We’re All a Little Bit Irish
The United States may be known as the world’s melting pot, but on March 17 everyone everywhere claims a little Irish blood as their own.
To honor the tradition, there are more than 100 official St. Patrick’s Day parades held across the country. Here are 10 of the biggest and most recognized in the country.
Photo Credit: Sebastian Dooris
New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade is not held anywhere near Ireland, but in the Big Apple, where a ton of Irish people emigrated in the city’s earlier days. The parade is also one of the longest continuous running parades in the U.S., beginning in 1762, even before the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Throughout its history, the parade has been held in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York.
The Parade starts at 44th Street at 11 a.m. on March 17 and marches up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick's Cathedral at 50th Street, all the way up past the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Irish Historical Society at 83rd Street to finish at 86th Street late in the afternoon. The parade sees approximately 2 million attendees.
Photo Credit: Zack Weinberg
Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
No one in Chi-Town can escape the festive mood of St. Patrick’s Day, not with the Chicago River dyed green for the festivities! All events are planned for March 17, and the dyeing of the river, which begins at 10:45 a.m., can best be viewed from the east side of the Michigan Avenue bridge, the west side of the Columbus Drive bridge or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.
The parade begins at noon and starts at Balbo and Columbus and moves north on Columbus. Officials recommend getting downtown early and using public transportation when possible.
Photo Credit: chicagostpatsparade.com
South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Boston waits until all of the other parades and events happen to hold its own massive St. Patrick’s Day celebration at 1 p.m. on March 18. The parade is the oldest in the country, established in 1737, and Massachusetts has one of the largest Irish populations in the U.S. Anyone who has ever attended this parade knows it’s done with a passion.
The parade begins at the Broadway 'T' Station and ends at Andrew Square in South Boston. Your best bet for viewing the parade is to stake out a spot anywhere along Broadway.
Photo Credit: Bostoncentral.com
Kansas City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Believe it or not, this Midwestern city is home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country, drawing more than 500,000 revelers each year. You may not know that in 1973, the parade, which featured a cow painted green, was dubbed the “shortest and worst parade in history.”
Kansas City residents take their green very seriously these days and if you’re anywhere nearby, the parade is the place to be. The festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. on March 17 at 33rd & Linwood at Broadway, then heads south on Broadway and ends at 43rd Street in Westport, where many partygoers hit the numerous bars. The city isn’t known for its great public transportation, so when you drive to the parade route, officials advise you to stay near where you parked or it could be Easter before you find your way out.
Photo Credit: kcirishparade.com
Philadelphia’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Another oldie but goodie that dates back to 1771 is Philly’s St. Paddy celebration, one of the first cities in the country to begin the tradition. Held on March 11 at noon, the parade begins at 16th & JFK Blvd. and draws 500,000 attendees every year, so make sure to find your spot early and don't forget to spring forward that weekend.
Photo Credit: Jeff Meade
Scranton’s St. Patrick’s Parade
If you’re anywhere near Pennsylvania, start your St. Patrick’s Day festivities the weekend prior to the actual holiday, on March 10 in Scranton and then in Philly the next day (see previous slide). The day kicks off in Scranton with a Catholic mass beginning at 10 a.m. at St. Peter’s Cathedral. Afterward, the noon parade begins at 11:45 a.m. Based on participants per local population, this is the second-largest parade in the country.
Photo Credit: stpatparade.com
Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The largest parade in the country based on participants per local population is in this quaint Georgia city. The celebration was established in 1813 and now draws approximately 300,000 people from around the world. Get there early, as the parade begins at 10:45 a.m. on March 17. The parade starts at the corner of Gwinnett and Abercorn, and makes its way north on Abercorn to Broughton, where it turns east to East Broad Street. The parade turns north on E. Broad and then heads west on Bay, past City Hall, where it takes a left on Bull Street, ending at Harris Street.
Photo Credit: savannahsaintpatricksday.com
New Orleans St. Patrick’s Day Parade
New Orleans may be home to Mardi Gras, but that just means they know how to throw a great party for St. Patrick’s Day as well – and you don’t have to watch out for those flying beads. Like Mardi Gras, there are actually several parades beginning on March 11, with the real downtown parade held on March 17. That one begins on the corner of Burgundy and Piety in the Bywater, proceeds roughly up Royal, across Esplanade to Decatur, up Bienville to Bourbon. The final green parade is on March 18.
Photo Credit: stpatricksdayneworleans.com
Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade
One of New England’s premier Irish events is held right in New Haven, as it has been since 1842. It is the largest single-day spectator event in the state. The city hosted more than 250,000 spectators last year and they’re expecting the event to grow this year, so get there early on March 11. The parade begins at 1:30 p.m. at Chapel Street and advances to Church Street to Grove Street and ends on Orange Street.
Photo Credit: stpatricksdayparade.org
Mal’s Jackson, Miss. St. Patrick’s Day Parade
You don’t have to be in the heart of the Irish diaspora in New England to get your fill of green floats and revelry on St. Patrick’s Day. Jackson, Miss. knows how to serve up the luck of the Irish by drawing approximately 65,000 spectators to its downtown celebration of all things Irish. The event is also a big fundraiser for a local children’s hospital, so you can party and feel good about it afterward. It is a rambling, outrageous, hilarious ride down Capitol Street, starting and ending at Jackson's favorite gathering place, Hal & Mal's.
Photo Credit: malsstpaddysparade.com
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