The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade actually took place in the United States, so it’s no surprise that some of the best places to join in on the fun happen to be in America. Although Ireland was the birth of the day itself, Irish-at-heart have taken the opportunity to celebrate it with festivals and parades all throughout the world. Read on to see where the best places to celebrate are in the world.
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day In These World Cities
Ranked by WalletHub as the best major city overall to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Boston is also home to the 2nd highest percentage of Irish population in the country. With all those Irish living in the city, you know there are some great celebrations here. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston (Southie) is a major event in the city, just don’t forget to wear green. You’ll see colorful floats making their way down the parade route, and huge crowds of partygoers looking for their next green beer. The Dropkick Murphys always put on a show, too, so make sure you grab tickets before they sell out For an authentic Irish celebration, Boston is the place to be.
What better way to celebrate the Irish than by attending a parade that strolls past New York City landmarks? The city has an annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade that runs along Central Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the iconic shops on 5th Avenue. The parade has been running since 1762, making it over 250 years old and the first documented parade in the country. Not only will you get to properly celebrate the Irish heritage and partake in a historically renowned parade, you’ll also get a chance to see those famous New York City attractions.
A green river that runs right through the heart of the city? Check. Chicago attracts hundred of thousands of visitors each year during its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The river is magically turned green (using environmentally friendly dye) at 9 a.m., and the city’s parade begins at noon. Partygoers continue the celebration by attending pub crawls and festivals all throughout the different Chicago neighborhoods. Visit Chicago’s South Side Parade where dance troupes and floats entertain onlookers and pubs open their doors to locals and visitors alike to raise a pint.
How could we leave this one out? Dublin hosts one of the biggest St. Patty’s Day celebrations in the world. Its party lasts five days, and includes boat races, the Irish Beer and Whiskey Festival, and major Dublin attractions getting a green glow at night. You won’t want to miss their huge, festive parade either. Live music and half a million viewers keep this party going through its five days, and there are, of course, many traditional Irish pubs to pop into if the weather gets too cold. Check out O’Neill’s Bar and Restaurant and pour your own Guinness from a tap at your table! Immerse yourself in the Irish culture by taking on Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day.
5. Tokyo, Japan
You might be surprised to see Tokyo on this list, but make no mistake, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade here is a wild success. In 2014, its first year ever, the parade actually ran out of food, underestimating the cultural day’s popularity. Leprechauns, green decorations, and dogs dressed in Irish garb take part in this parade and entertain viewers throughout the day. Don’t forget to check out the live music and food trucks dishing out traditional Irish food.
Pittsburgh has a long history of holding their St. Patrick’s Day Parade, rain or shine. In 1993, the city experienced a huge blizzard on the day the parade was set to run. Instead of rescheduling it, the city marched on and kept the 100+ year old tradition alive. Today, you can still find men in kilts playing the bag pipes, a route filled with homemade floats, and live entertainment. It’s no wonder this parade has carried on since the late 1860s; Pittsburgh has the highest percentage of Irish population in the country! If you need any more reason to go, Pittsburgh was also ranked by WalletHub as the #3 city in the country with highest access to bars, so you’ll never be empty handed.
Every year on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day, a 1.5-mile long parade travels through the heart of London. A pageant, floats, and marching bands from across the country gather to celebrate in this Irish heritage day. There is also a free festival in Trafalgar Square that includes an artisan Irish food market, comedy and film festivals, live music, and dancing. The dozens of Irish pubs are another reason to visit London for St. Patrick’s Day, as many of them have specials and traditional Irish food and drink for this special holiday.
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.