On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is at least a little bit Irish. If you’re looking for a great place to immerse yourself in all things Irish for the holiday or just for an excuse for a fun vacation, these destinations are sure to fit the bill.
The very first official St. Patrick’s Day parade was actually held in Boston back in 1737, though the feast of St. Patrick has been celebrated in Ireland since the ninth century. Beantown is still one of the best places to celebrate the holiday with a multitude of events include a huge parade with the requisite colorful floats, marching bands, Irish dancers, bagpipers and much more. Nearly one million people come to watch each year.
Irish punk band Dropkick Murphys returns to their hometown each year to play and celebrate the holiday at the House of Blues, and you’ll find plenty of pubs featuring live Irish tunes throughout the week. For a more historical look back at the Irish who made significant contributions to Boston, stroll the Irish heritage trail that begins at picturesque Rose Kennedy Rose Garden.
Savannah hosts the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the U.S. The weekend before or surrounding the holiday includes this charming southern city’s biggest party of the year, including the St. Patrick’s Celebration on the River. There is no admission to attend this renowned festival which features non-stop live entertainment games, food and beverages and lots of cheer to help you get into the Irish spirit.
The grand finale is the parade which is held on the holiday, drawing nearly a half-million spectators with its 350 or so floats and Irish pipe bands.
The Windy City is also well known for having one of the biggest and best St. Patty’s Day festivities in the country. Here, even the river is transformed into an emerald green shade for the holiday, attracting about 400,000 spectators to watch it turn color with the help of a little “leprechaun magic.”
The parade marches from Balbo Drive to Monroe Drive, and includes spectacular floats as well as troops of Irish step dancers, bagpipers and bands. One of the best ways to celebrate your Irish afternoon is Chicago is to take the cruise that departs after the parade’s finale. You’ll glide atop the green waters for a 90-minute tour of the city sights while enjoying a traditional Irish buffet – complete with Irish coffee or Guinness.
San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate City holds one of the best St. Patty’s Day celebrations west of the Mississippi. Here the day pays homage to the vast richness of Irish culture as the city drew thousands of Irish immigrants who arrived with the hopes of striking it rich during the gold rush. Today there are estimated to be around one million residents in the area who are of Irish descent.
The St. Patrick’s Day Festival takes place every year on the weekend before or surrounding the holiday, offering an opportunity to learn more about Irish history through live music, traditional Irish cuisine, dancing and all types of cultural exhibits. The city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the most popular events of the year, featuring with hundreds of brilliant floats, Irish dance troupes and marching bands.
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