Ah, Saint Patrick’s Day. The thoughtful, religious holiday in which you pay your respects to Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
A.K.A. St. Paddy’s Day, the day before the morning you wake up face down in your yard covered in green beer and who knows what bodily fluids.
Now, if you’re lucky, you’ll avoid the above this year, but we’re going to bet that your Sat., March 17 is going to involve a blowout bar crawl of some kind all the same. Why rage at all the typical local haunts you normally do? There’s a sensational collection of cities out there that take St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to the next level! Today, we’re detailing a few of the finest…
1. Dublin, Ireland
Like we were gonna leave the friggin’ capital of Ireland off this list.
St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday throughout Ireland and due to the popularity of the event/booking difficulties, you’ll want to plan a year in advance. Here’s the kicker, though: St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a one-day affair in that country. Dublin offers the St. Patrick’s Festival, which spans five days (March 15-19 this year) and offers internationally recognized dancers, musicians, and performers. Oh, and shit tons of alcohol.
Here are a few of the things to do in Dublin as part of its festival:
- Take in the sights. All of the city’s most prominent buildings are illuminated by green at night as part of the festival’s “Greening of the City.”
- Take one of the city’s walking food tours. It’ll let you burn off the calories you take in from shotgunning beers. Except you’ll be eating the whole way, so, yeah. Never mind. Just forget your diet altogether.
- Watch a boat race. (Maybe participate in one? Nah, probably not a good idea.)
- Participate in the 5K Guinness Run. This will likely end up being a “Barfing Run," so don’t say we didn’t warn you.
- Visit the seven-story visitor experience that is the Guinness Storehouse.
Looking to travel for St. Patrick’s Day 2018 but don’t have the time to book an out-of-country adventure? Say no more, fam. There are plenty of domestic opportunities…
2. Chicago, Illinois
If Dublin is a bit too far, you should know that Chicago offers the most parties and festivals per capita of any U.S. city (here’s a source so you don’t think we just make things up). It’s also famous for the traditional dying of the Chicago River (below).
3. Savannah, Georgia
If you’re from the South or know anyone from that region, you already know that Savannah is a kickass city for drinking—due in part to the lack of a state open container law.
Savannah rocks for St. Patrick’s Day, specifically, because of an excellent bar crawl, the 5K Shamrock Run, green-dyed water fountains, and the fact that it’s tied with Chicago for the most parties and festivals per capita. Oh, and the likelihood of 70-degree weather here in March is really, really high!
4. Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia takes this holiday f***ing seriously. So seriously, in fact, that there’s a bar crawl that takes place on the weekends surrounding St. Patrick’s Day, too—the one beforehand takes place over what the locals call “St. Practice Day.” The bar crawl experience overall is considered perhaps the nation’s best, and Philly’s Erin Express runs buses every 15 minutes between locations at no special cost and sans tickets, cover charges, and bracelets. Dope!
5. Boston, MA
As much as 20% of Boston’s population self-identifies as Irish, so you know it gets rowdy af—after all, these people are either Irish by blood or completely delusional, making them hardcore party unicorns any way you slice it.
It should be known that South Boston hosts one of the largest parades in the country, gourmet Gaelic food is featured throughout hotels and restaurants, and the Dropkick Murphys return home to host concerts each year.
6. Pittsburgh, PA
Like Boston, Pittsburgh has an incredibly high percentage of its population identifying as Irish. Plus, its St. Patrick’s Day Parade features more than 20,000 participants. If you don’t get into shenanigans while visiting this city on March 17, you aren’t trying hard enough (or at all).