Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in NYC

Storefront of McSorley's Irish Pub with patrons outside

New York is one of the great St. Patrick's Day cities in the country– along with Boston, Chicago, maybe Philly–with a long history of Irish contributions to all facets of NYC life just waiting to be celebrated every year. In fact, we have the oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in America. The tradition of marching on March 17 began in New York City in 1762! But what I appreciate most about St. Patrick's Day in NYC these days is what I appreciate most about NYC every day: the tremendous range of options we have, depending on your mood, your companions, your tolerance for revelry. Here then, are just a few suggestions from among the hundreds of choices… 

NYC Irish Traditions on St. Patrick's Day

First, Manhattan's big NYC St. Patrick's Day parade will happen on Monday the 17th, which, though it only travels about 30 blocks up Fifth Avenue, often goes on for more than five hours, and usually attracts more than 2 million spectators. Put that in perspective for a minute: that's more people than the entire population of 14 separate STATES, including Nebraska, Hawaii, and New Hampshire. Other events include the St. Patrick-themed (and likely boozy) Amazing New York Scavenger Hunt, which lasts about three hours on Sunday the 16th and starts on the Lower East Side; and a "family friendly" walking tour on both Saturday and Sunday of what was once Little Ireland in downtown Manhattan, led by Big Onion

Front of the Irish Hunger Memorial in NYC

Celebrate Irish Heritage and Culture

The Tenement Museum is always a good bet, and their Irish Outsiders guided tour, held in the Moore family apartment what has been restored from the late 1860s, is informative and lively. Also consider a visit to the well done and haunting Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City. And Thomas Keneally's Transport, featuring music and lyrics by Black 47's Larry Kirwan, will be at the Irish Repertory Theatre all weekend and through April 6. 

Best NYC Irish Pubs for St. Patrick's Day

There are, of course, a thousand bars in New York City that will packed starting early morning and continuing all through the day and night. However, if you really want a bucket-list experience, start your day at McSorley's on East 7th Street. It's the New York''s oldest continuously operated Irish saloon (serving since 1854), and if you can get there early enough on Monday, not only will you get a table, but the crowd at that point skews more, shall we say, mature, though by no means sedate. In Kip's Bay, both Molly's Shebeen and Paddy Reilly's always put on a good show, with lots of music and large, enthusiastic crowds. And the Upper East Side is no stranger to Irish bars–Kinsale, Doc Watson's, McKeon's–all of which get more than a little raucous on St. Patrick's.       
Young girl playing with green Irish hat balloon for St. Patrick's Day

Enjoy the one day of the year when everyone is Irish and as you do so, we offer this traditional Irish blessing to you:

May St. Patrick guard you wherever you go,
and guide you in whatever you do–
and may his loving protection be a blessing to you always.

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