5 Top Spots to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S.

These cities take St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to the next level.

Chicago River

Photo: iStock

CHICAGO

The Parade:

A longstanding tradition, the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day (unless the holiday falls on a Saturday, of course). Marching bands, Irish step dancers and bagpipers make their way north from Columbus Street through Grant Park on a three-hour route.

The Party:

Chicagoans take St. Paddy’s celebrations seriously, as made evident by the many Irish pubs that overflow with revelers from March on into April. Take your pick of celebrations throughout the season. From Irish brunches to bar crawls to live music, there’s no shortage of Irish-themed events to attend.

The Local Twist:

For more than 50 years, the Chicago River has been a part of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Head to the riverside to get a good view before the dye is added at 9 a.m. Don’t worry: The dye used to turn the river Irish green is eco-friendly, and it only lasts for about five hours.

BOSTON

The Parade:

The Sunday closest to St. Patrick’s Day is Boston’s tradition for its St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Scout out the perfect place to watch this popular South Boston event.

The Party:

Even if it’s not your thing the other 364 days of the year, an Irish punk-rock concert is the place to be on St. Paddy’s Day. Boston’s own Dropkick Murphys play multiple shows throughout the weekend, and their shows are parties unto themselves.

The Local Twist:

What better way to show Irish pride than by cheering on the Celtics? St. Patrick’s Day games—all Celtics games the week of St. Patrick’s Day, really—are popular among Bostonians and visitors, so be sure to get tickets in advance.

NEW YORK

The Parade:

Held March 17 each year, the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the oldest in America. The first parade, which now rolls up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick’s Cathedral, was held in 1762.

The Party:

Irish pubs across the city host events throughout the week, but the place to be is former Little Ireland in the Lower East Side. Grab a pint at a local bar, then join in a special tour of the neighborhood. Themed especially for St. Patrick’s Day, the tour shows how Irish heritage shaped New York over the years.

Green bagels! New York bagels may be on every block in Manhattan year-round, but green St. Patrick’s Day bagels only pop up once a year. Get ‘em while they’re fresh.

SAVANNAH

The Parade:

Head to downtown Savannah March 17 for the annual parade. Spectators flock to the parade route, which winds through the city’s downtown streets, to stake out the best spots for a view of the performers and marching bands parading through the city.

The Party:

Savannah’s riverfront is the place to be if you’re looking for live music and green beer. A lineup of local bands of all genres is scheduled all weekend long. For a more family-friendly activity, check out Tara Feis, a celebration of Irish heritage with Irish music, dancing and kids’ activities.

The Local Twist:

Get your picture taken in front of Savannah’s iconic fountain, which spouts bright green water in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

CLEVELAND

The Parade:

A Cleveland tradition for nearly 150 years, the parade is held March 17. Performers march downtown to the public square on a two-hour route, then spill into the many Irish pubs to continue the revelry.

The Party:

The House of Blues hosts a massive shindig each year. Green beer, loads of beads, the works—plus, there is no cover to enjoy a day full of live music. Bonus to any bands that play “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” the music to which was written by Cleveland resident Ernest Ball (who was not Irish).

The Local Twist:

Sure, Cleveland might seem like the dark horse (or four-leaf clover, if you will) of the group. But with 12.8 percent of county residents claiming Irish decent, the city has an unsurprising glut of Irish pubs. Each has its own tradition, ranging from Lucky Charms-eating contests to full lineups of live Irish music. But no matter where you decide to celebrate, you’ll be starting early. The city is famous for kicking off the day with an early morning Irish breakfast, served at 6 a.m. at pubs throughout the city.

Spend the international day of Irish pride on the Emerald Isle.

AAA Travel can help you plan a trip to take part in seasonal celebrations around the world. Visit AAA.com or call 877-396-7159 to talk to a AAA Travel Counselor.

Learn More

David Kallas, AAA Travel Counselor, Murray, Utah

I'm all about once-in-a-lifetime trips to destinations such as the Cook Islands, Australia or an African safari. I love to plan trips that my clients return from not regretting anything.

© 1996–2018, AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah. All rights reserved  |  Terms & Conditions  |  Privacy Policy