- New York
If you notice cities and towns across the United States turning green on March 17, don't be surprised.
Each year on that day, those of Irish heritage — and seemingly everyone else — celebrate Irish culture by donning green attire, attending parades and festivals, eating bagels and milkshakes in emerald hues, and drinking lots of beer (some of it even green).
You know a city takes its Irish heritage seriously when it dyes a river green. Chicago has that kind of passion and commitment.
The festivities always take place on a Saturday. Once the Chicago River is green, celebrations continue with a parade, complete with bagpipers, Irish dancers and Clydesdale horses, then typically evolves into massive, rollicking street parties in the areas surrounding Grant Park and Division Street.
Can’t miss Irish pub: Galway Arms serves traditional Irish food and drinks and hosts live Irish music performances.
Every St. Patrick’s Day, hordes of people line the Chicago River to watch it dyed emerald green.
San Francisco, California
Each year, more than 100,000 people attend the San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Festival and Parade. It takes place the weekend before the holiday, and the two-hour parade features floats, Irish dance companies, bagpipers and other musicians. You may also see old-fashioned fire trucks transformed into the Blarney Fire Department.
The festival features more live music and Irish grub, as well as the requisite ample supply of beer. If you have energy left, join the St. Patrick's Day PubCrawl, featuring drink specials at bars in the Marina and along Union Street.
Can’t miss Irish pub: The Irish Bank. Tucked into a narrow lane downtown, it hosts an annual St. Patrick's Day block party.
Since 1824, the Southern coastal city of Savannah has paid homage to St. Patrick with weeks of festivities culminating in a parade on March 17. Hundreds of thousands of people converge in the town's grassy squares, setting up tables and chairs, as the city's Forsyth Park fountain flows green.
After the parade, the party continues into the wee hours of the morning at Savannah's many Irish pubs.
Can’t miss Irish pub: Kevin Barry's. Go for the live Irish music and Guinness-braised brisket.
Weeks of celebrations in this Georgia city culminate in a street party on St. Patrick’s Day.
New York City, New York
Since 1762, New York City has put its greenest face forward for St. Patrick's Day. The city’s annual holiday parade is the world’s biggest, with 150,000 people participating and about 2 million more bystanders lining the route along Fifth Avenue.
Volunteers run the parade, which features bagpipers, Irish step dancers, police officers and firefighters, school bands and others. After the parade finishes, head to one of New York City's many Irish pubs.
Can’t miss Irish pub: McSorley's Old Ale House. It’s the oldest Irish pub in the city and famously home to two types of beer: light and dark house ale.
Boston's St. Patrick's Day celebration is legendary. The city's Irish heritage and pride run deep; nearly a quarter of all Boston residents claim Irish ancestry.
Holiday celebrations often begin weeks before the official holiday and include Irish band concerts, an Irish film festival and celebrations at Irish bars and local breweries, like the Harpoon St. Patrick's Festival. The St. Patrick’s Day parade takes place in South Boston, typically on a weekend because of the huge crowds. Up to 1 million people line the route to watch floats, marching bands and bagpipe bands from both Ireland and the United States. You might even run into Irish Elvis Presley impersonators.
Can’t miss Irish pub: Black Rose. Irish flags adorn the walls, and you're likely to stumble onto a rowdy sing-a-long with live music.