Go green and check out some of the best places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Held on March 17, on the traditional death date of Ireland´s patron St. Patrick, St. Patrick´s Day is one of the most celebrated festivals in the world. Commemorating Saint Patrick, the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and the heritage and culture of the Irish in general, St. Patrick´s Day quickly spread out far beyond Ireland´s borders and it has become a popular holiday in many other countries (especially in those with large communities of Irish expats). Consequently, huge “all things green” celebrations, parties, concerts and other events are now held in a number of cities and towns all over the world.
With this year´s St. Patrick´s Day closing in on us fast, we did a bit of research and compiled a list featuring 25 Best Places To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. If you like the habits and traditions associated with this holiday, keep on reading to find out more about the best places for you to celebrate this popular festival. From large American and Canadian cities, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, London to the Caribbean and – of course – Dublin, the Ireland´s capital, these are 25 Best Places To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Let’s start with a city that has one of the highest percentages of Irish ancestry in the US. In Boston, almost 16% of people have Irish origin and in some towns in Greater Boston (for example in Weymouth), almost every other person has Irish ancestors. With that said, it comes as no surprise that Boston hosts some of the largest and most spectacular St. Patrick´s Day celebrations and parades in the US.
In Germany, the St. Patrik´s tradition might not be as well established as in some other non-Irish countries but there are some German cities where people are welcome to celebrate this festive day. In Berlin, for example, many pubs and bars serve Irish beer and offer traditional Irish music on that day. There are also beer-garden concerts and parades organized in Berlin on that occasion.
Cabo Roig, Spain
Located on southern coast of Costa Blanca in eastern Spain, Cabo Roig is a vacation hotspot particularly popular among Irish tourists. The resort even hosts Spain’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade with passing marching bands, motorbikes, and Irish dignitaries. This Guinness-fueled fiesta later continues with karaoke, contests, fireworks, flamenco dancers, and more.
Situated in the region of Veneto in northern Italy, Padua hosts “Irlanda In Festa”, a five-day festival dedicated to the celebration of the St. Patrick´s Day. Although Padua does not have as abundant Irish community as some other cities on the list, the festival held in this city is actually one of the largest St. Patrick´s Day celebrations in continental Europe.
The Phoenix St. Patrick’s Day Parade began in 1984. Its purpose is to preserve and enhance the heritage and traditions of the Irish Culture as well as share that culture with the citizens of Arizona. The festival includes marching bands, Irish step dancers, bagpipers, police and fire vehicles, government dignitaries, floats, concerts, petting zoo and more.
Malta, a little archipelago located in the Mediterranean Sea, is a popular holiday destination with tourists from Ireland and UK traveling to this tiny country all year round. In Valletta, the country´s capital, the Irish-Maltese Circle organizes the St. Patrick´s Festival each year. Starting at the Republic Street in downtown Valletta, the festival features Irish dancers, live music, traditional Irish crafts etc.
Prague, Czech Republic
With several renowned Irish pubs scattered around the center of Prague, the Czech capital is another great place to celebrate this St. Patrick´s Day. Held since 1997, the St. Patrick´s Day Festival takes place around the Caffrey’s Irish Bar and the James Joyce Prague’s Cosy Irish Pub where Irish specialties and even green beer are served and dancing performances and live Irish music can be enjoyed.
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand also has a significant Irish community which makes this country a good option when it comes to celebrating St. Paddy´s Day. In Auckland, the largest city of the country, the St. Patrick’s Festival is organized by the St. Patrick’s Festival Trust, a non-profit organization set up specifically to run the festival that ranks among the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
One of the most glorious St. Patrick´s Day celebrations in the US, the festival held annually in Chicago has been known to attract as many as 350,000 spectators. Since 1960s, as a part of the celebrations, the city has been dying the Chicago River emerald green. The festival is a multi-day event with most action happening on Division Street.
Neither rain nor snow have ever canceled the Montreal St. Patrick’s Parade. Run consecutively since as early as 1824, the three-hour cavalcade of floats, bands, and costumed characters is traditionally held on the Sunday closest to March 17. Post-parade, the party continues at McKibbin’s, Hurley’s, the Sir Winston Churchill Complex, and other downtown pubs.
In Pittsburg, people with Irish origin make up almost 11% of the city´s population. In fact, the Steel City boasts one of the oldest St. Patrick´s Day celebrations in the US. The first St. Paddy´s parade in Pittsburg dates back to 1869 and it has been held every year since then. In 1993, the city experienced the worst snow storm in over 100 years but the parade marched on even on that day.
Can’t travel to these fascinating places this year? Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these 25 Little Known Facts About St. Patrick’s Day.
Luquillo, Puerto Rico
As surprising as it might be for some, the Irish element of Puerto Rico is very much alive. Irish immigrants played an instrumental role in this Caribbean country´s economy, politics and education. Consequently, the St. Patrick´s Day is a very popular holiday here as it is celebrated in many Puerto Rican cities. For the last several years, the sea-front town of Luquillo has hosted the largest, all-day-long Saint Patrick’s Day festival on the island.
Paris might lag behind some US cities when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but March 17th is still an important date on the Parisian calendar. Expats and locals alike flock to the city’s numerous Irish pubs to raise a toast to the man responsible for green Guinness and some of the world’s liveliest street parades. Thanks to the city’s ever-increasing Irish community, St. Patrick’s Day in Paris is a fun and enjoyable event.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Although Ireland has not historically had a large presence in Brazil, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Rio de Janeiro and its popularity, along with the Irish presence, is growing. In addition to lighting the famous Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue green, observances of the holiday in Rio include events, concerts and parades at numerous places, pubs, bars and clubs throughout the city.
It is estimated that about 80% of Newfoundlanders have Irish ancestry on at least one side of their family tree. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this Canadian island, once dubbed as “the most Irish place in the world outside Ireland” by Irish author Tim Pat Coogan, turns green on the St. Patrick´s Day and numerous celebrations, parades and festive events are held throughout its cities.
As the traditional St. Patrick´s Day Celebration in Sydney is cancelled this year due to lack of funds, the Melbourne St. Patrick´s Day Parade might be the largest St. Patrick´s event in Australia. Scheduled to proceed down Bay Street, Port Melbourne, the parade will feature a wide variety of marching bands, pipe bands, dance collectives, floats, walking groups and a host of community groups.
The Glasgow St. Patrick’s Festival esteems to promote and celebrate the rich Irish cultural heritage of Glasgow and Scotland. Open to all the citizens of Scotland and foreign visitors alike, the Glasgow St. Patrick’s Festival features a variety of events and attractions including live concerts, dancing performances, Irish films, lessons of Irish language, Irish quiz nights and much more.
On the Sunday closest to the St. Patrick’s Day, the United Kingdom’s largest St. Patrick’s parade hums and high-steps through Digbeth, Birmingham’s postindustrial Irish Quarter. Packed pubs line the route and the dress code trends emerald green, but the passing floats, dancers, and drum corps increasingly reflect the city’s cultural diversity.
The Irish spirit can be felt literally all over the world, including some Asian metropolises such as Tokyo. In 2015, the St. Patrick´s Day Celebrations held in this city were attended by 30,000 people and the organizers think they can achieve even larger numbers this year. The celebrations take place in the city´s shopping district that is draped in tricolor flags for the day and a cast of floats, Irish dancers, marching bands and leprechauns entertain the crowds.
San Francisco, California
Similarly to Tokyo, San Francisco also lies thousands of miles away from Ireland but the Irish community in this city is large. In fact, the San Francisco St. Peddy´s Day celebration is actually the largest on the West Coast. Attracting about 100,000 revelers every year, the festival starts at the corner of Market and Second Streets where over 100 colorful floats, Irish dance troupes and marching bands will wind their way to Civic Center Plaza.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast marks the St. Patrick’s Day with a fun carnival parade and concerts. The city centre is awash with color and splendor as the parade leaves Belfast City Hall at noon, making its way to Custom House Square. Community groups from across the cultural spectrum take part along with professional and amateur performers, musicians and dancers.
New York City, New York
The most populous American city, New York hosts the largest St. Patrick´s Day Parade in the US with over 2 million spectators. The parade marches along Fifth Avenue and passes by venerable New York City attractions, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Central Park. But there are plenty of other ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in NYC including concerts, live Irish music, dancing performances, craft workshops etc.
Being the capital of Ireland, St. Patrick´s homeland, it comes as no surprise that Dublin is the best place to celebrate this patron´s day. On that day, the entire city is transformed into one huge party zone with a four-day festival that will ignite everybody´s sense of Irish pride – even if they are not Irish. Starting at noon on the Parnell Square, the Dublin St. Patrick´s Day Parade features giant puppets, fantastic street entertainers, marching bands and much more.