Don your favorite green sweater, pin a shamrock on your collar, and grab a pint of Guinness, folks! St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s time to join your fellow friends, leprechauns, and Emerald Isle progeny to celebrate the most Irish holiday that ever existed.
But where are the best St. Patrick’s Day parties happening? You’ll find celebrations all over the globe, from Ireland itself to the Caribbean and beyond. But a few spots in the U.S. and the U.K.—two places with an inordinate amount of Irish people—really know how to get it done.
So get ready to turn green, folks—here are six of the best places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. You’ve never experienced the luck of the Irish quite like this before.
1.) Dublin, Ireland
Don’t look surprised—you knew the Irish capital of the world would be first on this list. If you want to do St. Patrick’s Day right, the best way to do it is to head to the motherland. Take a trip over to Ireland and hang out in the country’s capital city for the festivities, which last for a full weekend.
Get started with the parade, a wild, colorful affair that winds throughout the whole city, and move on to the citywide festival that surrounds the parade route. You’ll find film screenings, live music, Gaelic-language events, and more—plus the general merrymaking that St. Patrick’s Day entails. For a historical twist, drop by the Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest Celtic pub.
Dublin might be the motherland, but New York City is the fatherland. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held back in 1762 by homesick Irish soldiers serving in the British army, and it’s since grown into the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the entire world.
A bit more dressed down than the parade in Dublin—no floats or other vehicles are allowed—don’t mistake this celebration for a somber affair. The parade might look a bit like a military march, but the crowd around the parade route is rowdy and ready to party. Try out the traditional St. Patty’s Pub Crawl, and you’ll end the holiday with a slew of new, Irish-minded friends.
St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago gets seriously weird. In addition to the usual festivities—a giant parade, a city full of green-clad revelers, a newfound roaming leprechaun population—the Windy City dumps a bunch of green dye into the Chicago River, making the water run completely green. A little freaky, am I right?
Apparently, local environmentalists aren’t worried, so you shouldn’t be either. Party it up, but maybe don’t go for a dip in the river unless you’d like to turn into a walking St. Patrick’s Day mascot.
Boston isn’t just the honorary capital of New England, it’s also the locus of a giant St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Heading up the U.S.’s most Irish state—nearly a quarter of Massachusetts residents are of Irish descent—South Boston knows how to throw a party.
Southie’s hosted the show for over a century, featuring a huge parade, thousands of revelers, and parties for days. If you’re in New England, this is definitely where you should be getting your Irish on.
Want to celebrate more than one holiday all at once? Obviously, yes. As the arguable party capital of the U.S., New Orleans has taken St. Patrick’s Day to a whole new level, pairing its celebration with St. Joseph’s Day to create a full week of awesomeness.
Start the festivities off at St. Mary’s Assumption Church—you can even attend a pre-party mass, if you’re so inclined—and then follow the parade route down to the Irish Channel. You’ll party hard, obviously, and then two days later, you can pick it up again with St. Joseph’s Day. This holiday’s celebrated mainly by Italians and features a parade that marches out into the French Quarter. If a weeklong, multicultural celebration is what you’re looking for, than New Orleans is the place to go.
One of the most uniquely historical places to party it up on St. Patrick’s Day, Montserrat throws one awesome Irish celebration. Deemed the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Irish folks started showing up on its shores in the 1600s as indentured servants fleeing religious persecution on neighboring islands.
Today, the calypso, Afro-Irish St. Patrick’s Day celebration lasts a full week, and serves double commemorative duty. In addition to the Irish saint, the party also honors a slave revolt that occurred on the island on March 17, 1768. If you’re a history buff with a penchant for island beats over bagpipes, Montserrat is the place to be.
St. Patrick’s Day is a seriously fun holiday—leprechauns, Blarney stones, and shamrocks notwithstanding. Where will you be spending the holiday? Tell us your favorite St. Patrick’s Day story in the comments!