When you think of a great St Patrick’s Day parade in the United States, you might automatically think of cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and New York City. However, the world’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade was actually held in St. Augustine, Florida about 420 years ago.
And, while you might know a thing or two about St. Patrick’s Day traditions around the world, you’ll be delighted to learn that the United States is home to some seriously festive, fun and wild parades. Each year on March 17th, locals take to the streets to celebrate their Irish heritage or, quite honestly, simply to party and paint the town green.
If you find yourself in the United States this year for the festive holiday, head to one of these seven cities. They’re all home to their own unique, special St. Patrick’s Day parade where you can taste a bit of the luck of the Irish. Or, just some cold Guinness.
Where To Enjoy A St Patrick’s Day Parade
As mentioned, as the city with the oldest St Patrick’s Day parade in the US, St. Augustine is a must if you’re interested in immersing yourself in Celtic music and heritage. This three-day festival celebrates Celtic music, cuisine, culture, and heritage. And, of course, it features the world’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year from March 13th to the 15th, enjoy everything from whiskey tasting to live music.
There’s no denying that the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the best in the country. Not only is it nearly six hours long, but it’s by far the most attended, drawing in millions of attendees year after year. Join other locals and visitors in the area as they enjoy the hundreds of thousands of bagpipe players and other live performers that walk down the streets of the Big Apple.
Whether you’re attending the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Michigan Avenue or you’re there simply to see the famous green river, Chicago is a fantastic place to celebrate the holiday. Every year for about five hours, the city’s rive turns completely green. The Rowans and the Butlers head out onto the river to shake in some orange powder and voila, you’ve got one of the most festive cities in the US.
Despite being one of the smaller cities on this list, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah is actually the second-largest in the entire country. We suggest getting there early on the day of the parade, which is actually on Tuesday, March 17th. The parade starts at 10:15 am, but if you head out on the town earlier you’ll see them turning the city’s fountains greens. Start at the Forsyth Park fountain first.
Nearly 25% of Boston’s population claims Irish heritage. So, it comes as no surprise that the city puts on a show for St. Patrick’s Day. The Sunday festivities kick off with a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast before the parade starts in the South End neighbourhood of the city. Check out all the performers, and bagpipe players before getting a bit crazier in the afternoon at one of the city’s infamous pub crawls.
Kansas City might not be everyone’s idea of Irish in America, but the city actually has deep Irish roots that date all the way back to the mid-1800s. Visit KC sells it well, describing it as a day where “leprechauns stroll alongside marching bands and elaborate floats.” In the afternoon, green beverages pour out of all of the bars, and they’ve got a fantastic list of all of the best places to visit.
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are home to the second and third-largest Irish communities in the United States with 16.2% and 14.2% of their populations identifying as Irish respectively. The St Patrick’s Day parade will be on March 15th this year instead of on the actual holiday itself. And, if you’re looking for real fun, definitely take the Erin Express. It’s a free pub crawl where you can explore the city’s best bars.