Best Cities Where You Can Celebrate St. Patty’s Day the Authentic Way

by Matty ByloosMarch 11, 2016

Feeling the Luck of the Irish This Year?

From coast to coast, people of all ethnic backgrounds have certainly embraced St. Patrick’s Day as a holiday that in some small way belongs to us all. You only have to take a short walk around your own hometown to witness the amount of green being worn by strangers and friends on just about every street.

But the trouble is, with so many great parties, how do you choose which one to attend? Here’s a little primer on the best cities where you can celebrate a truly authentic St. Patty’s Day.
CHICAGO - MARCH 16: The Chicago River is dyed green for St. Patrick's Day in Chicago on March 16 2013

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Most everywhere in the country, you will find people willing to dye their beer green for St. Patrick’s Day, but can you find somewhere willing to dye an entire river green? Chicago, already an amazing destination city, really cranks it up for St Patrick’s Day. A great thing about the St. Patty’s Day parade in Chicago is that it is always on the Saturday following the holiday, so you don’t have to take time off from work to join the fun.

Just remember to get there early because the river dyeing begins at 9am and lasts for under an hour. The best viewing spots are anywhere along the banks of the Chicago Riverwalk between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.

Get Your Irish on in New York

It’s pretty hard to argue with New York City for any big-time holiday celebration, but the city’s rich Irish tradition really comes out to play for St. Paddy’s Day. The great public transportation, huge Irish population, and massive street parade are all second to none in the United States.

You can get into position early to catch the estimated 150,000 parade marchers stroll down 5th Avenue, and then fill up on corned beef and cabbage at Molly’s on 3rd Avenue and E 22nd St. From there, why not plan your own little pub crawl, or settle in at one of the hundreds of authentic Irish Pubs around the city.
NEW YORK, NY, USA - MAR 17: St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 17, 2014 in New York City, United States.

Boston, Obviously

Boston is the city that might be best known for its Irish heritage. Around town, there are too many pubs to count, they have a great public transportation system, and you’ll find tons of festivals that feature great food and music all over the city. Be sure to get down to South Boston (or as the locals call it, “Southie”) as early as you can, as some estimates have as many as one million people lining the streets for the massive annual parade.

With so many great pubs to choose from, you could always just post up in a cozy booth, order a frosty Guinness and watch the parade on TV.

Santa Monica, California?

Santa Monica, you say? The land of palm trees and sunny beaches doesn’t immediately lend itself to mind for St Patty’s Day, but the city brings something that other cities just can’t match when it comes to mid-March: warm and sunny days. What Santa Monica lacks in deep tradition it definitely makes up for in green t-shirts and shorts.

And though the pubs do fill up, they’ve got nothing on the battle for elbow room at a parade with a million revelers. Plus, if things get a little too crazy, you can always go for a nice walk on the beach. New York City can’t give you that.

Pittsburgh’s Celebration Might Surprise You

Pittsburgh sneaks onto the list by boasting a huge Irish population, a great parade, and a very walkable pub scene. Visitors can kick off St Patrick’s Day in Pittsburgh’s downtown area at 10am, and then work their way over to the family-friendly Parade Fest in Market Square. Authentic food, music, and entertainers make this a great St Patrick’s Day destination for families and partiers alike.
Irishmen in his kilst is playing on bagpipe during the St. Patrick's Day Parade The event was held in Birmingham the UK.

New Orleans: The Best City for a Party

Parades? Parties? These are two of New Orleans’ favorite things! The home of Mardi Gras puts on parades for almost anything, and the citizens really don’t need an excuse to throw a party either. Get down to the French Quarter for the parade and celebrate St Patrick’s Day the Cajun way anywhere in the city with amazing music, tons of great bars, and family-friendly festivals.

St. Patty’s Day in St Louis

St. Louis really hits all the marks for an authentic St. Patty’s day celebration. Their annual Ancient Order of Hibernians parade is held on St. Patrick’s Day every year in the city’s famous Irish Dogtown neighborhood.

Unlike the massive undertakings in Boston and New York, the St. Louis parade has a much more low-key feel to it, very similar to the local parades held in Ireland. The Dogtown neighborhood is easy to traverse on foot, and features plenty of activities for adults and families alike.

Take a Trip This Year for St. Patrick’s Day

Whether you’re looking for a day of pub crawls and corned beef, or bagpipes and face painting with the kids, the cities on this list offer you all of that and then some. Have a great time out there and remember to celebrate responsibly this year, even if you fall in love with the taste of green beer!

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About The Author
Matty Byloos
Matty is the Content Marketing Specialist for He's a newly minted homeowner who currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife. When he's not working, he enjoys writing fiction, working on the house, and enjoying the amazing nature that the city has to offer. He is also the founder of NOVEL Creative Agency.