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The Best American Cities to Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day

We've rounded up four of the best destinations in America to enjoy Saint Patrick's Day with food, festivities and Irish culture.

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and we are ready to ‘shamrock and roll!’ We love this holiday where every shade of green is fashionable, and making ‘pour’ decisions will always be correct. Several iconic celebrations around the nation come to mind when we think of St. Patrick’s Day: the Chicago River being dyed emerald green, the hordes of people flying to New York to catch the parade and the debauchery taking place at the Irish taverns in Boston. Here are some of the best destinations in America for celebrating St. Patrick's Day.

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in America

Chicago

Travel to the Windy City for a wee bit ‘o’ fun. Witness the dyeing of the Chicago River, one of the most popular St. Patrick'’s Day rituals that began nearly 60 years ago. The river stays green for approximately five hours and brings travelers to the city from all around the world. Enjoy the dyeing up close on a Chicago River cruise (it takes place on March 12). You’ll find themed cocktails onboard as well as live bagpipe music.

Find your spot in front of the Buckingham Fountain or at Grant Park to watch the bagpipers and floats in one of the largest parades in the country. Participate in the "St. Paddy's 5K or 8K Run/Walk", another popular part of the celebrations. After all of the festivities, you may want a bite of some corned beef and cabbage or a pint of Guinness. You’ll be in the place where many restaurants and bars in the city will be offering traditional Irish fare for a culinary celebration of Irish culture. And of course, be sure to pick out a great spot for the St. Patrick's Day Parade (also on March 12). 

Green Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day | WhereTraveler
Green Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day (©Benjamin Rascoe)

Boston

With the highest percentage of Irish ancestry in the United States, you’ll probably ‘a-green’ that Bostonians know how to ‘Patrick like a rockstar’ on St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re not considering Boston as a St. Patrick’s Day destination, you deserve to be pinched! Authentic Irish cuisine awaits you in Downtown Boston where an abundance of Irish pubs serve up the best stews and brews in the country.

The Dropkick Murphys, one of punk rock’s most famous Celtic bands, originated in Boston and made an appearance annually for the festivities. This year they have a three-day run at the House of Blues. Put on your walking shoes before the night of shenanigans to walk the Irish Heritage Trail. On this self-guided three-mile walking tour, you’ll step back in history to honor the heritage of Boston’s Irish. While in Beantown, enjoy the St. Patrick's Day Parade, a tradition that has been around for more than 300 years. 

St. Patrick's Day Parade in Boston | WhereTraveler
St. Patrick's Day Parade in Boston (Courtesy Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau)

New York City

Shake your shamrocks over to the Big Apple to enjoy one of the oldest St. Patrick’s Day parades, which begin at the famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral—a stunning Catholic Church on Fifth Avenue, near Rockefeller Center in Midtown. It is the largest Gothic Revival Catholic cathedral in North America. Besides, you may need to say a prayer to get you through the night of St. Patrick’s Day partying in the city that never sleeps.

Give in to a little ‘beer’ pressure by joining an epic bar crawl. If you can peel yourself away from the bar, look up at the Empire State Building. You aren’t woozy; the iconic skyscraper is really turning green. Every year, it is lit up in an Irish green color to commemorate the shenanigans happening all around the city. Be sure to catch the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade—it's taken place since 1762. 

St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City | WhereTraveler
St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City (Courtesy Joe Buglewicz/NYC & Company)

Las Vegas

“Beer-lieve” us when we say that life is ‘brew-tiful’ in Las Vegas for St. Patrick’s Day. Just imagine bar hopping on one magnificent street called Las Vegas Boulevard, aka the Las Vegas Strip. Drink happy thoughts along the four-mile stretch of bars found in the finest Vegas resorts and find everything green from beer to popcorn to MGM Grand Las Vegas.

Check out the week-long festivities at the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York Hotel & Casino. There will be endless entertainment from Irish bands, street performers and maybe some leprechauns. If you're in the mood for some authentic Irish cuisine, make a visit to Rí Rá Irish Pub inside Mandalay Bay. Be sure to stop at the Guinness Store afterward, and learn to pour the perfect pint.

Head Downtown to the Fremont Street Experience, where you will find more than 20 bands performing and pitcher-perfect drink specials at the bars. Try your luck at the tables or machines and dine at some award-winning restaurants. While other cities may have green rivers and skyscrapers, Las Vegas will have a green Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Make sure to stop by for a photo so you’ll have at least one memory of your stay.

The Zookeeper Statue at the Guinness Store Las Vegas | WhereTraveler
The Zookeeper Statue (Courtesy Guinness Store)