St Patrick’s Day in Washington DC is full of choices for celebrating the Irish national holiday. This family-friendly celebration includes a variety of parades, musical entertainment in Irish pubs, and even a street festival with a variety of activities. If you’re looking for a different way of celebrating this year, plan to attend the Washington DC Shamrock Fest. A unique street festival, Shamrock Fest heavily features live music, as well as food, drinks, and activities for all ages. A classic way to celebrate the holiday is with the 2021 Washington DC St Patrick’s Day parade, so break out your best green outfit and wackiest leprechaun hat for an entertaining afternoon watching the parade.
St Patrick’s Day in Washington DC is lucky to have multiple parades in the region. There is the largest Washington DC St Patrick’s Day parade along Constitution Avenue and also others in the region including Alexandria, Virginia and Gaithersburg, Maryland. The parade in downtown Washington DC is known as "the Nation’s St Patrick’s Day Parade" and includes marching bands, fire departments, floats, pipe bands, and Irish music. This annual event is known to be a great one for the family, so bring the kids along to enjoy the costumes, colors, and celebration.
The Washington DC St Patrick’s Day parade takes place the Sunday before March 17. If you’re looking for a celebration on true St Patrick’s Day, nearby New York City doesn’t host their parade days before the actual holiday—they take over the streets of Manhattan midweek! The Washington DC version lasts from noon to 3 pm on the Sunday before and marches along Constitution Avenue from Seventh to Seventeenth streets. If you’ve ever been to Washington DC for a special event you know that parking can be an issue, so it is recommended for visitors to take the Metro whenever possible, to stops including the Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, or Archives/Navy Memorial.
Another favorite event beyond the parade is the Washington DC Shamrock Fest. Taking place the Saturday closest to March 17, it is possible for visitors to include both Shamrock Fest and the parade on their itinerary if desired. RFK Stadium is the location for this event, and it lasts from 1 to 9 pm and features dozens of live bands playing on a variety of stages. Irish music is of course a strong feature, but blues, rock, and folk music will also be heard throughout the day. The Washington DC Shamrock Fest is also known for its food and drink, putting the finishing touches on a street festival showcasing Irish culture. Purchase your tickets in advance for $10 off the ticket price at the door, and use the Metro via the Stadium-Armory station to arrive easily.
St Patrick’s Day 2021 in Washington DC continues in the Irish pubs. Many have stages for live music and of course, traditional and contemporary Irish music will be performed. Compared to other cities such as Savannah or New Orleans, where St Patrick’s Day is a great excuse to party, the version in Washington DC is a bit more subdued and family friendly. Just as the Irish would like, families are welcomed into pubs during the day for music, atmosphere, and a shared appreciation of the Irish culture.