Almost 50 American cities host a parade on St. Patrick”s Day each year. If you are looking for a way to celebrate St. Patrick”s Day this year, consider making your way to a major city with a parade. Not only will you be able to take in the parade, but you are also likely to get involved in some of the numerous other St. Patrick”s Day activities that major cities tend to offer.

Before planning your trip, however, be sure to check the dates of the parades. Many cities celebrate by planning a parade for the weekend before or after March 17th.

St. Patrick”s Day Parades in America

A surprising number of major U.S. cities are home to the descendants of Irish immigrants. While most Irish immigrants landed in Boston, Montreal and New York City during the great Irish potato famine of the mid-1800s, many migrated to other cities to seek their fortunes.

Besides New York and Boston, other cities throughout the U.S. that are home to St. Patrick”s Day parades include:

  • Alexandria (Virginia)
  • Denver (Colorado)
  • Trenton (New Jersey)
  • Myrtle Beach (South Carolina)
  • Phoenix (Arizona)
  • Salt Lake City (Utah)
  • San Diego (California)
  • Seattle (Washington)
  • Washington D.C.

St. Patrick”s Day in Ireland

While St. Patrick”s Day was celebrated with beer and parades across America, it remained a sedate religious holiday in Ireland until 1955. Realizing the economic benefit of attracting tourism on March 17th, the Irish government began to plan elaborate festivities that would appeal to visitors of all ages.

Today, the annual St. Patrick”s Day celebration is a four-day festival with:

  • arts
  • craft fairs
  • dance
  • music
  • theater
  • traditional Irish food
  • treasure hunts.

Don”t miss the Skyfest fireworks display and the Luminarium, a colorful maze that”s fun for the whole family.

Much of the entertainment is free. Street performers regale visitors with sidewalk shows, choral singing, acrobatics and even some samba and salsa. You”re always welcome to join the dancing and singing, as various processions make their way through the streets of Dublin.

If you”re hesitant to join a crowd of 1.5 million people in Dublin, you might choose smaller cities, like Cork, Limerick or Galway, where the festivities are just as touching and the pipes and drums just as rousing.

St. Patrick”s Day Around the World

St. Patrick”s Day celebrations aren”t limited to the Irish neighborhoods of American cities and the towns and villages of Ireland. If you”re traveling to exotic locations around mid-March, consider planning to attend the annual St. Patrick”s Day parade in:

  • Bejing (China)
  • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • London (England)
  • Moscow (Russia)
  • Munich (Germany)
  • Paris (France)
  • Rome (Italy)Sydney (Australia)
  • Yokohama or Tokyo (Japan).

In Canada, parades are held in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. Montreal”s annual parade has a history of almost 200 years. Similarly, St. Patrick”s Day is a provincial holiday in Newfoundland.

St. Patrick”s Day: After Hours

Of course, celebrating St. Patrick”s Day in Ireland may be just a dream for now. Meanwhile, plan a fun evening of traditional St. Patrick”s Day activities, even if all you start with is a few pints after work.

Irish pubs are quite popular and widespread these days, so you will likely have no trouble finding a pub called “O”Malley”s” or “The Celtic Tavern” that will be all decked out for St. Patrick”s Day. The problem is that most Irish pubs are sure to be packed to the rafters on March 17th. So, be prepared to wait in line just to get in and listen to the Irish musicians playing “Black Velvet Band.”

If lines and crowded pubs are not your scene, you can always host your own festivities. A few cases of beer, a large pot of hearty Irish stew and a few loaves of authentic soda bread are all you need to set the tone. Dcor items are readily available in many party shops staring mid-February.

Safe Celebrations

Whatever you decide to do on St. Patrick”s Day, remember to invite a designated driver who can get you home safely. The St. Patrick”s Day events organizers in Dublin, Ireland are increasingly concerned about public intoxication, particularly among teenagers.

While all are welcome to join in the merriment, remember that celebrating St. Patrick”s Day can be fun without a booze binge. Here”s to your health: “Slinte Mhath!”


Saint Patrick”s Day Parade (2008). 2008 Saint Patrick”s Day Parade. Retrieved April 15, 2008, from the Saint Patrick”s Day Parade Web site.