May the Luck of the Irish Be With You at These St. Patrick’s Day Parades!

Observed since the early 17th century, Saint Patrick’s Day began as a cultural and religious celebration. It was remembered every year on March 17th, the day the foremost patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, passed away. Today it’s associated with everything Irish! In American cities with large Irish populations, St.Patrick’s Day parades can rival those in Ireland. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate on March 17th by decking out in green apparel from head to toe, playing themed music and songs, consuming favorite Irish drinks and dishes, and participating in countless holiday activities.

With so many cities honoring “the Day of the Festival of Patrick” in their own unique way, how do you settle on just one festival to partake in this year? To help you narrow down your decision, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite U.S. cities to visit for St. Patrick’s Day. So take your pick, book your stay, pack your bags, and make a cheers to the traditional Irish toast, “May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.”

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah St. Patrick's Day 2016

Savannah is known for hosting the second largest parade in the world. Residents of Savannah take St. Patrick’s Day very seriously and begin the celebration two weeks in advance with a host of traditional events and ceremonies. Among these events is the Greening of the Fountain in the main town square, the Tara Feis Festival, and the Celtic Cross Ceremony.

On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, 8:00am ET Mass is held followed by the big parade (10:15am) through downtown Savannah, and ends in the Feast of Saint Patrick among other celebrations and non-stop entertainment around town for the rest of the day. Make sure to book accommodations and plan ahead as the city of Savannah becomes flooded with thousands of tourists looking to partake in the festivities.

Boston, Massachusetts

The South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade is presented in conjunction with the Allied War Veteran’s Council (AWVC) Commemoration. This parade is listed as the second largest in the country, being viewed in person along the parade route by 600,000 to one million people every year, not to mention the amount of people that watch the whole thing live on TV. The annual parade will be held Saturday, March 20th at 1:00pm ET and will wind its way through the streets of South Boston.

The fun doesn’t stop there, the rest of the day will be filled with green-themed celebration put on by neighborhood restaurants and bars throughout the city! You can join the Dropkick Murphys’ annual House of Blues concert, or visit one of Boston’s famous Irish pubs. In the dancing mood? You’re in luck! Head to Faneuil Hall for a day of free Irish music, dancing, and performances. If you want to experience a bit of “real” Boston culture, you can explore Boston’s Irish heritage along the Irish Heritage Trail, or check out the Irish Film Festival. You’ll need more than one day to take in all of these events—good thing most of them are either year round or held throughout the month of March!

Chicago, Illinois


Famously known for dying their river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Chicago is another great city to visit for this holiday. If you’d like to actually see the Chicago River get dyed green, watch the parade and meet the St. Patrick’s Day Queen, make sure to be in town from Saturday, March 12th. Chicagoans are celebrating the weekend before this year.

Dyeing of the Chicago River is scheduled for 9:00am CT, followed by the city-wide parade at noon, so make sure to get a good spot along the parade route! Among the floats you will be able to see the 2016 Grand Marshall, Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, the Guest of Honor, President of DePaul College Prep Mary Dempsey, and the 2016 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Queen Erin Mulcahy. Afterwards, enjoy some grub at any one of the many Irish pubs and restaurants all over the city of Chicago!

New York City, New York

NYC St. Patricks Day

The biggest, and arguably the most famous, city in the U.S. couldn’t be left off this list. With such a wide array of residents, it’s not surprising that New York City has a large Irish population. The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world. The first parade was held on March 17, 1762—fourteen years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Today, approximately 150,000 people march in the parade which draws about 2 million spectators.

The NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is entirely run by volunteers, will begin at 11am ET on March 17th and can be viewed along 5th Avenue between 44th Street and 79th Street. Senator George Mitchell has been named as the 2016 Grand Marshal, and he will be joined by 14 aides representing the different boroughs and Irish councils of New York on the parade route.

Where will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year? Wherever you travel this year, be sure to check for reasonable priced group accommodations and last minute deals.

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