With St. Patrick's Day fast approaching, we're all getting geared up to drink green beer and celebrate our Irish (or, honestly, our non-Irish) heritage. And, if you are really looking to go all out with your celebrations this year, you might be wondering what some of the best St. Patrick's Day cities are.
Of course, people celebrate St. Patrick's Day all over the place, regardless of whether or not their cities are known for their festive and Irish-themed events. But, we all know that there are definitely some cities that do the holiday bigger and better than any others. We're talking giant parades, city-wide celebrations, and bright green rivers. You know, everything you need in order to enjoy a fittingly wild St. Patrick's Day. Sure, your local bar crawls might be fun — but, without a doubt, these cities are the places you want to be in order to take your St. Paddy's celebration up a notch.
Feeling ready to book your ticket and plan your trip yet? First, you need to know where you're headed. Luckily, I've scoured the Internet in order to pull together the 10 best cities for celebrating St. Patrick's Day — in no particular order. From concerts and parades to carnival rides and pageants, these cities turn every other place green with envy. See what I did there?
1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
As a Wisconsinite myself, I had to be sure to include a Wisconsin city on the list. The giant parade that rolls through downtown attracts more than 100,000 attendees to admire the floats, bagpipers, and marching bands. It's been a treasured tradition for over 45 years!
2. San Diego, California
Join over 20,000 partygoers for the 22nd annual ShamROCK, which features tons of different stages with Irish bands and local DJs. Even better, this year will feature a 150-foot Irish Pub in the streets. Throw in some Irish dancers, green beer, and some whiskey, and it's obvious that San Diego has everything you need in order to celebrate St. Paddy's Day right.
3. Chicago, Illinois
We all know that they dye the Chicago River green every year in order to celebrate the holiday. But, this city does a lot more than just dump some color into the water. There's also a giant parade and a classic corned beef and cabbage dinner to help you celebrate the holiday exactly the way it was meant to be honored.
4. Cleveland, Ohio
As an event that began in 1867, the Cleveland St. Patrick's Day Parade has only continued to gain in popularity. It now attracts more than 500,000 visitors and over 13,000 participants in the parade. The biggest honor of the celebration? Being named the parade's Grand Marshall, who presides over the entire event. The Grand Marshall title is usually awarded to an older man who has helped to promote and advance Cleveland's Irish activities.
5. New York City, New York
New York boasts one of the oldest and largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the world, so you know it has to be good. What was first introduced by the Irish soldiers in the British Army in 1762 has grown into an event with over 300,000 marchers and and three million spectators. See? I told you it was huge.
6. Washington, D.C.
D.C. hosts the giant Shamrock Fest, which features tons of different Celtic rock bands on six stages, plenty of beer, carnival rides, and party games. The city is also home to the Nation's St. Patrick's Day Parade, a two and a half hour event dedicated to honoring all things Irish. Basically, you can't find a better setting to celebrate the holiday than in our nation's capitol.
7. Savannah, Georgia
Forget dying the Chicago River green. In Savannah, they use environmentally-friendly dye to turn the city's water fountains green. The celebrations in this city extend far past just a single day. There are tons of different religious and cultural celebrations celebrating Savannah's cultural heritage spanning an entire two weeks, including the actual greening of the fountain in Forsyth Park and the huge Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade.
8. Roanoke, Virginia
On the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, downtown Roanoke hosts the McDonald's St. Patrick's Day Parade and Shamrock Festival. With over 25,000 attendees, the event just gets bigger year after year. And, as you might've guessed, it's filled with plenty of festivities — including live music and a Celtic celebration.
9. Dallas, Texas
If a giant block party is more your style, then Dallas is your spot. The annual Greenville Avenue Parade is really just the kickoff for a raging party. Even the parade itself claims to be the largest in the Southwest — with over 125,000 attendees and 1,700 parade participants.
10. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is known for its long-standing Irish heritage. So, you can only assume they're going to go big or go home when it comes to St. Paddy's Day. One day simply isn't enough for most Bostonians, so many of them begin celebrating a week before the holiday. Over 850,000 usually show up to join in on the festivities, which includes (of course) a parade, and tons of different participating pubs and restaurants lining the parade route.