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Plan Ahead St. Patrick’s Day Trips

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Saint Patrick’s Day is just about a month away and now is a great time to plan a little late winter-early spring getaway to celebrate with green beer, clover leaf kitsch, and and your “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” shirt. This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, which provides the perfect excuse to throw a few things in your Outbreaker travel backpack and take a long weekend. Fly out Thursday after work, and be back Sunday night late.

St. Patrick, a priest and missionary to the Irish pagans, died March 17 461 CE. Hence, St. Patrick’s Day and the celebrations occurring on the day of his death. At first, March 17th was a religious holiday. According to rumor, Americans are the ones who turned this somber religious day into a drinking fest mashed with a parade.

The rest, they say, is history… and lots of green celebrations happening the world over.

In no particular order, here are 10 of the best destinations to visit to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day:

Dublin, Ireland

Ah, the motherland; let’s start here. It doesn’t get better than St. Patrick’s Day in green Dublin. This is the St. Patrick’s Day trip to make your other St. Paddy’s Day trips green with envy. (Green, get it? Ha.)

For more in-depth reading, Cailin, of Travel Yourself, has great tips for making your Dublin St. Patrick’s Day trip a success.

Why are you still reading this article? Just go and experience Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day already!

Best Irish Pub

Want the true old-fashioned Dublin pub life? Go to Grogan’s. Enjoy a Guinness at an outdoor table or inside at their bar where famous Irish writers once chased the muse in a pint glass.

Need something a little harder? Opt for The Palace Bar in Temple Bar. Upstairs, it’s a temple dedicated to Irish whiskey.

Must do:

  • Festival Treasure Hunt: Explore Dublin on an urban treasure hunt as you solve clues and see a new side of Dublin.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Starting at 12:01 p.m. on Friday, March 17, this St. Patrick’s Day parade is full of spectacular pageantry and imagination brought to life. Best advice: get there at least an hour early for a good spot.
  • Wander Dublin at Night: In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin goes green. As in, many of the iconic buildings are lit up by green lights at night.
  • Guinness Storehouse: Tour the original location of the Guinness beer factory, but do it before or after the 17th. This tour is not to be missed.

Chicago

In this raucous city, even the river goes green. At 9 a.m., catch the ceremonial dyeing of the Chicago River on Saturday, March 11. Don’t worry, the dye is eco-friendly vegetable dye, so no fish are harmed in the festivities.

At noon, join a jovial crowd for the downtown parade — one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the USA — before hitting up a slew of Irish pubs and neighborhood celebrations.

Best Irish Pub

Head over to O’Shaughnessy’s Public House for its well-known, and massive, Irish breakfast (bacon, bangers, eggs, baked beans, white toast, black & white pudding). Wash it down with a pint of Guinness.

Hit up popular The Galway Arms and its fabulous outdoor patio with prime people-watching. Ward off the hangries with its fish ‘n’ chips paired with a black and tan.

Must do:

  • South Side Irish Parade:  Ah, South Chicago, how I love your bad boy attitude. Catch this parade’s beginning at 103rd Street down Western Avenue. (Free)
  • Gaelic Storm: Come a few days early to stomp your feet with this chart-topping, multi-national Celtic band at the historic House of Blues Chicago, March 10-11 ($36-60/ticket)
  • Wendella’s St. Patrick’s Day Cruise: Get up close and personal with the green Chicago River on this sightseeing boat cruise up and down this river. Instead of a narrated tour, enjoy festive Irish music (with a green beer in hand). ($60/ticket)

New York City

You can’t throw a rock without hitting an Irishman in Breezy Point/Rockaway Point, in Queens. Over half of this neighborhood is Irish. The best part is that you have a  variety of parades to choose from: The St. Patrick’s Day Parade winding along Fifth Avenue (starts 11 a.m.), Queens County Parade (starts at Rockaway Beach), and the Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Want to see the parade that dates back to 1762 and is the largest and longest in the world? That’s the parade winding down Fifth Avenue. You can thank me later.

Best Irish Pub

The Landmark Tavern in Hell’s Kitchen. This pub has been operating since 1868. Grab a chair at its original mahogany bar, enjoy your Jameson with some Shepherd’s pie or Scotch eggs.

Must do:

  • Irish Arts Center: Dip into this Irish extravaganza brimming over with live music, dance, craft workshops, and lip-smacking tea.
  • Little Ireland in lower Manhattan: Join a walking tour through NYC’s former “Little Ireland” district for a low-key, engaging St. Patrick’s Day.

Boston

Did you know that 20.4% of Bostonians are Irish. That percentage practically guarantees a rip-roaring good time on St. Patrick’s Day.

Trust you me: You haven’t lived until you’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a crowd of drunken Irish.

Best Irish Pub

Since 1909, J.J. Foley’s Cafe has poured good pints of beer. This landmark Boston bar is the oldest family-run Irish pub in town. Get an authentic Irish bar feel, enjoy delicious food, and sip on a cold pint of Guinness.

Must do:

  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Catch Boston’s huge St. Patrick’s Day parade starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 19 in South Boston’s Broadway T station on the Red Line.
  • St. Paddy’s Pub Crawl of Boston’s Best Bars: Um, really, you need me to sell you more on this spectacular idea? Fine: It’s $10. Sold.
  • Dropkick Murphys + House of Blues: Boston’s most famous Celtic rock group brings down the house at House of Blues on March 16-18. (Starting at $41/ticket)

Savannah, Georgia

I’m as surprised as you are to find Savannah on this list, but this city has solid reasons for being here. With the third largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world and a full month of St. Patrick’s Day festivities, not to mention blissfully balmy southern weather, Savannah is pretty perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.

Best Irish Pub

Irish Pubs Global Federation named Kevin Barry’s Pub the Most Authentic Irish Pub in the world for 2016. Enjoy live music and smoky taste of Jameson in this traditional Irish pub setting. Don’t drink too much or you’ll forget which side of the Atlantic Ocean you’re on.

Must do:

  • Tara Feis Irish Celebration: Family friendly celebration that’s a feast for all senses. Catch the Irish dancers and storytellers on Saturday, March 11, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
  • Downtown Savannah: Wander Savannah’s downtown through live music, hundreds of vendors on River Street and in City Market. This area is where the true party is.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Don’t miss this parade that’s an annual tradition for the last hundred years. Stake out your spot on the route before the parade starts at 10:15 a.m. on Friday, March 17.

New London, Wisconsin

Forty miles west of Green Bay lies the small town of New London. They dive deep into celebrating St. Patrick’s Day: Leprechauns change the city signs to read “New Dublin” and an Irish funeral parody is enacted by the locals.

Best Irish Pub

Pup’s Irish Pub advertises “Drinks well with others,” and has been a community staple for nearly 44 years. Head to Pup’s for a truly local experience. Ask for Pup himself get the whole story.

New London promises a St. Patrick’s Day trip unlike any other.

Must do:

  • Irish Caroling: Learn how traditional Irish sing-a-longs at St. Joseph Residence.
  • New Dublin Irish Fest: Live music, food, beverages huddle under a huge heated tent; all the best things under one roof. ($5/ticket)

Philadelphia

With a parade that started in 1771 and a population boasting 11.3% Irish, Philadelphia gives NYC and Boston a run for their money in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Heck yeah, go Philly.

Best Irish Pub

Why pick just one? Drink Philly has a list of the Top 10 Irish Bars in the city. Or, create your own pub crawl from the list. Want to drink for a good cause? The Irish Pub has a children’s foundation and raises money through a variety of fundraisers throughout the year, but you can make a donation any time.

Must do:

  • Philly’s Erin Express: Bar crawl held on two consecutive weekends surrounding St. Patrick’s Day. Hit up 20+ of Philly’s best bars on this bar crawl to end all crawls. (Free)
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Philly knows how to put on a parade, and this one is no exception. Catch it on Sunday, March 12, as it winds through downtown Philadelphia.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Take a St. Patrick’s Day trip to Buenos Aires: Home to the largest St. Paddy’s Day celebration in South America. This Irish community — the fifth largest in the world — breaks free on March 17th to celebrate in a 10-block long festival along Reconquista Street.

Best Irish Pub

The Kilkenny is located in the heart of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Come early to grab one of the cozy deep booths to enjoy your pints of Guinness.

Sydney, Australia

Did you know that the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Sydney is one of the largest in the world and dates back more than 200 years? Or that the Opera House turns green?

Me neither, but now I’d like to go.

Montserrat

This island in the British West Indies is the only place outside of Ireland where St. Patrick’s Day is considered a public holiday. On this “Emerald Isle,” the country pauses for 10 days to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. March 17 marks the island’s first slave rebellion, meaning African and Caribbean festivals are happening, too.

Wrap your brain around that mix of cultures happening on this island.

St. Patrick’s Day Mini-Packing List

What should you tuck into your bag for a quick weekend getaway to venerate the saint?

  • Green everything, from socks to your “Kiss me I’m Irish!” shirt
  • Some St. Patrick’s Day kitsch, from beads, to hats, to bows
  • A flask for your beverage of choice on the go
  • Your best hangover cure

TL;DR

This year, travel the world for St. Patrick’s Day for a good-hearted celebration. Raise a pint to a good life and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with good cheer in these 10 destinations:

  1. Dublin
  2. Chicago
  3. New York City
  4. Boston
  5. Savannah
  6. New London, Wisconsin
  7. Philadelphia
  8. Sydeny
  9. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  10. Montserrat

Where will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Please share in the comments. 

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