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5 Best St. Patrick’s Day Destinations in the US

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5 Best St. Patrick’s Day Destinations in the US

The United States has more than 36 million citizens that can claim Irish ancestry – that’s nearly 12% of the total population! No matter where you go there’s bound to be some celebrating. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. If you want to celebrate with thousands (and even millions) of others then be sure to visit one of these destinations this year.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City

This parade is the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world and is over 250 years old. Around 150,000 people march in the parade that boasts upwards of two million spectators. Many of the marchers are firefighters and police brigades – two professions that have long and deep Irish roots in the United States. Numerous New York Irish pubs go all out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style – you’ll have no problem finding Irish food and plenty of Irish beer!

Chicago Green River

On St. Patrick’s Day the city of Chicago dumps nearly 100 pounds of green dye into the Chicago River to dye it green. Since 1843 Chicago also has held it’s own St. Patrick’s Day parade that starts promptly at noon and marches through downtown. Floats and traditional Irish dancers are just some of the groups that make up the parade. Chicago’s Irish American Heritage Center also has special events on St. Patrick’s Day.

San Diego ShamROCK

If the west coast is more your style, San Diego is the place to be. In the morning enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day parade and then head down to Balboa Park for the Irish Festival. At the festival enjoy traditional Irish food, an authentic Celtic Village and Kids Zone – not to mention two beer gardens. From 4pm until midnight the ShamROCK takes over Gaslamp Quarter with over 80,000 square feet of Astroturf. The celebration recreates a 150 foot Irish pub on the streets and numerous stage performances of Celtic, Irish Rock, Irish Punk Rock, and other Irish classics fill the air.

Celebrate in Boston

You might not find a city outside of Ireland as proud of their Irish heritage as Boston. St. Patrick’s Day brings in more than half a million visitors to the city. The first celebration held here occurred in 1737 and today has one of the largest parades in the world! Held in South Boston nearly a million people attend the parade. Venues around the city feature Irish music acts and dozens of Irish pubs showcase traditional Irish eats and green beer in the days leading up to and on St. Patrick’s Day.

Kansas City, Missouri…really?

It might be the last place you would think of to celebrate but Kansas City has it going on. Not only do they have a great parade but they give back to. The “go for the green” food drive is an opportunity for people and businesses to help combat hunger in the community. They have combined the day’s events with the food drive for the last 29 years. A Gaelic Mass is held at Redemptorist Catholic Church and is open to all to attend – Irish or not, Catholic or not. It’s a way to remember the patron saint, St. Patrick, the man behind the holiday. A golf tournament is also.

For some handy recipes you can make for a St. Patrick’s celebration right at home, check out our post on The Flavour of Ireland: Plan Your Vacation and Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day Recipes at Home

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38 Comments

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    Definitely Boston. Our parade is amazing and the Irish community in the city really goes all out to celebrate!!

  2. Jennifer Williams says

    I had no idea that any place here in the US celebrated St. Patricks Day. I wish a few were closer so I could go check the out.

  3. Kristi says

    Great list of spots to celebrate. I would def. go with Boston too. I would love to see the parade this year!

  4. DD says

    I’m not Irish, but I don’t mind some green beer.

  5. Ashley B. says

    Great to see that Boston made it on the list of the top places! I could not agree more 🙂

  6. Rosey says

    We took a boat tour in Chicago this summer and they told us about the green dye in the river. I think that would be neat to go back and see!

  7. Jen says

    I would LOVE to do a St. paddy’s day in New York – Americans love it better than actual Irish people.

  8. Nicole A. says

    I had no idea any of that went on in San Diego. If my husband were going to be here we’d definitely make the hour + long drive for it.

  9. mel says

    What awesome ideas for destinations. I want to one day go to Ireland but right now, these I will definitely need to check out!

  10. danity says

    Ireland is the obvious choice for St. Patty’s Day. Can you imagine the fun?!

  11. MK says

    I think Boston would hands down be the best place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (other than Ireland!)

  12. Pam says

    I had never heard that Kansas City had a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. I think I’d like to be in NYC for St. Patrick’s Day.

  13. Triplezmom says

    I have actually celebrated in NYC, Boston and Kansas City. KC has the best celebration because it doesn’t have as many tourists!

  14. Ave says

    We don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here, but I would love to visit St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. Sounds like a lot of fun!

  15. Jocelyn says

    I love St Patty’s Day … it’s just a fun holiday all around!

  16. amanda ripsam says

    I would love to go to anyone of those places. I love St Patty’s day as a Redhair fair skn who has some Irish in her hence the red hair and fair skin it would be so much fun to go to any of these places to celebrate. I have always wanted to go to NYC

  17. Nikki says

    I would so love to spend St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland it would be super cool.

  18. BusyBee says

    How funny, I live just north of San Diego and never though ShamROCK was that big of a deal.

  19. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says

    I just love the Chicago River tradition. That’s my hometown area so I love it even more so because of the ties to home.

  20. Tiffany says

    I have never celebrated St. Patrick’s Day but I sure would like to see the river turned green! But then again, I would like my girls too see it, too and I’m sure it’s no place for kids! 😉

  21. Allie says

    What a bunch of great ideas, might have to pick one out.

  22. Janelle says

    Not my favorite holiday… I’d rather stay in, then drink a green beer.

  23. T. Marie says

    Awesome locations. I don’t celebrate the holiday past buying my son the themed peeps. lol. but it looks like loads of fun.

  24. American Punjaban PI says

    I wouldn’t dream of going to Chicago at this time of year. I love the cold but not enough to visit there during the winter. I’ll keep all of this in mind for summer though.

  25. Pam says

    I imagine Chicago and Boston are the places to be. We all have a little Irish in us somewhere right? That gives us all an excuse to celebrate, not that we really needed one. 😉

  26. Coolchillmom says

    You did surprise me with the Kansas celebration! Would live to party Irish in Bonston and Chicago

  27. veronica says

    I would love to join any one of these cities in their celebrations of St Patrick’s Day

  28. Angie | Big Bear's Wife says

    Chicago!! I so want to go there for St. Patricks Day, I’ve always wanted to see the green river!

  29. Amanda Her says

    Yay – my city made the list! (Chicago) I’d love to visit Boston though.

  30. Lawna says

    I would love to go to any of those places. I think my favorite would be san diego.

  31. Marielle Altenor says

    I would love to be there for when Chicago turns the river green! I bet its quite a sight!

  32. Janelle says

    I’ve decided to stay home for Patty’s day, too many drunk drivers.

  33. Allie says

    I’m heading to Chicago, love the city and I have a place to stay.

  34. Shiny says

    For me nowhere beats my home town of Dublin.

  35. Shiny says

    I have a brother in Boston and to an Irish person it’s like Paddy’s Day all year round there.

  36. Pamela says

    Would be interested to experience the american version of st patricks day!

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