These Are the Places You Need to Go on St Patrick’s Day 

Cities across the planet go green on 17 March to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland
Cities across the planet go green on 17 March to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland | © / Christopher Hill Photographic / Alamy Stock Photo
Konstantina Pyrnokoki

Travel Writer

There’s no better place to honour the patron saint of Ireland on 17 March than the Emerald Isle itself. Still, communities around the world go all out for the festivities, throwing on their best green attire, glugging dark beer and dancing to Irish music. And it’s time you joined them. From Dublin to Buenos Aires, these are the places to be for a glorious St Patrick’s Day celebration.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin comes alive for the celebration with a four-day St Paddy’s Day fest

Unsurprisingly, few places celebrate St Patrick’s quite like Dublin. The capital goes all out with a four-day festival that features cultural happenings – such as theatre performances, cabaret shows, live music and literature events – next to pub crawls, walking tours, Irish dances and, best of all, the annual St Patrick’s Day parade. The latter features extravagant floats that pass through the city centre, following a different route every year. All the while, historic buildings are bathed in green light, and every hand on the street is holding a Guinness or an Irish whiskey.

Get to grips with Dublin traditions by reading how the Irish really celebrate St Patrick’s in the capital.

Kilkenny, Ireland

Dive deep into Irish culture with a visit to medieval Kilkenny

If you’re looking for a more traditional take on St Paddy’s Day, then Kilkenny is the place to go. This beautiful medieval city hosts an annual five-day festival called Tradfest, which celebrates Irish music and culture. Listen to traditional tunes – simply follow the Music Trail around the finest pubs in Kilkenny – and join live music sessions and singalongs. If you want something more hands on, join a workshop – pretty soon, you’ll be dancing like a local or playing a ditty on the violin or accordion.

Find your perfect stay now with our expertly curated guide to the top hotels in Kilkenny.

Boston, US

Boston goes full-out with a multicoloured parade to rival any

With Irish-Americans accounting for about 20 percent of the population in Boston, it’s no wonder the city turns green on the days leading up to 17 March. The buzzing St Patrick’s Day Parade, held in South Boston on the Sunday closest to 17 March, features floats and marching bands, while restaurants and hotels serve gourmet Gaelic food. If you’re a music fan, try to catch Celtic punk-rock band Dropkick Murphys who traditionally play at the House of Blues. And for more culture, follow the Irish Heritage Trail to see Irish-American landmarks dating as far back as the 1700s.

Eager to learn more? Check out the fascinating history of St Paddy’s Day in Boston.

New York City, US

The main St Patrick’s parade in NYC is formed of more than 150,000 performers

NYC hosts the largest St Patrick’s Day Parade in the world – and one of the oldest. The first was held in 1762, 14 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It now passes through 5th Avenue and ends at the Irish American Historical Society, welcoming more than 150,000 participants and about 2m spectators. Ireland-inspired parties are also held in pubs around NYC – don’t miss McSorley’s, the oldest Irish pub in the city and where Abe Lincoln once sat for a beer.

If you’re in Woodside, home to a strong Irish community for more than a century, check out our guide to the best Irish pubs in the neighbourhood.

Chicago, US

Watch the Chicago River run green in an annual tradition dating back more than 60 years

You couldn’t find a greener place on 17 March than the Windy City. That’s because members of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 pour a dye into the Chicago River at 9am, an annual tradition since 1961. It gives the murky waters a neon-green look, celebrating St Patrick’s in the most striking way. While you’re there, head downtown to catch the Chicago St Patrick’s Day Parade, before visiting the Irish American Heritage Center for lots of music, dancing, Irish gifts and a glass of Green River soda.

Wake up to a glorious sight when you stay in the Windy City with our guide to the best hotels with views in Chicago.

London, UK

Join the crowds for a big shindig in Trafalgar Square

If you can’t make it to the Emerald Isle, or if those East Coast cities are out of reach, London is the next best place to go for a St Patrick’s Day party. Head to Trafalgar Square on the Sunday closest to 17 March for delicious food, live dance shows and Irish bands; there’s also entertainment for kids, such as medal making and face painting. There’s a parade of Irish marching bands and dancers, starting in Green Park, passing green-lit landmarks including the Ritz and Piccadilly Circus, and ending in Trafalgar Square. Expect Irish tunes on the Underground and Irish film screenings all weekend.

Stay close to the action when you book one of these hotels near Trafalgar Square.

Berlin, Germany

When the Berlin Radio Tower turns green, it’s time to party

The ever-growing Irish population in Berlin deserves a St Paddy’s extravaganza, and that’s what it gets on 17 March. This is when the former Berlin broadcasting tower Funkturm is lit in green, heralding the St Patrick’s Festival in the Kreuzberg district, which features film screenings, live performances, sports events, whiskey tastings and plenty of Irish fare – including vegan treats and Guinness galore. Don’t miss the parade, in which thousands march through the streets dressed in green accompanied by bagpipes. City pubs are also filled with Irish music.

Discover the best places to get a Guinness in Berlin.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Experience St Patrick’s Day with an Argentinian twist in Buenos Aires

It’s not the first city that comes to mind, but Buenos Aires goes wild for St Patrick’s Day. The Argentinian capital celebrates Día de San Patricio with endless partying and Guinness-drinking across 10 blocks in the heart of the city – picture countless jolly locals dressed as bagpipers (or elves and fairies) dancing to Irish tunes. The pubs serve Irish dishes, often with an Argentinian spin, while Irish events with live music take place around town. Plaza San Martín is where the St Patrick’s Day Parade culminates, giving way to more late-night festivities.

Make celebrations green in more ways than one with a stay in one of these top ecofriendly hotels in Buenos Aires.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam may be a relative newcomer to the celebrations, but the party is epic

Running since 2014, St Patrick’s Festival Amsterdam is a fairly new addition to the St Paddy’s celebrations; still, it doesn’t skimp on the partying – this is Amsterdam, after all. Held downtown at the Splendor music center, this festival has melodies at its core, appealing to music enthusiasts and Irish patriots alike. Attendees can listen to classical, pop and jazz songs, as well as dance to Irish music and join music workshops. You’ll also hear classic Irish songs in the city squares and in the many Irish pubs around Amsterdam.

Still keen to get among the celebrations? Learn how the festival first came to exist and check out our most surprising St Patrick’s Day facts. And if you’re thinking of visiting the Emerald Isle yourself, be sure to check out our selection of the very best hotels in Ireland.

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