St Patrick’s Day in Seattle invites everybody to be Irish for the day. Unlike parades in other American cities, the Seattle St Patrick’s Day parade welcomes the public to participate in the procession. If you think you have some Irish roots, do a bit of research before your trip to Seattle. Once you’ve discovered the county in Ireland that your family came from, it is possible to march behind that provincial banner. Even if you have no Irish connections, St Patrick’s Day in Seattle 2016 encourages you to join in on the festivities, marching in the parade or otherwise.
Leading up to St Patrick’s Day, Irish fever takes over Seattle. One local favorite event is the Seattle Irish Festival, which occurs over the weekend before (or of) March 17 in the Center House at the Seattle Center from noon to 6 pm each day. The Seattle Irish Festival is a free event and features booths selling Irish products, cultural exhibits, a chance to learn a bit of the Irish language, as well as dance, music, and food. Special activities for children and film screenings of contemporary Irish films make this Seattle Irish Festival a comprehensive glance at all things Irish.
After photography exhibitions or learning about Ireland’s famous writers, it is time for a bit of fun. The Seattle St Patrick’s Day parade begins at 12:30 pm on the Saturday before March 17. Starting from Jefferson Street in downtown Seattle, the parade continues along Fourth Avenue to Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, where closing ceremonies take place at 2 pm. Each year features a Grand Marshal of the Seattle St Patrick’s Day Parade; in the past, travel writer Rick Steves and Desmond Guinness (of the famous Guinness Ale family) have held this position. Whoever is the master of ceremonies, St Patrick’s Day in Seattle reminds locals and visitors alike of the warm and welcoming reputation of the Irish.
The Seattle St Patrick’s Day parade is no place to be shy. Break out bright green wigs, face paint, and Irish costumes, and bring a flag to wave along the parade route. Just like every other city celebrating the holiday, from Dublin to New York City, the drink of choice on the day will be Ireland’s most famous export: Guinness. If you’ve never tried the dark ale before, there’s no better day to try it than the day celebrating the most famous patron saint of Ireland. Be sure to let your pint settle before going in for a sip—this will make your first experience with the ale even better.
St Patrick’s Day 2016 in Seattle is sure to continue well after the sun has gone down. Downtown Seattle is home to some great Irish pubs that put on quite the show for Ireland’s national holiday. Locals love Fado and Kells, with different stages to host a variety of Irish bands. Other popular choices for Irish pubs include Finn MacCools, The Dubliner, and Paddy Coyne's. Many pubs offer specials on Guinness on St Patrick’s Day, which isn’t only festive but also light on your wallet. Take the time this year to explore another civilization without ever leaving the country. Irish music, food, and drink are a great place to start for understanding this ancient and fascinating culture.
Top image: lisahazen (flickr)