Celebrations of St Patrick’s Day in Philadelphia have been taking place since 1771, five years before the Declaration of Independence was signed, which means the St Patrick’s Day festivities in America are older than America itself. Join the tradition this year by attending the second-oldest celebration in the country, after only New York City. The Philadelphia St Patrick’s Day parade has been an annual event for more than 230 years, delighting Irish and non-Irish alike through the years. Saint Patrick’s Day Philadelphia is a great excuse to break out your best green costume and take to the streets for music, food, and fun.
Each year, St Patrick’s Day in Philadelphia is celebrated on the Sunday before March 17. On the rare year that March 17 falls on a Sunday, the festivities in Philadelphia are held on the precise day celebrating the most famous patron saint of Ireland. Other cities, including Dublin and Galway, where St Patrick's Day is a national holiday, always celebrate the Irish national holiday on March 17. If you’re looking for festivities on the day, New York City is the place to be. If you don’t mind celebrating a few days early, Saint Patrick’s Day Philadelphia puts on a great show. Bands, floats, flags, and everything green combine for a great atmosphere.
Start off your St Patrick’s Day 2016 in Philadelphia observing the religious holiday. At 9 am the commemorative parade Mass is celebrated in St Patrick’s Church in Center City. Located at 20th and Locust streets, this mass reminds visitors that St Patrick’s Day has religious roots. The Philadelphia St Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at noon, and over the course of three hours the parade winds through Fairmount Park and the city streets with marching bands, colorful floats, and every type of symbol of Irish pride. If you’re planning on attending, break out the face paint and your best green outfit to get into the festive spirit.
Approximately 20,000 people participate in the Philadelphia St Patrick’s Day parade, making it the city's largest annual parade by participant numbers. Visitors can expect to see dance groups, Irish associations, and marching bands throughout the three-hour event. The parade is not only broadcast live on TV the Sunday before St Patrick’s Day, but with festivity in mind, is replayed on March 17 once in the morning and once again in the afternoon. The strong Irish community in Philadelphia has continued over the years to make the day’s events very special and unique.
Saint Patrick’s Day 2016 Philadelphia continues once the parade has concluded. Head for your nearest Irish pub, and this day of the year, skip the local craft ales in favor of Irish-made products. Watch your bartender pour a perfect pint of Guinness or Murphy's, but don’t expect it too quickly—experienced bartenders know that Guinness needs a few minutes to settle before they top off your pint. The festivities in Philadelphia are great displays of community, and families are welcome both at the parade and in the pubs afterwards. Stop in for fish and chips or some traditional Irish stew and celebrate heritage with the Irish, who have throughout history struggled for their cultural freedom.