St. Patrick’s Day party destinations
Big or small, almost every city in America that holds a St. Patrick's Day parade boasts that its parade is the largest in the nation, if not the world.
Chalk it up to Irish inventiveness. Or, as they proudly say in Ireland, "We're excellent liars."
But it’s no lie that the Irish love to celebrate. So put on a funny green hat and a T-shirt that says “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” and join the crowd in these top 10 party spots for a parade down Main Street USA, a pub crawl, some Celtic dancing, or at the very least, a foamy mug of Guinness or a shot of Irish whiskey.
Remember, everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day.
In some cities people celebrate special occasions by painting the town red; in Chicago they paint it green, including the Chicago River, which turns a lovely shade of Irish green each year when the town celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. It's an over-the-top tradition that gives Chicago a definite edge in the Best-Places-to-Party-on-St.-Pat's-Day competition.
For the past half century, a hardy band of celebrants has colored the river with vegetable dye, turning it from its usual murky green to emerald green, making it a fitting background for lots of other holiday activities.
This year the ritual will take place at 10:45 a.m. on March 16 (the day before St. Pat’s Day), just before the noon start of the downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade.
In addition, Chicagoland residents will celebrate by engaging in rowdy pub crawls, family-friendly festivals, a Spirit of Chicago cruise, Celtic celebrations and a host of other colorful activities.
Listen up when the Big Apple says its parade is the world’s largest, because in this case, it actually is. The March 16 parade will draw more than 200,000 participants and 2 million onlookers. The big event will march up Fifth Avenue, starting at 44th Street, at 11 a.m.
And that’s not all. There’s plenty of celebrating going on in the boroughs, with all five planning their own celebrations.
Borough parades are spread out through the month of March, so diehards have an excuse to honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, every weekend. Among the parades:
• Rockaway, March 2
• Sunnyside/Woodside, Queens, March 3
• Staten Island, March 17
• Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, March 24
Beantown considers its holiday celebration the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because its South Boston parade is viewed by an estimated 600,000 to 1 million people, in addition to being aired live on TV.
Boston has an inside track when it comes to all things Irish: Almost a quarter of its residents are of Irish descent. And they really know how to party.
They also know how to throw a parade. They’ve been doing it longer than anyone else in the nation, since 1737, when the Irish Society of Boston held the first parade honoring St. Patrick. They beat Dublin, Ireland, by nearly 200 years.
This year’s parade will be on March. 17 at 1 p.m.
If you haven't heard the word "begorrah" pronounced with a southern drawl, hop on down to Savannah to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The city doesn't have a green river like Chicago, but it manages to make sure that its park fountains and beer taps flow green.
Savannah's claim to fame is that it has "the second-largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the world." At least they don't try to pretend it’s the largest. Last year's parade drew about 250,000 people to the Savannah Historic District for the parade and River Street fracas that followed.