Best Cities to Visit on St. Patrick’s Day

by Country Inns & Suites
Friday, February 8, 2013

Ready to wear every green item you own and get in touch with your Irish heritage? While you may not be able to make the trip overseas to Ireland this year, there are plenty of nearby cities that offer exciting St. Patrick’s Day celebrations for both adults and children.

We’ve pulled together some of the top St. Patrick’s Day destinations in the United States where you and your family can enjoy some green-themed festivities. The best part? All of these destinations include one or more conveniently located Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotels!

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston has the highest population of Irish-Americans of any U.S. city, so it’s no surprise that it takes the number one spot for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. It even boasts the first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade, which today still runs through South Boston, the city’s most Irish neighborhood. Make sure you get to your parade-watching spot early – the city hosts between 600,000 and one million spectators each year! You can also sample some traditional Irish fare at one of the many local restaurants, catch a live Irish dance performance, create some crafts with the kids at one of the many family-friendly events, or take a walking tour through Boston on the Irish Heritage Trail.

Once you’ve had your fill of Irish fun, rest your feet at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Brockton hotel. Located just outside of Boston, you’ll have easy access to all of the city’s festivities without being overwhelmed by crowds when you’re ready to relax.

st. patrick's day parade boston

(Photo by Flickr user greenmelinda)

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City comes in at a close second to Boston, hosting one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country. This year, Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade kicks off on Saturday, March 16. The most memorable part of the parade – and one of the reasons so many visitors flock to Chicago during this time of year – is the annual dyeing of the Chicago River. Starting in 1962, the city began adding green vegetable dye to the river to give it its trademark green color for the day of the parade.

After an exciting, green-filled day, relax at one of the 17 local Country Inns & Suites hotels. With so many properties to choose from, we’ve got a hotel that will provide just the right end to your day.

st. patrick's day parade chicago

(Photo by Flick user maxintosh)

New York City

About two million green-clad spectators attend New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade each year; no wonder it’s the largest parade in the nation! This year, the parade will be held on Saturday, March 16. Starting at 11am, more than 200,000 parade participants will march down Fifth Avenue. New York City’s parade is unique in that there are no floats or motorized vehicles – all participants are on foot!

After the parade, you can visit one of the city’s many Irish pubs, catch a live band, or enjoy an Irish feast. Need to rest after the parade (which can last up to five or six hours)? Head back to one of our nearby Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotels! To avoid the crowds and get the best view, parade officials suggest choosing a spot towards the north end of the parade route (anywhere north of 66th Street and Fifth Avenue). The top steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art offer a particularly great view of all of the parade happenings.

New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade

(Photo by Flick user NYCMarines)

Savannah, Georgia

While many of the big St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are held in the Northeast, some of the Southern cities get in the Irish spirit, too! The city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade has been running since 1813 and is meticulously organized by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. Each year, over 400,000 people line the streets of Savannah to watch the parade procession, making it the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country. Spectators will enjoy seeing the many U.S. military divisions march in the parade, as well as local bands and the famous Budweiser Clydesdales.

After the parade, explore one of the city’s many parks (where the fountains may be dyed green), take a walk along River Street, or experience one of the great local restaurants – if you can find a seat, that is! After a long day in the beautiful, historic city, head back to your hotel for a good night’s sleep and a delicious, hot breakfast in the morning. With hotels in the historic district, in midtown, near the airport, and more, there’s an area Country Inns & Suites hotel that’s convenient for you.

Savannah St. Patrick's Day

(Photo by Flick user US Mission Canada)

San Diego

Not to be outdone by the East Coast, San Diego brings the St. Patrick’s Day spirit to the western United States. This year, the city will celebrate its 33rd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival. The parade includes representatives from Ireland, marching bands, floats, bagpipers, drill teams, and more. Held in conjunction with the parade, the Irish Festival in Balboa Park is a great event for the entire family. The festival features live entertainment, including bag pipers, Irish bands, and Celtic-style music, as well as food, beverages, and craft booths. There’s also a Celtic Village where reenactors portray Irish life in 1582; a Kids Zone full of games, rides, and activities; and beer gardens for the adults.

In addition to the parade and festival, San Diego also offers its green-clad visitors a St. Patrick’s Day party just for adults. Head to the city’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, which will have transformed into the rolling hills of Ireland overnight with the addition of 40,000 square feet of Astroturf. ShamROCK 2013 is a ticketed event that includes music from a variety of Irish rock bands and flowing pints of green beer! When you’re finished partying each night, head just outside the city to the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, San Diego North hotel. You’ll have easy access to the city without having to fight the downtown crowds.

So where will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year? If you’re planning on heading to one of these festive cities, be sure to book your stay with us soon – March 17 will be here before you know it!