Our guide to the best cities for getting your Irish on
Green wig? Check. Green beer? Check. Lucky Leprechaun shirt? Double check. We’re sensing a theme here… it is St. Paddy’s, after all. And whether you’re embracing your Irish roots or you just like dressing up in your greenest attire (we’re not judging), everyone’s from the Emerald Isle on March 17th.
But if you really want to indulge in some shamrock shenanigans, there are some cities that stand out. So grab your lavender-scented eye mask and pack your bags, because we’ve got the buzz on the best places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
If you want to catch the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Beantown, you’re not the only one – over 1 million parade-goers line the streets each year. Looking for green beer? Boston’s got you covered there, too. Local mainstay Harpoon Brewery has live Irish music and beer samples, but get there early, or be prepared to wait in line.
But really, Boston’s special draw is the music. No, not bagpipes – although you’ll hear those, too. Irish punk band and hometown heroes, the Dropkick Murphys, come back every year for a run of shows the week of St. Pat’s. Never heard of them? Add them to your Spotify. (You’re welcome.)
Chicago has it all: the parade, the pubs, the 5k in a green wig… But nothing says “St. Patrick’s Day” quite like dying an entire river green. Every year, the Chicago River goes bright emerald to kick off the festivities. Chi-town natives and tourists – about 300,000 of ‘em – cheer on the boat crews dumping the special “Leprechaun Dust” into the water. (Shhhh – the dye recipe is a closely guarded secret!). Chicago’s even better after the dark, when the city skyline glows as green as the river.
Pro Tip: skip the riverside crowds; buy a ticket to a rooftop party instead.
New York City
How could we leave New York off the list? It’s the biggest and most famous St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the U.S. – and the parade actually marches right in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After, if you want to hit your taste buds with a bit of Irish, NYC is home to too-many-to-count-em bars, pubs, and delis, all serving the traditional corned beef and Guinness. Another popular NYC option? The NYC river cruise, with unlimited green drinks, Irish tunes, and panoramic views of the city. It sells out early, though, so book online ASAP.
If you’re feeling extra bougie, you can skip the rowdy pubs and head over to the Irish Arts Center for their annual St. Patrick’s Open Day. Step dancing and Gaelic 101, anyone?
What happens when you combine Irish revelry and southern charm? You get an irresistible combo and one of the South’s most revered traditions: tailgating. Yes, tailgating. Perfected during the SEC football season and revived again in March, Savannah residents tailgate and pregame with tourists in the lead-up to the 2nd biggest St Patrick’s Day parade in the country.
Prep for a long day – locals arrive by 8 am to claim their parade spots, where you can jostle the crowds for green beads. The party continues on the waterfront, where the pubs (and the taps) are overflowing well past your bedtime.
P.S. – Make sure you visit historic Forsyth Square for a selfie; its fountain is flowing green during St. Pat’s week.
Springtime is great for flying, so check online for some cheap flights that will get you in and out of your St. Pat’s destinations. And don’t forget to ship your baggage ahead of time with LugLess. With shipping prices starting at just $20, you won’t have to worry about splashing your green beer on your favorite suitcase!