to Boston will take place in Chicago, including local band performances, pub crawls, and parades. The Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the largest in the country and travels north on Columbus Drive.

Chicago is an incredible city to visit regardless of how you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. You won’t be left searching for plans because the celebration will take place all over the week leading up to St. Patrick's Day. 

Tampa, Florida 

While the sunny skies of Florida might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this holiday, Tampa is bringing the green in its own way. Chicago’s not the only city to dye its river green these days! 

TheHillsborough River now sports a brilliant shade of kelly green for St. Patty’s Day, so you can enjoy the beautiful weather with a walk along a festive river. Finish off the day with a bar brawl around downtown Tampa or enjoy music at one of the many Irish-inspired pubs.  

Ybor City even hosts its own version of the classic St. Patrick’s Day parade, so grab your green and get ready to go. 

New York City 

New York City is also home to a significant number of Irish-Americans. While there’s always a focus on Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Thanksgiving in New York, people often forget how fun it is to experience St. Patrick’s Day in this city. 

The New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the oldest and largest parades in the world, so it’s worth attending for at least part of your day. People wear their Irish pride on their sleeves(or their t-shirts) all year long. 

What’s unique about the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade is that no floats or cars are allowed in the procession. Instead, the parade consists of musicians, marching bands, dancers, and more. It is run by a number of Irish-American volunteers, and the parade is central to the celebration of their heritage. This parade is great to attend with kids to view all volunteers who prepare all year for this special event. 

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate the holiday that doesn’t revolve around bar hopping or parade attendance, there are several museums in New York City that present Irish-American history and highlight the significance of St. Patrick’s Day. 

For example, the Tenement Museum showcases many of the struggles of Irish-American immigration and tells the stories of working-class tenement residents who immigrated to New York City in the hope of a better life. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Philadelphia, PA, is a vibrant city with a lot of history worth exploring 365 days of the year. However, if you can visit for St. Patrick’s Day, you’re in for a lot of fun. 

The Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade is unique in that it has a different theme each year, all of which revolve around the holiday. The parade is the second oldest in the country, and the 2022 theme is “250 Years of Faith, Family, Friendship, and Heritage.” This theme and the parade itself were unfortunately twice canceled due to COVID-19. However, after a two-year wait, the city is eager to finally celebrate this theme, and people are prepared to represent their city in style. 

The 2022 parade, which takes place on March 13, 2022, will be an extra special event you won’t want to miss if you happen to be in Philly. The majority of people who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day attend the parade during the day, then proceed to bars and pubs around the parade route. 

Picking a Place: Plenty of Places To Celebrate on March 17

Boston, Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia are historically the top picks for cities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in. No matter what city you find yourself in come March, as long as you are with good company, you can celebrate the holiday from anywhere. 

You can find fun in almost every city in the United States and beyond for a day as loved as St. Patrick’s Day, and we believe that it’s less about where you celebrate but more about how you celebrate. 

 

Sources: 

History of St. Patrick’s Day | History 

The Irish in Boston | History 

St. Patrick’s Day Chicago | Choose Chicago


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