St. Patrick's Day is nearly upon us, and you know what that means. Lots of green, many shamrocks, a whole lot of very busy Irish pubs in your city, and a parade — there's always a parade. And some of the best St. Patrick's Day parades will surprise you. Of course, there's one in Dublin that seems to be the place to be, but some of the other cities of the world that hold epic St. Patrick's Day parades might not seem so obvious. So put together your best St. Patrick's Day costume, and prepare to show your excitement properly.
St. Patrick's Day commemorates the death of Saint Patrick, the foremost Saint of Ireland, and of course, celebrates Irish culture. If you would prefer to watch a parade and soak in some of that lively and vibrant Irish culture instead of, say, downing a green pint of beer, there is likely a festival or parade happening in your city, especially in the U.S. where there are a lot of people of Irish descent. Meanwhile, if you are looking to travel, or happen to already be close to one of these locations, here are the best St. Patrick's Day parades you can attend.
1. Dublin, Ireland
If you really want to do a St. Patrick's Day parade right, you want to be at the heart of it in Dublin, Ireland. Dublin comes alive from March 17 through March 20 with various events and celebrations, and the parade itself is organized by eight of Dublin's pageant companies, and features over 14 musical ensembles from all over the world. The parade takes six months of prep, and while I've never seen it firsthand, from photos on the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade website, it looks absolutely phenomenal.
2. Boston, Massachusetts
The population of Boston is estimated at 33 percent of Irish descent. So it follows that Boston goes off at St. Patrick's Day. The Boston St. Patrick's Day parade is the second largest listed in the country, with 600,000 to one million physical attendants and more watching it streamed on live TV. The parade starts in South Boston, and you can expect performances by the Dropkick Murphys in the lead up as well as green beer and many JFK tributes. It's also the oldest parade in America, the first being held in 1737.
3. London, U.K.
The London St. Patrick's Day parade is always held on the closest Sunday to the 17th, so this year will be on the 13th of March, starting at Piccadilly and following a one and a half mile route through the city. In Trafalgar Square there will also be an Irish festival with artisanal Irish food, music, dancing, and other events. If you've ever wanted to see inner-city London rammed with people dressed in green, this is the perfect opportunity. If you're lucky you might even spot Kate, Will, and Prince George honoring army veterans at the parade (which is more than worth braving the crowds for).
4. New York, New York
If there's something to do with an occasion and a party and dress ups and something cultural, expect New York to be doing it large. The New York St. Patrick's Day parade, like all New York parades, is legendary. It's the largest St. Paddy's Day parade in the U.S., with over two million people attending. The parade runs up Fifth Avenue, and I just learned from the official website no pets are allowed, so be prepared for a human-only event.
5. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is famous for dying the river green for St. Pat's, and apparently the Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade does not disappoint either. The "theme" for this year's parade is "Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising," and the parade includes events like an appearance from Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Queen, Erin Mulcahy, and an annual corned beef and cabbage dinner.
6. Savannah, Georgia
If you measure the number of attendees (750,000) as relative to the population of the city (136,286), Savannah has the largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the U.S. The Savannah, Georgia, St. Patrick's Day parade is truly epic, and seems to close down about half the city according to the parade's website. Bet you never thought of Savannah as a hot spot for St. Pat's, right?
7. Tokyo, Japan
Speaking of places you might not immediately associate with St. Patrick's Day, Tokyo actually loves to celebrate the day in excess. Tokyo's St. Patrick's Day parade only began in 1992, but it now attracts over 50,000 attendees, and apparently only grows each year.
8. Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City became home to many Irish in the 19th century, and now Kanas City's St. Patrick's Day parade attracts over 200,000 spectators, which is nearly half the city's population. This year there's a food drive to help the hungry in KC (if you want to do something good while also celebrating), and a golf tournament too (if you want to do something really, really boring while also celebrating).
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