Most Americans love a celebration, and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception, the promise of green beer seeming to bring out the Irish in many.
This year, the Roman Catholic feast day which honors Ireland’s patron saint, falls on a Saturday, March 17, allowing an entire weekend for anyone who cares to, enjoy all things Irish.
There are over 34 million Irish-Americans living in the U.S., so if you can’t get over to the emerald isle, there will be plenty of places to celebrate. Here are just a few:
You can count on Boston to have numerous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, especially since Boston is considered by many to be the Irish capital of the United States. From sampling an authentic Irish corned-beef meal to taking in the sounds of Irish bagpipes, Boston has St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to suit everyone.
For a classic Irish corned beef dinner, make your reservations for Boston’s second annual Gaelic Gourmet Gala, which takes place on Friday, March 16, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Hotel Commonwealth. Here you can taste the creations of top chefs from Ireland and Boston, featuring authentic Irish food, beer, wine, and cocktails — all of this to the sounds of jazz. Tickets are $100 per person; for reservations, call 617-532-5063. Visit Hotel Commonwealth.com for more information.
The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is open year-round, but this St. Patrick’s Day, the Museum will open a new exhibit honoring and exploring the 35th President’s ties to his Irish ancestry. The exhibit, A Journey Home — John F. Kennedy and Ireland, will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit JFK Library, or call 617-514-1600 or 866-JFK-1960.
Also on March 17, enjoy the sounds of the Irish with Bagpipe Music at Doyle’s Cafe, located on 3484 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain. You can listen in on the Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums. For more details, call 617-524-2345.
The 106th St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 18. Join an estimated 600,000 people to watch the three-hour parade featuring marching bands, floats, and bagpipers. The parade commences at the Broadway “T” station and ends at Andrew Square. The best spot from which to view the parade, though, is anywhere on Broadway; just make sure to get there early. For more information on the parade, call 617-268-7955 or visit Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.com.
For more information on Boston Irish Tourism’s Association’s 3rd Annual weeklong Irish Food and Culture Celebration, visit Irish Massachusetts.com.
And for more ideas on how you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, along with parade schedules, visit Irish Massachusetts.com
New York has one of the largest populations of Irish-Americans in the United States, so there will be many festivities to choose from.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City will take place on March 17 and 18 at 5th and 44th Avenues. The parade is arguably one of the most popular of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations worldwide, as all things (and people) Irish take to the streets of New York for Irish festivities. What makes this parade unique is that no floats or other exhibits are allowed — only marchers. For more information, visit visit this site.
If parades aren’t your thing, consider taking the Irish New York Walking Tour. You’ll walk through the lower east side, Little Ireland, and visit various Irish-American historical landmarks. Meet at 1 p.m., Sunday the 18th in front of St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets. The tour passes the founding site of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the former Five Points, and sites associated with Tammany Hall and Thomas Addis Emmet, among others.
Reservations are not required, but the walk begins promptly. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for full-time students. For more information, call 212-439-1090, or visit NYC Walk.com.
Chicago is one of the cities with the longest-running St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and the Dyeing of the River are annual traditions, but there are actually several parades to choose from, and many ways to celebrate.
The 2007 Chicago Saint Patrick’s Day Parade takes place this year on Saturday, March 17. The parade begins at Balbo and Columbus, with the viewing located in front of Buckingham Fountain. Among those featured will be over 30 bands, 50 floats, and countless leprechauns and participants. It is suggested that you get to the parade by public transportation to avoid high parking fees. For more information, visit Chicago St. Pat’s Parade.com.
The 32nd Annual Forever Green Charity Event is Chicago’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day festivity. It takes place on the Navy Pier in the Grand Ballroom on Friday, March 16, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Some of those featured are the Larkin and Moran Brothers, and the Chancy Brothers, singing Irish tunes. Proceeds from the event benefit the Special Olympics Chicago and the Snow City Arts Foundation. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $30 or $40 at the door; admission includes your choice of beer and other drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). You can also purchase tickets for entrance to the VIP Lounge for $60 in advance or $70 at the door. These VIP tickets include all of the above, plus a silent auction and a private balcony section where you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style. Visit Young Irish.com for more information.
The Dyeing of the Chicago River takes place on St. Patrick’s Day at10:45 a.m. This spectacle has taken place every year for over forty years. The best place to view the dyeing of the river is from the upper level bridges at Michigan Avenue or Columbus Drive. For more information, please click here.
Mystic Blue Cruises offers a special St. Patrick’s Day Lunch and Dinner cruise, which docks at the Navy Pier in Chicago on Saturday, March 17. The fee of $38.90 per person for lunch and $69.90 per person for dinner includes a buffet meal, dancing, and views of the Chicago skyline. The lunch cruise boards at 11:30 a.m. For more information call 877-299-7783, or visit Mystic Blue Cruises
Finally, check out the St. Patrick’s Day Musical Program. Included is a luncheon, a program of Irish music, and tea. This will take place at noon on March 12, at The Nineteenth Century Club at 178 Forest Avenue in Oak Park. Lunch is $12 and the program is $5. For reservations, call 708-386-2729.
The Irish had much to do with the early development of California, and parades in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco this year will pay homage to their contributions.
The Los Angeles St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Friday, March 16, at 11:30 a.m. It will begin at Pershing Square and end at the El Pueblo Historic Site at Olvera Street. There will be Irish musical features on both ends of the parade, and dance performances and speeches in the Gazebo at the end of the parade. There is no fee to watch the parade, and you can park under Pershing Square. For more information, visit the LAFD.org site.
The largest Irish event in Los Angeles in March is the LA County Irish Fair and Music Festival. The Fair and Festival take place at the Fairplex in Pomona from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 10 and 11. Geared to all ages, it features carnival rides, historic re-enactors, different genres of Irish music ranging from rock to trad, and a petting zoo, among other things. The cost for adults is $16, and $12 for seniors and students with identification. A two-day pass costs $26, plus an additional fee for parking. For more information, call 310-537-4240, or visit LA Irish Fair.
For those who want to get into the nitty-gritty of Irish cuisine, there’s the St. Patrick’s Day Feast and Irish Cooking Class in Los Angeles. You can celebrate this homage to traditional Irish fare at the California School of Culinary Arts. At this half-day course, you can learn how to make corned beef and cabbage, colcannon, and Irish soda bread — even green beer! Those 18 and over can participate in the cooking class for $95. It takes place on March 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East Campus of the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. For more information, call 626-683-1354.
The South Bay St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in Hermosa Beach will take place be Saturday, March 17, at 11 a.m. The parade will feature Irish music and floats with the festival following until 5 p.m. The festival, featuring a kiddie carnival and petting zoo, takes place on March 17 and 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The cost is free, as is parking, if you park at Mira Costa High School at 1401 Artesia Boulevard in Manhattan Beach. There’s also a free shuttle available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade on the West coast, 155th Annual 2007 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, will take place in San Francisco on Saturday, March 17, at 11:30 a.m. More than a million Irish descendants from San Francisco and beyond will travel to the Bay for the parade. Among those featured will be dancers, musicians, and bands, including Stana Morrison, daughter of Van Morrison, Mike Kelleher, and Cullann’s Hounds. The parade begins at the Union Square, making its way down Stockton Street. For more information, visit the SF St. Patrick’s Day website or call 415-675-9885.
In San Diego, check out the 27th Annual San Diego Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival on Saturday, March 17, at 11 a.m. in Balboa Park. San Diego will be celebrating the history of Irish culinary arts. Some of the events at the festival include Beer Gardens, and entertainment will include the San Diego Firefighters Emerald C Society Pipes and Drums and the U.S. Air Force Academy Quintet. A tram service will run from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Please click here for more information.
When you think of all the places in the United States where you can partake in a bona-fide St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Texas might not be high on that list. Surprisingly, though, Texas has some rather large festivities, devoting the entire month of March to St. Patty. Well, they did say that everything is bigger in Texas…
A three-day Saint Patrick’s Day Weekend Celebration will take place in San Antonio. Head to the San Antonio River on March 16, at 4 p.m. to see the Guinness Dyeing O’ the River Green. The 2.5-mile river becomes green with the help of environmentally friendly dye. You’ll be joining 15,000 others along the River Walk as the San Antonio River becomes temporarily named “the River Shannon.”
Directly after the Dyeing of the River, meet with other St. Patrick’s Day celebrants at Howl at the Moon on 111 Crockett Street to begin the annual Pub Crawl. The Pub Crawl takes place on March 16 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Then get back to the River Walk at 1 p.m., on Sunday, March 18, for the St. Patrick’s Day River Parade. You’ll see the re-dyeing of the river among more homage celebrating St. Patty. For more information on the Dyeing of the River Green, the Pub Crawl, or the St. Patrick’s Day River Parade, contact Dominic Griego at 210-227-4262.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with 1500 others on Saturday, March 17, at the 27th Annual Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade’s festivities are eccentric, to say the least, featuring a mock awards ceremony and celebrity judges, in addition to cars and floats. The parade begins at 10 a.m. on Greenville Avenue between Mockingbird Lane and Ross Avenue, and ends on Yale Boulevard, where festivities continue until 6 p.m. After the parade is done, you can continue your celebrations at Jack’s Pub. For more information, visit The Dallas Observer or call Becky Parsons at 214-757-8514.
You can also visit some of Dallas’s local Irish pubs to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a cozy way, such as Trinity Hall on 5321 East Mockingbird Lane is the only full-service Irish pub in Dallas. From the food to the music, to the interior furnishings, most everything comes direct from Ireland. Weekends feature live Irish music in addition to an assortment of Irish whiskey and beer.
By Sharon Brooke Uy for PeterGreenberg.com