The Top 7 US Cities for St. Patrick’s Day by Shindigz

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Where can one find the best places to celebrate St. Patty’s Day? Shindigz, where the world comes to party, set out to find the top 7 cities for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 11.2% of the United States is of Irish decent. But when St. Patrick’s Day comes around, it seems the whole country becomes Irish. There’s something about this Irish holiday honoring Saint Patrick, the most recognized patron saint of Ireland, that makes people want to claim a piece of it.

So, where can one find the best places to celebrate St. Patty’s Day? Shindigz, where the world comes to party, set out to find the top 7 cities for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

When it comes to celebrating the greenest of holidays, there’s more to the party than just green beer and baked potatoes. Several U.S. cities have a large Irish population, even larger parades, and even a “jiggy” night life made up of genuine Irish pubs, clubs and bars. Taking these factors into consideration, Shindigz came up with the following list of:

The Top 7 Cities for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

7. Kansas City, Missouri: Kansas City has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as a city since 1873. Its population is 10.4% Irish according to and their parade is one to be reckoned with. Drawing a crowd of approximately 200,000 people, the grand prize winner of the parade procession in Kansas City wins an all expenses paid trip to Ireland. That’s some serious parade marching! Their night life consists of many Irish pubs including haunts like O’Dowds Little Dublin and Lafferty’s.

6. St. Louis, Missouri: Although city-data lists the Irish population of St. Louis as only about 8.6%, their celebration made the list for many other reasons. Every year, St. Louis kicks off their March 17th celebration with the Michelob 5 Mile Run. The 2012 run is slated to involve over 13,000 runners. That’s more than the lawn seating capacity of the St. Louis Verizon Wireless Amphitheater! After the race there’s a St. Patty’s Day parade featuring balloons, Irish dancers, horses and large floats. The celebration often goes into the night at clubs and pubs like O’Connell’s and John D. McGurks.

5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Not only does Philadelphia have genuine Irish fare and drinks at places like the Black Sheep Pub and McGillin’s Olde Ale House, they also boast the nation’s second oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade. The city brings in over 500,000 people for a parade that features thousands of walkers and was so big last year that local CBS affiliate conducted a live broadcast of the city-wide celebration. With a 13.6% Irish population, it’s easy to see why Philly is the place to be on St. Patty’s Day.

4. New York, New York: The most densely populated city in the country is only made up of 5.3% Irish. Regardless, New York has become a swarm of green with an annual parade dating back to 1762. The NYC St. Patty’s Day Parade features over 150,000 marchers and draws a crowd of over 1 million spectators. Many in the city flock to take in the breathtaking site of the infamous St. Patrick’s Cathedral while others attend establishments with a bit more flair. Take for example, Paddy Reilly’s Irish Pub who has just one draft on tap: Guinness.

3. Chicago, Illinois: While others may put Chicago a bit higher on their list, Shindigz attributes their number three spot to the fact that just 6.6% of their population is of Irish decent. However, the diverse population provides for TWO parades to choose from for the city-wide celebration. The parade on Columbus Drive usually draws in the biggest crowd with 350,000 while the South Side Irish Parade is more of a community event with 250,000. That’s a big community. But the most exciting part of the Chicago festivities is the Dyeing of the River. For the past 43 years, Chicago has dyed its river a spectacular shade of shamrock green prior to the parade and city festivities. It’s truly a sight to behold.

2. Savannah, Georgia: With an Irish population of just 5.9%, Savannah is still near the top of the Shindigz list based on several other factors. For a city that has half the square mileage of Chicago, it still draws in over 300,000 spectators. And like Chicago, Savannah has its own dyeing tradition. They dye the city fountain green in the morning and cap off the night with Gaelic music and Irish eats at places like Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub, which has also been voted one of the top 10 Irish Pubs in America. With a smaller, more genuine feel than Chicago, Shindigz awards Savannah the number two spot.

1. Boston, Massachusetts: The celebration in Boston begins a full week before St. Patrick’s Day and doesn’t stop until the green beer runs dry. A whopping 15.8% of Boston’s population is made up of Irish or their descendants. An incredible 850,000 people attend some portion of the celebration, whether it’s the Gaelic Gourmet Gala, the numerous Irish band concerts, or the infamous parade with nearly 600,000 spectators. For the night owls who prefer to dance a jig, the Black Thorn Bar in Southie is elbow to elbow with regulars with a rough-around-the-edges feel but always welcoming newbies on St. Patrick’s Day. If Southie isn’t your style, check out the Black Rose on State Street, offering Irish food, pints of ale, and Irish music.


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Christy Phend
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