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Band in parade | © Bryan Maleszyk / Flickr
Band in parade | © Bryan Maleszyk / Flickr
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10 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Boston

Picture of Ashley Kane
Freelance Writer
Updated: 13 March 2017
Saint Patrick’s Day is a very big deal in Boston. Also known as St. Paddy’s Day, this celebration of Irish heritage is important to the city, as historically, it had a large Irish-American population, and still does today. The city comes alive with a vibrancy as people party together, go on pub crawls, and watch the iconic South Boston parade. Here are 10 ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The most famous part of this holiday is the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, celebrating Irish-American culture as well as Evacuation Day, which occurred on March 17, 1776, when the British left Boston in a massive evacuation due to a storm. Some people attributed the coincidence to Saint Patrick himself. Enjoy this fun parade in Southie with lots of marching bands, entertainment, and parade floats. There are family-friendly sections, but expect to see some rowdy Bostonians (not always sober) elsewhere. The event is free – just be sure to show your spirit by wearing green. All the information you need to know is here. The Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston sponsors the parade.

Saint Patrick's Day | © Bryan Maleszyk / Flickr
Saint Patrick’s Day | © Bryan Maleszyk / Flickr

Irish Heritage Trail

If you’re curious about the history of Boston’s Irish Americans, the Irish Heritage Trail is for you. This trail leads you along the landmarks of Irish-American artists and heroes from the 1700s to today. All the information you need to know about the trail is located here.

Dropkick Murphys’ Annual Concert

Every year, the Dropkick Murphys perform concerts on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, and the city is always happy to welcome the popular Irish-American Boston band back home. Their performances are now a St. Patrick’s Day tradition; they’ll play six shows around the holiday: four at the House of Blues, one at Agannis Arena, and one at a secret to-be-announced location. Ticket information is here.

Irish Film Festival

Since the late 1990s, the Irish Film Festival has celebrated Irish culture and Ireland on the big screen. This year, the festival takes place after Saint Patrick’s Day and will start on March 23, 2017, and run through March 26, 2017. Go and catch an Irish film and learn more about Irish culture. The festival screenings will be held at the Somerville Theatre, right in Davis Square. Everything you need to know is located here.

Pier Pressure: St. Patrick’s Weekend Party Cruise

Ready to party the day away? Grab your friends and hop on this St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Party Cruise. This Green Electric party cruise has two DJs, four decks, and two dance floors. The event will be over three hours long as you party around the Boston Harbor. The one catch? A strict dress code is enforced – you must wear green. Here’s the ticket information.

St. Patrick’s Day Road Race

If you’re one of those people who like to be active on drinking holidays, go for the St. Patrick’s Day Road Race in South Boston. Sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, the race’s proceeds will benefit the Edgerley Family South Boston Club’s Keystone Teen Leadership Program – working to keep teens safe and off the streets. Don’t worry – the three-mile (4.8-kilometer) race isn’t until Sunday morning on March 19, 2017, perfect timing to help start the detox. Race information can be found here.

Listen to Irish music

Listening to Irish music is a must-do on St. Paddy’s Day. Stop by one of the city’s many Irish pubs and enjoy some great Irish tunes. Dance the night away or learn Irish step dancing. (Not sure which bar to go to? Try Lansdowne Pub.)

Enjoy Irish food

Irish food can also be found at all the Irish pubs around the city. Enjoy bangers and mash or go for an Irish breakfast the next morning at The Burren or one of the many other traditional Irish taverns around town.

See a Celtics game

If you have the opportunity, you should really go and see the Celtics, but especially around Saint Patrick’s Day. After all, their mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun, is a nod to the Irish-American population in Boston. While they are sadly not playing on Saint Patrick’s Day, you can still catch a game around the date at the TD Garden. You can purchase tickets here, and go and support the city’s green jerseys with pride.

The New York Knicks and Boston Celtics played on Christmas Day in 2011. They meet again this Dec. 25 | © Flickr/Kowarski
The Celtics and the Knicks | © Flickr/Kowarski

Pub crawl

A pub crawl was probably already on your to-do list, but just in case it’s not, pub crawls and day drinking are pretty popular sports on Saint Patrick’s Day, so hit up your favorite Irish pub. There are a variety of pub crawl tickets available for purchase, but honestly, your best bet is to grab your friends and stop by a few Irish pubs.