Top 10 St Patrick's Day Parades

st patrick's day paradesOn St Patrick’s Day, everyone’s Irish. So, whether you bump into an Elvis look-alike in Savannah, or spill green beer on a stranger in a Boston bar, don’t get too flustered. The idea behind St Patrick’s Day is to have fun – lots of it! While some might suspect that Ireland’s patron saint would shake his head at a lumbering St Patrick’s Day pub crawl, we think he’d be mostly impressed with the worldwide lineup of parades and events he’s inspired. We know we are. Join us as we count down the world’s Top 10 St Patrick’s Day Parades!

1. Boston

The St Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston warmly welcomes you to the country’s “most Irish” neighborhood – Southie. Get your fill of floats at the parade on Broadway and Andrew Square, and then fill up on beer at an Irish pub. Better get there early, though; 600,000 spectators are expected to show up for this year’s parade. It’s a wonder Bostonians aren’t born wearing green.

2. Chicago

Boston’s not the only city with a hefty Irish-American population. Chicago’s got one, too, and is proud of it. For the Chicago St Patrick’s Day Parade, the Chicago River is dyed green and everyone gets a glimpse of the newly-crowned Parade Queen.

3. Savannah

Although Savannah isn’t the first place you’d look for shamrocks and leprechauns, the city’s home to the second-largest St Patrick’s Day parade in the United States, as well as a spirited weekend-long shindig. The giant parade, which meanders through the scenic Savannah Historic District, attracts nearly half a million people every year.

4. New York City

Watching New York City’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue is sort of like sightseeing through green-colored glasses. The streets are lined with green-clad onlookers and even the Empire State Building sports a green glow. Since the parade’s been around since the 18th century, you won’t see anything too modern (like a float). Instead, marching bands and bag pipe players are the stars of this show.

5. Dublin

Dublin’s 6-day St Patrick’s Day Festival comes to a vibrant end with a parade, but not one you’d expect to see in Ireland. (After all, St Patrick’s Day parades originated in the States.) That’s because floats and bag pipe players play second to several thousand actors, puppeteers, musicians, and artists, who help keep things lively along the parade route.

Tokyo Vacation

6. Tokyo

For some strange reason, Guinness tastes better when you’re chugging it in a far-flung country like Japan. But it’s not just Tokyo’s exotic appeal that gets people to spend a St Patrick’s Day vacation there – it’s the hopping hodgepodge of parades, pubs, and parties that rival the most massive St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the US.

7. Hot Springs

According to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Bridge Street in Hot Springs is “the Shortest Street in the World.” So, naturally it’s a good spot for a parade, right? Guess so. It turns out “The Shortest St Patrick’s Day Parade in the World” is one of the best, with Elvis impersonators, belly dancers, fireworks, and a celebrity Grand Marshal.

8. New Orleans

If anyone’s good at making excuses to party, it’s New Orleanians. In addition to the St Patrick’s Day parade/festival combo, New Orleans transforms into one huge block party on St Patrick’s Day. Natives and tourists dance on the streets, musicians come out to play, and Mardi Gras beads are replaced with cabbages, carrots, and onions.

9. San Francisco

San Francisco’s centuries-old St Patrick’s Day Parade is probably more historic than unusual, but thanks to its setting, it’s a must-see. March up to City Hall with fellow revelers, and don’t miss out on the festival that follows.

10. Auckland

While everyone else is celebrating Paddy’s Day in jam-packed New York City, Boston, and New Orleans, you can enjoy a mellower and cheaper vacation in New Zealand, which apparently has enough Irish citizens to power a pretty boisterous St Patrick’s Day parade.

And remember, if you want to score that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you’re out of luck. You can still save money, however, by staying in a vacation home over a hotel!