Guide to St. Patrick's Day in Texas: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

United States, Texas, Shamrock

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Many Texans love St. Patrick's Day. Across the state, revelers gather in pubs and attend their city's parades and festivals to celebrate the Irish religious holiday, while adorned in every shade of green imaginable so no one dares pinch them for not following tradition. It may not be a legal holiday, but the annual rituals of St. Patrick's Day have been widely observed throughout Texas and the U.S. since the late 1700s.

If you're visiting or are a resident of the Lone Star State, you'll be sure to find something to do for the 2020 St. Patrick's Day, whether attending big festivals or parades in Houston, Dallas, and Shamrock, or going to an Irish pub—one pub in Houston, for example, features live music and a children's tea party.

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Shamrock St. Patrick's Celebration

The Texas Panhandle is home to a family-friendly festival designated by the State Legislature as the official St. Patrick's Day celebration for all of Texas—as you might expect from a town called Shamrock. Located along historic Route 66, Shamrock's annual tradition draws crowds from all across the southern U.S. to join in the festivities.

The 74th Annual St. Patrick's Celebration in Shamrock will take place from March 13–15, 2020, and will feature numerous events. Expect a parade, a kickoff banquet with magician Jonathan Meyer, a motorcycle rally, a car show, a cornhole tournament, beauty pageants, craft shows, a carnival, a lineup of great local and international Irish-inspired music artists, and more.

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Stop by McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Houston

Every year on St. Patrick's Day, Irish pub McGonigel's Mucky Duck hosts a traditional Irish or Celtic artist and serves its famous fish and chips, beef Guinness, shepherd's pie, and corned beef with cabbage. Visitors can get a taste of Ireland while celebrating the March 17, 2020 occasion—the Duck’s 30th year of honoring the holiday—and having fun watching performances by award-winning bagpipe player EJ Jones, Pat Byrne (the winner of "The Voice of Ireland"), the Clann Kelly Irish Dancers, and others. The venue even has an Irish Faerie Tea Party for children, with treats and crafts; buy tickets in advance, as seating is limited.

It is a good idea to purchase tickets to the celebration ahead of time as it often sells out, especially for St. Patrick's Day.

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Houston St. Patrick's Parade

While you're in Houston checking out local pubs, you might as well also visit the 61st annual St. Patrick's Parade at noon on March 14, 2020. Historically one of the largest parades in the country, it features more than 100 floats, dance troupes, and organizations marching in the procession.

The two-hour free event is open to the general public and is appropriate for all ages. Note that the parade route has changed for 2020: It starts at McKinney and Hutchins streets, turns right at Bell Street, and then right on St. Emanuel Street where it continues until Rusk Street. After the parade, look for the Awards and After-Party in historic Market Square Park downtown.

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Have a Beer at O'Malley's Stage Door Pub, Galveston Island

O'Malley's Stage Door Pub—a favorite gathering place among locals and travelers from around the world visiting historic Galveston Island—offers more than 100 different beers and a full-service deli. Located next to the Grand 1894 Opera House and in the Galveston arts and entertainment district, the venue is also a perfect spot to spend your 2020 St. Patrick's Day celebrations with family and friends. Enjoy the pool table and a comfortable atmosphere while you grab one of the best Reuben sandwiches on the island and sample some traditional Irish pub foods. You may also be able to receive free pints of Guinness that are often handed out on the Irish holiday.

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Check out Trinity Hall Irish Pub & Restaurant, Dallas

Trinity Hall Irish Pub & Restaurant in Dallas is a good place for live music, a menu full of Irish dishes, and plenty of brews and whiskeys. Great for catching a soccer match during the regular year, Trinity Hall turns into a full-on Irish celebration on St. Patrick's Day week from March 13–18, 2020. The fun includes plenty of live music, poker games, and breakfast on March 14, the day of the Dallas St. Patrick's Parade & Festival. On March 17, children are welcome for a holiday lunch, and there is an after-party on March 18 for those who want the fun to continue.

Due to the volume of people expected at Trinity Hall each year, the bar food and drink menus are typically limited to favorites during St. Patrick's Day week, so if you want to explore the full menu, visit after the holiday.

If you find Trinity Hall too crowded, head to Poor David's Pub where singer/songwriters and other musicians perform.

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Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade & Festival

While you're in Dallas, be sure to check out the St. Patrick's Day Parade & Festival, celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2020.

Called the "Largest St. Patrick's Parade in the Southwest," the gathering will take place on March 14, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with more than 125,000 attendees, over 90 floats, and at least 1,700 participants. It's easy to find a fun-packed day visiting the parade. The route starts at Greenville Avenue and Blackwell Street and ends on Yale Boulevard/SMU Boulevard at 75 Central Expressway. Proceeds go toward the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association (GAABA) Scholarship Fund.

The festival goes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and there is a block party from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Confirm details on the event website before heading out.

When you get tired of being out and about in the hustle, be sure to stop into one of Dallas' Irish establishments to grab a bite or a quick drink.

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Visit BD Riley's Irish Pub & Restaurant, Austin

Located in the Sixth Street Entertainment District in downtown Austin, BD Riley's Irish Pub & Restaurant, one of the city's oldest pubs with a taste of Ireland, offers an award-winning menu full of staples like Irish Stew and Shepherd’s Pie, plus salads, burgers, and more. Visitors will also find plenty of draft beer, sports on big-screen TVs, and WiFi.

On the March 17, 2020, holiday, there will be free live entertainment during the day and night—check with the venue for details. The business has an additional location on Aldrich Street in Austin.

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Austin St. Patrick's Day Festival

Hosted by the Celtic Cultural Center of Texas, Austin Celtic Association, and Cultural Arts Division for the City of Austin, the annual St. Patrick's Day celebration in Texas' capital is one of the more traditional Lone Star State's festivals and parades.

The event takes place on March 15, 2020, from noon to 6 p.m. at Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms in North Austin. With many high-quality Irish brews and a plethora of traditional Celtic artists performing indoors and outdoors, food vendors, a petting zoo, and more, the Austin St. Patrick's Day Festival offers a real look inside the culture of Ireland as it relates to the holiday.

Tickets must be purchased online or at the gate beforehand. Children age 2 and under are free.

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