St. Patrick's Day Parades: Where Everyone is Irish
Along with an influx of Irish immigrants to the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries came a celebration of the Emerald Isle's patron saint, St. Patrick's Day.
Parades on or around every March 17 in various U.S. cities have grown more elaborate over the years, in some cases eclipsing even the celebrations back in Ireland itself.
Though many U.S. cities hold a St. Patrick's Day parade, here's a short list of the most travel-worthy destinations.
New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade:
One of the nation's oldest St. Patrick's Day parades is also one of its most authentic. The annual parade down Fifth Avenue dates to 1766, when a military unit of Irishmen, recruited to serve in the American Colonies, marched in a parade. Now, Irish fraternal and beneficial societies band together to sponsor and march in the parade of bagpipers, high school bands and leprechauns.
Chicago, Illinois St. Patrick's Day Parade:
Yes, they do dye the Chicago River green on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day, though these days an eco-friendly dye is used rather than the chemicals of years past. That Saturday is also the day the Windy City holds its St. Patrick's Day Parade to allow families to enjoy the festivities without having to take their children out of school. The parade kicks off at noon, but if you want to watch the river being dyed, you'll need to be in place by 10:45 a.m.
Savannah, Georgia St. Patrick's Day Parade:
This sleepy Southern city claims to hold the second largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the world. The tradition dates to 1813, and festivities and events begin about two weeks before the actual holiday. More than 350 units participate in the parade, comprising military units, bands, the Budweiser Clydesdales and more. For those wishing to take part in the religious aspects of the day, a mass is held at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist the morning of the parade.
Seattle, Washington St. Patrick's Day Parade:
Seattle's St. Patrick's Day Parade, like Chicago's, takes place the Saturday before the holiday (unless, of course, it falls on a Saturday). On the day before, Irish revelers mark the path of the mile-long parade by marking it with a green stripe. The St. Patrick's Day Parade is unusual in another respect: anyone is welcome to march in it, though participants must register if they carry a banner or are part of a group.
Boulder, Colorado St. Patrick's Day Parade:
If partying and not parading is your main aim on St. Patrick's Day, parades don't get much better than this. Dubbed the world's shortest, the route covers only two city blocks and has included such units as the "Paddy O' Furniture Drill Team," whose members performed a choreographed routine with aluminum folding chairs.