Washington, D.C. celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day each year with a parade along Constitution Avenue on the Sunday before March 17th. This two-and-a-half hour special event, known as the Nation's St. Patrick's Day Parade, includes floats, marching bands, pipe bands, military, police, and fire departments. St. Patrick's Day is a family day in Washington, D.C. bringing people together to share the culture of the Irish. A parade has been held in the nation's capital since 1971. More than 100 community groups and organizations participate annually in the parade with live music, dancing and Irish spirit.
Saint Patrick's Day is officially celebrated on March 17 and commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. While not a legal holiday in the United States, the day is widely recognized throughout the country as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, the wearing of green attire, eating Irish cuisine and drinking Irish beers and lagers.
Date and Time
Sadly, the 2019 Washington St. Patrick’s Parade has been canceled. The St. Patrick’s Parade Committee of Washington, DC explained on its website that security costs to host the parade have made it too expensive to host a parade this year — read their statement here. The plan is to raise funds in 2019 to prepare for The St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, DC's 50th year on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
The St. Patrick's Day Parade usually runs along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets NW, Washington, D.C. Reviewing stands are located between 15th and 16th Sts. NW. Constitution Avenue is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. and is accessible from the south via I-395; from the north via I-495, New York Avenue, Rock Creek Parkway, George Washington Memorial Parkway, and Cabin John Parkway, from the west via I-66, Routes 50 and 29 and from the east via Route 50. See a map of the National Mall.
Transportation and Parking
As with most special events in Washington, D.C., parking will be difficult, so the best way to get to the parade is to take Metro to the Smithsonian or Federal Triangle stops on the orange/blue lines or the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro stop on the Yellow/Green lines. The event attracts a large crowd and it is highly recommended that you take public transportation and arrive early. Parking is very limited in this area but there are several parking garages. The largest one that is close to the parade route is located at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. For more information about parking, see a Guide to Parking Near the National Mall.
Grandstand Seating and Tickets
While most attendees stand or sit on the curb, seating is available on bleachers for tickets at a cost of $15 each. Call (301) 384-6533. The grandstands are located between 15th and 16th Streets NW Washington, D.C.
What Else to Do in D.C. on St. Patrick's Day
Several communities across the capital region host a Saint Patrick's Day Parade. For all the details, see St. Patrick's Day Parades in Washington, D.C, Maryland and Virginia. Or see suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day Dining and Pub Crawling.