St. Patrick's Day is serious business in New York City. Even New Yorkers who haven't a drop of Irish blood in their pedigree wear the Green, drink Guinness and Jameson like the Irish, and get excited about the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Whether you're Irish or just look good in green, find out how to best celebrate St. Patrick's Day with these ideas.
Often regarded as the most popular parade in New York City, the St. Patrick's Day Parade is not to be missed. The first official St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City was held in 1766 by Irish military men serving in the American colonies. The parade goes up 5th Avenue from 44th to 79th Streets. Despite not allowing floats, autos or exhibits, there are over 150,000 marchers every year.
The parade takes place beginning at 11:00 a.m. on March 17, except when March 17 falls on a Sunday, and then it is held on Saturday. Toward the north end of the St. Patrick's Day Parade route are the best viewing spots if you want to avoid the crowds that throng the sidewalks below 59th Street. The Parade ends at 79th Street, around 2:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m. Keep in mind that the grandstands are located between 62nd and 64th Streets, so that area is accessible only with a ticket, but if you score a spot close to the grandstands, you might be able to see the marchers performing for the judges.
The crowd is densest at St. Patrick's Cathedral and in the area immediately around there and tends to lessen as you move north along the parade route.