As temperatures start to thaw across the nation, we’re all itching for warm-weather celebrations. Though backyard BBQ’s and 4th of July festivities might still be a little too far down the road, St. Patrick’s Day comes at just the right time to tide over anyone who’s feeling a little stir-crazy after a long winter (a.k.a., all of us). We’ve rounded up some of the best spots to celebrate your Irish heritage, no matter how slight, whether you want to do so with green beers or a historical parade (or both).
What’s better than celebrating the luck o’ the Irish in the Old South? Enjoy the city’s warmth during the three-hour annual parade and rolling street party dating to 1813, then keep the good times going through Saturday with live music, a food court plaza, and more during the River Street St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.
New Orleans, Louisiana
If you missed Mardi Gras this year, the Big Easy has another legendary party in store for St. Paddy’s. You’ll find multiple parades and block parties taking place leading up to and after the day itself, plus partiers handing out the city’s famous beads (no topless shows required).
New York City, New York
The country’s most populous city is, perhaps unsurprisingly, also home to the country’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade and party, attracting over two million yearly. Besides the parade itself (which dates to 1762), the city turns into a giant street party starting March 17 with festivities continuing through the weekend.
For one of the country’s most traditional celebrations, the city with the highest concentration of Irish heritage does it right. From rowdy celebrations throughout Southie to a more sedate sample of Irish culture at the Lawrence Firefighters Saint Patrick’s Day Banquet and Dance, you’ll find a practically endless supply of leprechaun-like cheer throughout the city.
The biggest St. Paddy’s parade in the Southwest, Dallas attracts over 125,000 spectators to its two-mile parade each year. Besides the parade, the Dallas Observer puts on an epic party at Energy Square, with Third Eye Blind headlining this year. You might not have thought of Texas as a go-to for Irish celebrations, but we think you’ll find that a Texan drawl mixes surprisingly well with an Irish brogue.
San Diego, California
Head farther west and you’ll find an oasis of green as the 22nd annual shamROCK festival imports 80,000 square feet of green astro-turf for a festival that takes over the downtown Gaslamp district. Three stages of entertainment (Pub, Pint, and Clover) will have all types of music from Celtic to local DJs, plus tents specializing in Jameson concoctions and the requisite green Bud Lights.