St. Patrick's Day parades are known for going all out. In fact, only a few parades — think the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade — actually trump those of St. Patty's Day. St. Patrick's Day parades take the Irish heritage seriously: They're fun, festive, family-friendly and all about anything and everything green, including beer! Mark your calendars for March 17and make plans to attend one of the best St. Patrick's Day parades the U.S. has to offer.
For the family
The San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival takes place on March 16, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Marching down the streets will be San Francisco's own police and fire departments and dozens of groups throughout the Irish community, including schools and labor unions. Don't forget to attend the festival before or after the parade to learn about the history of the Irish culture and enjoy live music, food and dancing. There are even pony rides for the kids!
Murphy's St. Patrick's Day River Parade and Festival runs from 6 p.m. on March 16, 2013, to 6 p.m. on March 17, 2013. That's correct — 24 hours of family-friendly fun and festivities. The kids will love the 110 pounds of green dye dumped into the San Antonio River, transforming it into a mini Emerald Isle. The event is free to the public, so plan on staying all day and enjoying the live music, family-friendly activities, games, food and, of course, a Murphy's beer (or two)!
For those looking to have a great time
New York City
If you're looking to have the time of your life with friends or possibly even a first date, don't miss New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 16, 2013. It's the world's largest St. Patty's day parade — with more than 200,000 participants and more than 2 million onlookers. It was first organized in 1762 by Irish soldiers in the British Army, and it has been a yearly tradition ever since. The parade lasts longer than five hours, but most attendees hit one of the many bars throughout the area afterward to continue celebrating the holiday and the tradition of drinking plenty of beer — just like the Irish!
Chicago's 2013 St. Patrick's Day Parade started in January with a corned beef and cabbage dinner. Don't worry, you didn't actually miss the parade. They're so into the holiday they start in January and end with the parade on March 16, 2013. Like the San Antonio River, the Chicago River is dyed green to add more pizzazz. Chicago's celebration gets busy, and it's a party you don’t want to miss, so make sure you arrive early and take public transportation, if possible.
For those looking for a little romance
OK, we know there's nothing really "romantic" about St. Patrick's Day, but we found a fabulous parade if it's just the two of you, and that is none other than the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade in Georgia. Yes, the parade is big — in fact, it's one of the largest in the country. But the city of Savannah is quaint and charming, with cobblestone streets, sunset cruises and historic bed and breakfasts. We think Savannah is the perfect place to celebrate the holiday and fall in love with your sweetie all over again.
Have you attended a St. Patrick's Day parade before? Are you planning on attending one this year?
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