Can you guess the most popular cities in the United States for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations?
Well without question, nowhere on earth could possibly compare with Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day for authenticity. This year will be particularly vibrant with “The Gathering“, Ireland’s year-long heritage celebration that will stage events and festivities throughout the 2013. Ireland is inviting everyone (with Irish roots or simply a twinkle in the eye) to come home for a genuine Irish welcome.
But fear not, if a ticket to Dublin is not in your future, there is still plenty of pints to be downed at notable St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across America. With the 17th falling on Sunday this year, most parades will take place on Saturday and celebrations will span the weekend. Whether it’s green beer or an Irish tale you’re after, you’ll be sure to find plenty of both at these top cities for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Takes the #1 spot on three counts: #1 Massachusetts has a larger Irish population base than any other state in America (23%), #2 the very first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in here 1737, organized by the Charitable Irish Society and there have been annual celebrations ever since, and #3 it’s actually a legal holiday in Suffolk County (technically Evacuation Day), so everyone in Boston gets the day off to celebrate – or this year sober up. You can feel the excitement building for St. Patrick’s Day weeks in advance. With the city chock full of Irish pubs and restaurants, it seems there is revelry and green beer spilling out of every corner from Southie to Jamaica Plain. All the parade info is available at SouthBostonParade.org
New York City
The Boston vs New York City rivalry is alive and well here too. New York City also claims to be the site of the very first parade, but theirs took place in 1762 – ‘nuf said! New York does hold the distinction of hosting the largest parade in the world. The first parade in New York took place in 1762 when Irish settlers serving in the English military and stationed in the Colonies marched through the city. The parade and enthusiastic crowds have been growing ever since. Today the parade steps off on 44th Street at 11:00 am and finishes at 86th Street around 5:00 pm. Find all the details at NYCStPatricksParade.org
You know any city that would dye their river green to celebrate St. Patrick’s day is a serious contender. Chicago always celebrates St. Patrick’s Day on a Saturday, regardless of what day of the week March 17th falls on. Promptly at 10:00 am the green coloring stars to flow into the Chicago River and the parade steps off at noon. With a proud Irish working heritage, Chicago celebrates St Patty’s with vigor. Info on Chicago’s parade can be found at ChicagoPatsParade.com
Anyone who has spent time in Savannah knows that St. Patrick’s Day kicks off the busy tourist season. The cobbled streets and waterfront saloons are laid-back all winter long, but that changes in dramatic fashion come March 17th. For their part, Savannah dyes the water in their famed park fountains green for the day and puts on a sizable parade. This year Savannah will celebrate their 189th parade and claims to be the second largest parade in the world – but it seems lots of folks are vying for that title. My favorite viewing spot is sipping a cold pint perched above Bay Street at one of Savannah’s legendary riverfront restaurants. More info on Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration here.
Philadelphia has been putting on a St. Patrick’s Day Parade since 1771. In the early 1800′s Philadelphia had twice the Irish population as Boston. With plentiful industrial jobs available, Irish workers fleeing the famine in Ireland flocked to Philly. Find more information at VisitPhilly.com.
Mardi Gras decorations are barely put away when it’s time to take out the parade regalia again for St. Patrick’s Day. NOLA gets so worked up about St. Patty’s Day that it can’t fit all the revelry into just one day. Six separate parades take place from March 3-24 through various boroughs in New Orleans. Parade participants not only give out bright green shamrock shaped beads, but the ingredients for a traditional Irish stew as well. Watch out for flying spuds and cabbages! The St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are some of the most festive street parties in New Orleans, and the weather in March is usual sensational. Find more info at NewOrleansOnline.com.
Photo Credits: #1, 2, 3, 6 – Wikimedia Commons, #4 Flickr cc – Brue Tuten, #5 Flikcr cc – Kaitlin Marie