Are you lassies and laddies ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? You bet your arse we sure are! That’s because we love any excuse for fun, celebration, and sweet treats—and the fact that “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!”
If you live in one of the states we’ve determined to have the rowdiest on St. Paddy’s—based on the number of parades and festivals—then get all your St. Patrick’s day flair on, grab that green candy you got from the candy store, and get ready for a grand old time.
Rowdiest States on St. Patrick’s Day
Hats off to ye! These are the rowdiest states in America for St. Patrick’s Day spirit.
Sláinte, New York! You have the most St. Patrick’s Day spirit in America—at least when we judge it by how many parades you put on (32 in 2017!). New York City alone makes a statement with its annual televised St. Patrick’s Day Parade. City folk, tourists, and beer guzzlers can share in the joy by watching bagpipers, marching bands, floats, and more strut down 5th Avenue between 44th Street and 79th Street. But if you’re upstate, you can still get in on the fun too and enjoy a Guinness or three at the Utica St. Patrick’s Day parade. And if you miss it, don’t feel like you lost the luck of the Irish. Utica hosts the Great American Irish Festival every July too!
Don ye green this St. Patrick’s Day and check out one of the 18 awesome parades this shamrock-loving state has to offer. The Highlands Annual Guinness Run in Highlands, New Jersey, is one of our favorites. Plus, proceeds help the city put on its local St. Paddy’s parade, so your participation will ensure the fun will continue next year too. We love this silly race because it challenges runners to start with a full cup of Guinness and cross the finish line with as much beer left in the cup as possible. If you’re thirsty, just wait. After the race, there’s a pub crawl in town, which leaves you plenty of time for guzzling.
You don’t need to travel to the Emerald Isle if you live in Pennsylvania (or will be visiting there in March). This state has 15 St. Patrick’s Day parades and a slew of other leprechaun-loving activities. Aside from the boisterous (and debaucherous) St. Patrick’s Day parade in Philly, you can check out a rowdy celebration in Pittsburgh. This city’s parade has been dancing down streets since 1869 and hasn’t ever let a little clouds, rain, or snow get in its way. In fact, in 1993, the city experienced an intense blizzard, but the people marched anyway! Here’s to hoping this year won’t be a reprise of the “Great St. Patrick’s Parade Blizzard of ’93.” But if it is, at least you can put on your beer jacket to keep warm.
People in Wisconsin should invent teleportation so they can attend all of the state’s 10 St. Patrick’s Day parades and a handful of other Irish celebrations. Then, they could hit up a number of festivities like the Oshkosh parade that has contests for the “most freckled face” and the “reddest hair,” and the Madison, Wisconsin Shamrock Shuffle, which puts on a 5K and 10K race that benefits the local Boys and Girls Club.
Massachusetts has 10 sham-rocking parades to celebrate this holy day—which is no surprise since Boston has the highest population density of Irish folk in the country (20%). We recommend either checking out the mecca of St. Paddy’s pride in Boston or traveling to the Scituate St. Paddy’s Day parade.
The Scituate parade works hard to keep the fun going every year by putting on the St. Pat’s Plunge—an absolutely freezing dip into the sea at Peggotty Beach. This event serves three purposes: to raise money for the parade, let people have a good time, and sober participants up if they’re having a wee bit too much St. Paddy’s Day fun! Peggotty is a rocky beach, so bring your green rock candy!
Between Detroit, Traverse City, and Ann Arbor, it’s hard to pick a destination to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style. We’ll make it easier for you by divulging that the Detroit St. Paddy’s Parade is the most kickass. This year, the parade is celebrating its 59th year of marching. That’s because the fun continues long after the parade ends. Check out the local bars for a St. Paddy’s pub crawl and for Irish food and drink specials that will make you feel like you’ve found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Ohio keeps St. Patrick’s Day alive with nine fantastic parades statewide. If your motto is “the bigger the better,” head to Cincinnati or Cleveland for large parades complete with Irish step dancing, leprechauns, and lots of Irish jigs. But if you want a real party, mosey on over to City of Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This parade touts itself as “the greenest, grandest St. Patrick’s Day Parade since the 1980’s”—and we agree. It all kicks off with a pancake feast (always good to coat the stomach before ample pours of beer and whiskey) and features giant floats, marching bands, and more.
The nine St. Patrick’s Day parades in Illinois don’t disappoint. That’s because this state goes big! In Chicago, the people go as far as dying the river green, and in Rock Island, the party crosses state lines! We’re talking about the Quad City’s St. Paddy’s Day Strut that starts in Illinois, crosses the Mississippi River, and ends in Davenport, Iowa. Thousands come to see this vivacious parade and with good reason; we’re not sure there’s another celebration in the country with a route like this!
Sunny Florida is the polar opposite of rainy, dreary Ireland. Alas, that doesn’t stop Floridians from donning their kilts, inflating bagpipes, and having a gay old time. Florida actually has nine parades to choose from—the best in our opinion being the Delray Beach St Patrick’s Day Parade. This parade has been going strong since 1968, and since 2010, has been themed around service members of the community like firefighters, policemen, and emergency response people. This year, 60 WWII veterans will lead the parade, which in our mind is double the reason to get out, celebrate, and show some respect.
Connecticut’s bevvy of St. Patrick’s Day parades all provide fun for the whole family, but one in particular stands out for being the place to go hog wild; the New Haven St. Paddy’s parade. With Yale, the University of New Haven, and other colleges in the city, New Haven is a mecca for those who like to have a good time. However, if you’re looking for something tamer, head to Mystic for its 14th annual historic parade. While you’re there, you can even fit in a visit to Mystic Aquarium or the famous Mystic Pizza.
The sky’s the limit in Big Sky country when it comes to St. Paddy’s Day parades. Tourists, visitors, and residents can venture to five incredible parades to celebrate the Celtic Saint. If you had to pick one, we suggest the Missoula and Helena St. Patrick’s Day Parades. Why? For one, they’re big. They’re also overflowing with spirited onlookers and marchers. It sure seems that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is in these two cities.
Want some craic? No, that’s not a typo. It means “a good time” in Irish! If you love St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll have to celebrate at one of Iowa’s top-notch parades. Cedar Rapids is one of the best, mainly because the city has some of the most experience putting on these parades. For 40 years, people of Cedar Rapids have been coming out for bagpiping, glass clinking, and general tomfoolery, so get out this St. Paddy’s Day to have fun with the rest of the city.
The Fighting Irish would be proud to see that Indiana has five raucous St. Patrick’s Day parades—one of the best right near the University of Notre Dame, of course! The Michigan City St. Patrick’s Day parade allows anyone to march for free—so whether you want to watch from the curb or walk and sing in an Irish brogue, you can.
Washington, with all of its Pacific Northwest rain and greenery, doesn’t feel too different than the shores of Ireland. Albeit, nearly 5,000 miles away, Washington does a darn good job of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. It’s five parades, including Spokane’s and Seattle’s, have a lot to offer partiers, people of Irish decent, and those looking for a good time. Plus, if you go to the parade in Spokane, you can feel good knowing proceeds go to The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, an organization committed to preserving Irish heritage in Washington and helping people in need.
Maryland knows how to party on St. Patrick’s Day—from seashore to Baltimore. You can opt to run in the Ocean City, Maryland, St. Patrick’s Day Boardwalk 5K, check out the parade, and hit up the local pubs for St. Paddy’s Day specials. You can also stick to urban Maryland and enjoy Baltimore’s parade that’s been running for over 50 years. The inner harbor makes for an incredible backdrop to all of the fun.
Rowdier States on St. Patrick’s Day
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph do you guys know how to party it up for St. Patrick’s Day. Congrats to these states on being the second wildest leprechauns in the country.
There’s something about the laid back California style and a rowdy St. Patrick’s Day celebration that create a dynamic duo. If you live in California or will be traveling through this March, make sure to check out one of its eight St. Paddy’s parades. San Francisco’s is one to see for sure because this parade has been going strong for over 160 years! That is older than any Jolly Rancher ever. Plus, once the parade is over, onlookers can mosey on down to the Civic Center Plaza for a wild Irish Festival. You’ll have to take a break from wine country to enjoy a few Irish beers or two during St. Patrick’s Day.
You might hear “Top o’ the mornin’ to y’all” instead of “Top o’ the mornin’ to ya,” but that’s just what makes celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in South Carolina so charming. Head out to one of the five parades in the state for Celtic music that will make you tap your feet and good old Irish fun. The pot of gold in this state is most certainly the Charleston St. Patrick’s Day parade. Not only is it in “the holy city” to honor this Saint, but it starts with a mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then marches down King Street and Broad Street. This city is gorgeous, so it’s a great way to see the sights while celebrating a religious/wild/boozy event.
Throw back shots of Jameson, Bailey’s, and Guinness at one of Missouri’s five wild St. Paddy’s Day parades. We happen to think the St. Louis and Kansas City parades are the best. The Kansas City festivities are special because they’re run by private volunteers committed to bringing family-friendly activities and Irish heritage to the city. The St. Louis parade is also a go-to because it marches rain or shine. But if it does rain, you might see a rainbow, so it’s not all that bad!
You could head to one of Virginia’s five Irish parades or get in all your Celtic celebration at Richmond’s Irish Festival. This huge party takes place in the Church Hill neighborhood of the city and boasts over 30 Irish vendors, crafts, fish and chips, and lots of beer. When day turns to night, expect a rowdy scene best left to those 21 and older. But during the day, don your verdant clothing, hats, and more and come out for a great time with the kids. All proceeds go toward preserving the historic St. Patrick’s Church and local community organizations like St. Baldrick’s Society, Child Saver’s Clinic of Richmond, and more.
North Carolina knows how to get in the Irish spirit. Between the coast and the mountains of Asheville, there’s a lot to do, see, eat, and drink. But of all the parades, we think the Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade has some of the most fun to offer onlookers and participants. This parade starts with a Wearin’ O’ the Green Festival and encourages all attendees to show up in their greenest garb. If you want to fit in, make sure you’re dressed in your finest St. Paddy’s clothing!
This tiny state knows how to throw a big party—whether it’s during the summer months at Dewey Beach or on the streets for St. Patrick’s Day. Of all the fantastic parades, the Wilmington, Delaware St. Patrick’s Day Parade reigns supreme. The parade is sponsored by the Irish Culture Club of Delaware (ICCD) that got its start in 1976, and every year, the club ensures this city in Delaware experiences Irish culture at its finest.
Way to go, tiny state of Rhode Island! You have some of the best St. Patrick’s Day pride in the nation. While your coastline is always reminiscent of Ireland, your annual parades make sure the spirit of St. Patrick and the boisterous culture of Ireland are felt too. Since Providence is just 40 miles from Irish haven, Boston, Massachusetts, it has tough competition when putting on a show with its St. Pat’s Parade. However, it definitely hits St. Paddy’s Day out of the park with a leprechaun-themed 5K in the morning and lots of celebrating in the afternoon with beer, marching, music, and good Gaelic grub.
Rowdy States on St. Patrick’s Day
Slainté! These states are in the third tier for the most St. Patrick’s Day spirit in America. Up your ranking next year by donning your green and partying this year.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including its Irish pride. From Dallas to Houston to Austin to San Antonio, you can celebrate your love for the Emerald Isle on St. Patrick’s Day. The Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day River Parade in San Antonio, Texas, offers perhaps the most Irish excitement for the occasion. The city dyes the San Antonio River green and calls it The River Shannon. It also kicks off the festivities with a harp and shamrock wreath laying ceremony at the Alamo. And if that’s not enough, the two-day Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day festival brings the people Irish food, song, and dance fused with Texas flare for 48 fun hours.
Cornhusker country trades its golden ears for pots of gold and rainbows on March 17. This state loves celebrating the Irish holiday and shows its green pride with a handful of statewide festivities. Whether you want to get wild at the AOH Omaha St Patrick’s Parade or take part in the O’Neille Shamrock Fun Run, there’s a ton to do on St. Paddy’s Day in Nebraska.
You won’t feel like you’re in Kansas anymore on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s because the state transforms from border to border with green garb, shamrocks, pots of gold, and Irish tomfoolery. But if you have to choose one event to attend in Kansas on St. Paddy’s Day, head over to Topeka. Not only is this city hosting the 38th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2017, but the Mater Dei Irish Fest too. This festival is complete with an Irish singalong, 5K run, lots of Celtic food, beer, music, and dancing, and a bunch more for the whole family.
Join over 50,000 spectators at the Jackson, Mississippi, Hal’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. It’s no wonder why this parade draws such a crowd since it’s been perfecting its marching and celebrating since 1983. Make sure to bring your pets and kids to this celebration. Hal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade has a pet parade and lots of activities for young lasses and laddies!
Irish twins—and everybody else—can celebrate this momentous day in the twin cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul. Both parades have a history of celebrating in style, rain or shine, and feature Irish step dancing, food and beer, and much more. If you want something off the beaten path, you may also head over to the Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day Parade with about 15,000 other people for a pancake breakfast brought to you by the Crosslake Fire Department and hot air balloon rides.
Warm and dry Arizona is quite different than rainy, cold Ireland. However, the nice weather comes in handy for the ample St. Patrick’s Day parades and celebrations. People in Arizona can check out huge parades in Tucson, Phoenix, and Sedona. Our favorite this year is the 47th annual Sedona St. Patrick’s Day Parade because of the beautiful, mountainous backdrop as well as its dancing, music, and overall spirit.
Marching down the streets of Savannah amongst the Spanish moss makes for a gorgeous parade. As does partying in the streets of pristine Atlanta. However, we think the Ellijay St. Patrick’s Day Parade has the most to offer onlookers and marchers. That’s because it’s not just for people—but for pets too! Everyone is invited to head out to the 2017 St. PETrick’s Celebration in Ellijay with their beloved pooches. Proceeds benefit the Homeward Bound Pet Rescue, so it’s an event you can feel good about.
Those in the wild west can enjoy a wild St. Patrick’s Day too. One of the craziest happens every year in Cody, Wyoming. Here, people can come out for dual St. Patrick’s Day celebration and Spring Fling. Activities include a parade, “Irish it were spring” road race, and fly casting contest.
Tamest States on St. Patrick’s Day
Well, someone always has to come in last. Don’t fret though, dear lassies and laddies. Your state can still work on its St. Patrick’s Day pride for next year.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, knows how to let loose in the name of Saint Patrick. First, you can start the day by running the five mile, 5K, or one mile courses. There’s a lot at stake too! Winner takes home $2,000 and will find out at the after party celebration downtown.
Way up north in Maine, you can find thousands of people partying for St. Patrick’s Day—albeit, at less parades than some other states. However, if you do want to head out for a St. Paddy’s pint with friends, check out the Portland, Maine, St. Paddy’s Day Parade and Plunge. Here, you can watch bagpipers, dancers, floats, and more, and take a frigid dip in the Atlantic to benefit the Children’s Burn Foundation. The cold is worth it because all participants get entry to a free buffet and charity auction once they’re warm and dry.
West Virginia is known as “wild and wonderful” and so is its Mt. Nebo St. Patrick’s Day parade! This parade doesn’t just have music, booze, and cheering, but a pageant for Miss Leprechaun! There’s a division for adults, teens, and kids and the winner marches in the following year’s parade. So if you’re a bonnie lass, get out there and try your luck at being the Irish face of West Virginia.
Nevada is known for its wild partying in Sin City, but statewide you can find a ton of fun on St. Paddy’s Day. Definitely don’t miss out on the Reno Leprechaun Crawl—a bar crawl with oodles of Irish flare. This event comes with a complementary mug to use at participating pubs and calls for all participants to dress in their wildest Irish garb. Of course, you can always head to the strip to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day the Las Vegas way (crazy, of course).
Hot Irish tempers are a stereotype, exacerbated when St. Paddy’s Day is celebrated at a literal hot springs. Alas, that’s where the “coolest” St. Paddy’s Day celebration happens in Arkansas, at Hot Springs National Park. For the 14th year in a row, you can go here to enjoy the “World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade” lead by Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Dancing with the Star’s very own, Alfonso Ribeiro, and pro wrestler, Ric Flair.
Portland is a wacky, unique, hipster, and free-spirited place. That’s why we’re not surprised Portland, Oregon, has such a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day. This year will mark the 75th annual festival and will feature live music, Irish food, dancing, singing, and road races. And as always, you can expect it to be done Portland-style.
Louisville has it going on when it comes to a fun college town and one that likes to get down on St. Paddy’s Day. The Louisville St. Patrick’s Day parade is marching this year with the theme of “One United Ireland.” Be one with the 100,000+ spectators at the Irish breakfast that kicks off the celebrations or at the noon mass that precedes the marching. You can also just meet at the parade route too on the Baxter/Bardstown Road corridor for lots of fun cheering, dancing, and enjoying Irish coffee.
Louisiana never gets tired of celebrating. Right on the tail of raucous Mardi Gras comes New Orleans’ St. Patrick’s Day festival. The parade marches across the city and ends in the notorious party zone, Bourbon Street. Head on over for a fun processional and block parties that fill the streets once the parade wraps up.
Birmingham, Alabama, is going on 30+ years of celebrating St. Paddy’s Day with a wild parade, but Huntsville takes the cake for the longest standing celebration. The Huntsville, Alabama, St. Patrick’s Day Parade is going on its 40th year and promises to deliver an Irish event packed with culture, heritage, and fun. Anyone can register to march free of charge, so you can spend more money on Irish beers and corned beef hash once the parade ends.
The mile-high city of Denver, Colorado, sure has high standards for its St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The Denver St. Patrick’s Day parade has been marching for over 50 years. This year, the theme is the Golden Jubilee Celebration. Everyone will be decked out in green and gold and looking forward to seeing Queen Colleen—the Irish, Denver resident crowned last year—and electing a new queen for the parade next year. If you’re an Irish lass living in Denver, it could be you!
If you’re in the country music capital of the U.S., stay a little longer to enjoy its amazing St. Paddy’s Day events. The Memphis St. Patrick’s Day parade is going on its 44th year and will be brimming with floats, classic cars, kilts, and more. After, head to the local honkey tonks for an American south and Irish fusion of fun.
Vermont’s St. Patrick’s Day scene is small, yet mighty. The Bennington. St. Patrick’s Day Parade proves that, because its short three quarter mile parade route is filled to the brim with bagpiping, rugby teams, dance and drill teams, and much more. Plus, it all starts with a community breakfast, so you can line your stomach before you start enjoying a few gallons of Guinness.
Between in Presidential inaugurations, visiting diplomats, rallies, and protests, a lot marches down the streets of Washington D.C.. And on St. Patrick’s Day, people can go spectate or march in the 46th annual Washington D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, the theme is “Irish in Public Service” and former White House Director of Speech Writing, Cody Keenan, will head it off.
Downtown Fargo, North Dakota, is bumping on St. Paddy’s Day. That’s because it hosts the Fargo-Moorhead St. Patricks Day Parade. With boisterous bagpipes, 100 floats, and a Fun Run, this day of celebration has something for everyone to enjoy.
Every year, nearly 70,000 people come out to celebrate the Manchester, New Hampshire, St. Patrick’s Day Parade. That’s because this parade is complete with a road race, live music, marching bands, and lots of Irish spirit. P