For one of the oldest celebrations of Irish heritage in America, spend your St Patrick’s Day in New York City. Since 1766, before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the New York St Patrick’s Day parade has marched up Fifth Avenue. What better place for this celebration to begin then on the steps of St Patrick’s Cathedral, one of the most beautiful religious landmarks in New York City? Join the masses of people who proudly wear green and cheer on the parade that lasts more than four hours marching through the streets of NYC. A New York City Saint Patrick’s Day is sure to deliver a festive and entertaining afternoon full of music, authentic Irish organizations, and maybe even a trace of the old Irish language.
Unlike cities such as Boston or Chicago, the New York St Patrick’s Day parade takes place on the actual holiday, March 17. No matter what day of the week this holiday falls on, New Yorkers take the time to honor one of Ireland's patron saints. This fact gives St Patrick’s Day in New York City a bit more authenticity, as the holiday will of course always be celebrated on March 17 in Ireland. The parade begins at 11 am and marches 44th to 86th street. Expect bagpipers, school marching bands, and even politicians marching up Fifth Avenue, where the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day parade concludes between 3 and 5 pm.
Some visitors may be surprised to know that the New York St Patrick’s Day parade is considered the most popular parade to take place in the city each year. The parade may not have the floats and cars that the Thanksgiving Day parade has, but it does offer more than 150,000 festive marchers. Locals and visitors alike embrace Irish culture on the holiday. It is your choice whether this takes the form of a pint of Guinness, a quick shot of Jameson, or breaking out an instrument for a song. The many Irish pubs of New York City make for great atmosphere to watch the parade on television, so if you don’t feel like standing along the parade route, you won’t miss any of the action.
If St Patrick’s Day 2020 in New York City isn’t complete without seeing the parade for yourself, there are a few excellent locations for catching a glimpse. The north end of the route offers great views of the parade without having to arrive hours before the start. You can avoid the crowds huddled along the streets in the 40s and 50s and head for the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From this vantage point, you’ll have excellent views of the parade as it reaches its conclusion. Looking for some action once the parade is finished? There will be many opportunities to hear Irish music and even get up for a dance throughout the Irish pubs of New York.
What better way to celebrate a New York City Saint Patrick’s Day than to keep the party going after the parade is through? The Irish would agree with this impulse, and in cities across America, from San Francisco to Washington DC, the celebration of Irish culture continues throughout the day. For a great party in NYC, head for the All-Star Irish Rock Revue downtown. At this event, NYC singer Joe Hurley pays homage to his Irish heritage by gathering performers, comedians, and new acts to bring the classic songs of Ireland to life. If you can’t get a ticket for this event, there will be many informal music performances at pubs throughout the city. Remember to wear green, and when you order that pint of Guinness, be sure to let it settle before you take the first creamy sip.