Posted March 8, 2023

Best U.S. Cities to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day


You don’t have to be Irish to appreciate a solid St. Patrick’s Day shindig. Sure, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 31 million people in the U.S. claim Irish ancestry. And while that’s a massive group, even millions more celebrate Paddy’s Day on (or around) March 17th nationwide. Bottom line? This cheery holiday is an all-inclusive blast, no matter where you’re from. 

Which city will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in? (Photo Credit: Aveedibya Dey)

If you’re a beer lover, stew connoisseur, or can’t help tapping along to a good ‘ol Irish jig, here are the best U.S. destinations to maximize your Paddy’s getaway, Irish style. From parades to concerts to pub crawls, these three cities host extra-special events to make St. Patrick’s Day simply unforgettable. 

Witness the River Run Green — Chicago, Illinois

You know a city takes its Irish roots seriously when it dyes the river green. In 1962, festive-feeling plumbers, who used bright green dye to identify leaks in pipes, dumped over 100 pounds of it into the Chicago River turning the water vivid emerald for a week.  

The river flows green in Chicago on St. Paddy’s Day. (Photo Credit: Stephen Leonardi)

Rest easy at the Hotel Monaco Chicago before and after the festivities. (Photo Credit: @reibvn)

Since then, Chicago has continued this Paddy’s Day tradition to mark the start of its weeklong celebration. Today, the plumbers’ union runs dyeing operations from boats trolling the waterway, and its environmentally-friendly dye formula keeps the river green for about five hours. Watch dye masters work starting at 10 a.m. on March 11th, from the Chicago Riverwalk or along the bridges between State Street and Columbus Drive.  

Afterward, don’t miss the 68th Annual Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade which kicks off at 12:30 p.m. and ends with rowdy revelry at many of the Irish pubs and taverns in the area.  

Where to stay: Hotel Monaco Chicago & The Gray

Get Your Bagpipe and Punk Rock Fix — Boston, Massachusetts

Boston throws a Paddy’s Day party unlike any other city, thanks to a full 20% of residents who claim Irish ancestry.  

With 20% of Bostonians claiming Irish ancestry — it’s the closest you can get to Ireland without leaving the States. (Photo Credit: Barbora Dostalova)

Head to South Boston (a.k.a. Southie) and join over a million people for its peppy St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which kicks off at 1 p.m. on March 19th, and includes a slew of floats, bands, bagpipe performers, acrobatic entertainers, and more. Arrive early so you can beat the crowds for best viewing, and while you’re there, cheer on runners in the famous St. Patrick’s Day 5K Road Race starting at 11 a.m. West 6th Street provides front-row access to watch 1,750 racers zip by in bright green costumes — a tradition since 1940. 

After the parade ends, polish off your night at the House of Blues with a Dropkick Murphys concert: an epic, upbeat American take on Irish punk-rock music that’ll have you thumping your feet to the beat in no time. Tickets sell out early, so book in advance. 

Where to stay: Kimpton Marlowe Hotel

Revel in Irish-Inspired Pub Culture — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If a pub crawl is on your bucket list, St. Patrick’s Day in Philly is the place to do it. While there are several crawling options in the weeks surrounding Paddy’s Day, the Philadelphia Official St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl is the largest, featuring the city’s best venues, DJs, bands, and more.  

Join the pub crawl in Philly on St. Patrick’s Day. (Photo Credit: Nikola Jovanovic)

And cheers! (While also staying hydrated!) (Photo Credit: Yasin Aribuga)

On March 17th, from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m., you can join the crew for food and drink specials, free entry to four or more locations, and even win prizes for a costume contest. Wristbands sell for $15.99 and the crawl starts at Howl at the Moon, a lively joint with dueling pianos. (Bonus tips: bring a buddy, hydrate, and pre-schedule a ride pickup to return to your hotel safe and sound.) 

If bar crawling isn’t your thing, hunker down at The Plough & the Stars—a cozy slice of Ireland right in the heart of Philly’s Old City District. It features thoughtfully prepared pub grub, properly poured Guinness, and live music with a low-key ambiance.  

Where to stay: Hotel Palomar Philadelphia & Hotel Monaco Philadelphia


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