What could be better than St. Patrick’s Day? No stressful gift giving. No massive preparation. Just a big party: green beer, orange beards. Lots of beads—and friends.
If you really want to take this year’s St. Patty’s Day celebration to the next level, get to one of these cities over the March 17 weekend.
Since Nectar is based in Charleston, we have to give first props to nearby Savannah, Georgia, which arguably stages the biggest St. Patty’s bash in the South, not to mention the world. Get ready for famous fountains spewing green waters, a 3-hour parade, all-night bar crawls, hypnotic Irish dancers and the 5K Shamrock Run. It’s all you picture the holiday to be—with a little Southern charm to take it over the top.
Isn’t Boston one of the first places that come to mind when you think of green beer? This East Coast enclave, with a huge Irish population, started its massive St. Patrick’s Day parade over 100 years ago, but history tells us Irish immigrants in Boston have been partying for the March holiday since the 1730s. Suffice it to say, St. Patty’s is serious stuff here. You’ll get a little bit of everything—from a 3-mile-long parade to the iconic Irish bar experience to live entertainment throughout the weekend.
St. Louis, Missouri
Any city that starts with St. is probably a good place to be on Saint Patrick’s Day, and this Missouri town won’t let you down. This festival is marked by Americana favorites—intricate floats, Irish bagpipes, marching bands and a family fun run, with food and brews flowing freely. For something different, check out St. Louis’s electric Irish events like the Celtic Cross ceremony and traditional cultural dinner at the local Hilton.
Well, if dying the entire river through town emerald green isn’t the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day statement, we don’t know what is. The Windy City’s diehard Irish community has keep the tradition alive and well in the Midwest, with St. Patty’s Day here representing the most parties and festivals per capita. Watch the river go green in the morning, then stay for the parade rolling from Balbo to Monroe right downtown. Rock to the ancient and modern—professional bands and bagpipers—and, of course, tuck in to any pub in town for a party that will last you until next year.
The state of Pennsylvania certainly wins the award for its sheer number of top St. Patty’s Day celebrations. From big to little towns, communities in this heavily Irish state have continued a cool cultural tradition. Philly does it up right with a huge parade with roots way back to 1771, the second oldest celebration in the country. Serious costumes are part of the ceremony, and the party spills into Philly’s top bars. But don’t overlook St. Patty’s festivities in Scranton and Pittsburg, too.
New York City, New York
Since we brought up New York, we can’t ignore the Big Apple for putting together the oldest and one of the largest leprechaun-loving spectacles in America. But seriously, isn’t every holiday a party in NYC? We assure you the Guinness is on tap at famous McSorley’s, along with just about every Irish pub in every borough. The showcase parade—with Fifth Avenue and St. Patrick’s Cathedral standouts along the route—features over 300,000 marchers, and millions just watching.
More towns for getting down on St. Patty’s Day:
Dublin, Ireland: Well, duh. The most iconic city on the planet for St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t disappoint. But expect a much more traditional atmosphere, filled with Irish food, booze, music and dancing.
Denver, Colorado: One of the biggest bashes west of the Mississippi, with a beloved parade circling the Mile High City’s lower downtown, live music, and all-day festivities for friends and families alike.
London, England: So many Irish pubs, so little time. Irish expats come out in droves to support the annual St. Patty’s Day parade and festival in the historic heart of the city: Trafalgar Square.
Buffalo, New York: Two parades, green Niagara Falls, shamrock run, corned beef and hash. Need we say more?