Saturday, March 2, 2024

St. Patrick’s Day: The biggest parties across United States to celebrate luck of the Irish

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On March 17, people across the United States will be decked out in green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. 

The holiday often involves elaborate parades, fairs, music and traditional Irish food, dance and drink.

There are numerous St. Patrick’s Day events that take place each year leading up to the holiday.

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Yet the following cities are home to some of the biggest, most extravagant celebrations in the country.

New York City holds the longest and oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade. (Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images)

  1. New York City
  2. Chicago, Illinois
  3. Boston, Massachusetts
  4. Savannah, Georgia
  5. Denver, Colorado
  6. Kansas City, Missouri
  7. Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Cleveland, Ohio
  9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  10. Dublin, Ohio
  11. New Orleans, Louisiana

1. New York City 

New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade brings in 2 million visitors every year, according NYC’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade website. There is also an impressive number of people — 150,000 — who march the parade route, which begins at East 44th Street and travels up Fifth Avenue and ends at East 79th Street. 

This historic parade dates back to 1762. Since its start, volunteers are the organizers of the event, according to the website.

If you plan on attending the largest and oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country, come prepared for a long day. Typically, the parade will run about five to six hours from start to finish, with a start time of 11 a.m.

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2. Chicago, Illinois 

You can catch a huge St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago as well. The parade lasts around three hours and has been an annual event since 1843, according to ChooseChicago.com.

Each year since 1962, usually on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, the Chicago River is dyed green, according to the site.

Every year, many gather to watch as the Chicago River is dyed green for St. Patrick's Day.

Every year, many gather to watch as the Chicago River is dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Many gather to watch the river receive its new color. 

The dye only lasts for a few hours, so if you want to catch a photo or a glimpse, be sure to arrive on time. You can experience the river by boarding a cruise during the time it is dyed.

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3. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston has the highest concentration of Irish descendants in the United States, according to Irish Central, and it is no surprise that they take the holiday very seriously.

Not only can you enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston, but you can also run (or observe) the St. Patrick’s Day road race that takes place in the city.

There are also tons of Irish pubs and music events to experience during St. Patrick’s Day and the days leading up to it.

Boston has the highest concentration of Irish descendants in the United States.

Boston has the highest concentration of Irish descendants in the United States. (Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

4. Savannah, Georgia 

The St. Patrick’s Day events in Savannah, Georgia start early and run late. Festivities typically start around the city on March 16 and will run through March 19.

Savannah is home to one of the largest parades in the country. There are right around 400,000 individuals who get together to watch the parade, according to Explore Georgia.

Savannah, similar to Chicago, has a Greening of the Fountain Ceremony at Forsyth Park for visitors to enjoy, according to the website.

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5. Denver, Colorado

Denver hosts parades, bar crawls and festivals in many of the local Irish pubs around the city.

Denver holds a St. Patrick's Day parade every year. Many also attend Scruffy Murphy's for the holiday, one of the most popular pubs in the area.

Denver holds a St. Patrick’s Day parade every year. Many also attend Scruffy Murphy’s for the holiday, one of the most popular pubs in the area. (Kathryn Scott Osler / The Denver Post via Getty Images)

One of the popular pubs in the area is Scruffy Murphy’s, located next to Coors Field. At this pub, guests can enjoy Irish cuisine like shepherd’s pie and beer, including Guinness.

6. Kansas City, Missouri 

Kansas City has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since 1873, according to Trips to Discover. On average, 200,000 people will come to the city to watch the annual parade.

You can participate in one of the marathons the city has to offer as well as activities for the children.

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7. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is one of the cities in the U.S. that takes St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to the next level.

It hosts an annual parade equipped with bagpipers, Irish step dancers, marching bands, floats and more. IT also hosts the Irish Family Faire each year.

Phoenix has a parade and the Irish Family Faire each year.

Phoenix has a parade and the Irish Family Faire each year. (Angelo Merendino / Corbis via Getty Images)

8. Cleveland, Ohio

The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Cleveland was in 1842, according to WKYC. In 2019, Cleveland was ranked one of the top cities in the U.S. to celebrate Patty’s Day, according to a WalletHub survey.

The parade now draws in half a million people in the city for the festivities, according to Cleveland Traveler. The 2023 theme for the parade is “A Salute to Irish American Athletes.” 

Cleveland’s Irish American community is evident in the numerous Irish pubs from the east side to the west side. Some of the most popular include Mullarkey’s Irish Pub, Nora’s Public House, Flannery’s Pub and Parnell’s Irish Pub. Clevelanders and visitors can also sport kilts, wigs and lots of green and participate in the St. Patrick’s Day 5K on March 18.

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9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Pittsburgh started its annual parade back in 1859, according to USA Today, and still continue the tradition this year in downtown Pittsburgh.

The parade that is 1.4 miles long attracts around 200,000 to 350,000 spectators every year, according to Visit Pittsburgh.

Between 200,000 and 350,000 people line the streets of downtown Pittsburgh for the annual parade.

Between 200,000 and 350,000 people line the streets of downtown Pittsburgh for the annual parade. (Jeff Swensen / Getty Images)

10. Dublin, Ohio

Dublin, Ohio, may not celebrate quite like Dublin, Ireland, but it is one of the biggest St. Patrick Day party cities in the United States.

Dublin’s St. Patrick Day events start off with a morning pancake breakfast. 

Residents prepare for the day with a pre-parade Inflation Celebration where all the floats are pumped up followed by the parade itself.

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New Orleans isn't just about Mardi Gras, they also throw quite the party for St. Patrick's Day.

New Orleans isn’t just about Mardi Gras, they also throw quite the party for St. Patrick’s Day. (Matthew Hinton / AFP via Getty Images)

11. New Orleans, Louisiana 

New Orleans is known to Americans for its Mardi Gras celebrations, but the city brings out the party in everyone for St. Patrick’s Day as well.

If you’re spending St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans, expect lots of block parties and parades happening all around you. 

Beads and flowers are thrown out into the crowd during parades — and sometimes even cabbage.

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