St. Patrick’s Day. The one time of year when it is totally acceptable to dye beer green. And drop green coloring into bodies of water. And strut around in head-to-toe green. It’s a day of festive parades, followed by a night of more celebration. All of this is done for one reason: to celebrate one of Ireland’s most well-known saints.
It’s come a long way from its religious origins. In the 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with large feasts. Today, well, you know … it’s a secular celebration of Irish culture, often involving lots of libations. On this day, even those who aren’t Irish wear a token of green in honor of the festivities.
While celebrating in Ireland is a no-brainer on St. Patrick’s Day, there are other places around the world that guarantee a good party.
But, first, we have to talk about Dublin. The capital of Ireland, each year tourists descend upon this gorgeous Irish town to party. Celebrations for the day actually begin ahead of time, so book accommodations early. The days leading up to March 17 are filled with parties, and Temple Bar – the popular tourist destination – is packed with locals and visitors. Then, on St. Patrick’s Day itself, there are parades and more. It should be noted: In Ireland, the Irish don’t dress up quite like others around the world do to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; some do, but for most, normal attire is the standard.
The Irish in Ireland aren’t the only Irish who celebrate on this day. For a unique experience, head to Argentina on March 17. In the early 1800s, the British invaded the country. Today, a lasting effect is the large Irish community there; it’s the fifth largest outside of Ireland. In Buenos Aires, 10 blocks of Reconquista turn into a massive street party (as they so often do) filled with dancing and heaps of people decked out in signature green.
Chicago is another city to visit to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Each year, the Windy City hosts one of the largest celebrations in the nation, going so far as to dye the Chicago River a brilliant shade of green. Its parade, which takes place at noon on a Saturday – if St. Patrick’s Day falls on another day, the parade happens the Saturday before – is one of the largest in the country. For those interested, stake out a place near the start of the route at Columbus Drive and Balbo Avenue.
Browse bar and pub tours in Chicago.
Not to be outdone by the city to the west, Boston is likely the best place to be in the country for people looking to be surrounded by those who identify as Irish. In fact, Massachusetts has the largest number of people of Irish descent in the country. You can also learn about the history of Boston, which boasts the world’s first recorded parade for St. Pat’s Day. Be sure not to party too hard, because there’s also the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade – the country’s second-largest parade.
Book a pub tour in Boston.
New York City, U.S.
Finally, there is always New York City. Marching since 1762, the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade has dubbed itself “the oldest, biggest and best in the world.” It starts at 11 a.m. on March 17 (unless St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday, in which case the parade occurs the Saturday before to observe Sunday Sabbath) and goes down Fifth Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street, ending near the American Irish Historical Society, at 79th Street. Then, of course, for those old enough, it’s on to the pubs for some Irish drinking.