It's no surprise St. Patrick's Day is the most popular day of the year in Dogtown, St. Louis' Irish neighborhood. Every year, crowds gather along Tamm Avenue for the Ancient Order of Hibernians' parade. In 2019, the parade festivities are on Sunday, March 17th starting at 11:00 a.m.
About The Parade
The Ancient Order of Hibernians has been holding their parade on St. Patrick's Day in Dogtown for more than 35 years. The parade kicks off with the AOH Irish War Pipers and the AOH Honor Guard. Keep in mind that the parade has more of a neighborhood feel similar to those held in Ireland. That means no giant floats or cartoon character balloons. There are plenty of Irish dancers and bands, but most of the parade is filled with members of the St. Louis Irish-American community marching as clans under their family crests.
The parade follows the same route each year at the intersection of Tamm Avenue and Oakland Avenue near Forest Park, traveling south on Tamm past Seamus McDaniels, then St. James the Greater Catholic Church and ending at Tamm and Manchester.
Where to Watch
The parade can be seen anywhere along Tamm Avenue, but the biggest crowds tend to gather at the intersection of Tamm and Clayton. Expect the most massive crowds closer to the intersection, so for a better view, line up somewhere between Seamus McDaniels and St. James the Greater Church. To escape the throngs as much as possible, go closer to Manchester and the end of the parade route.
After the Parade
There's plenty to do in Dogtown on St. Patrick's Day after the parade. You'll need the "luck of the Irish" to get into restaurants like Seamus McDaniels (1208 Tamm Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63139) or the Pat Connolly Tavern (6400 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63139), but the restaurants on Manchester just south of Dogtown, are good bets for a little more space. For a quick bite to eat or a cold drink, there are food and beer booths set up along the parade route. Another option is the St. James Greater Church, where parishioners serve corned beef and cabbage dinners at the school cafeteria.
There are also Irish dancers, music, and other entertainment at the church.
Where to Park
Like most city neighborhoods, Dogtown has limited parking, and it can be nearly impossible to find a parking spot on St. Patrick's Day. Many parade-goers park at the various businesses along Manchester Avenue and walk up Tamm to the parade. Businesses usually charge between $10.00 and $20.00 to park in their lots. Another option is to park at the South Lot for the St. Louis Zoo which typically costs $15.00. There is also free parking elsewhere in Forest Park, but choose your spot wisely because police will ticket anyone parked illegally.
Glass containers, backpacks, and coolers are banned from the parade area, so leave the beer bottles at home. Police will also be in the area looking for underage drinkers. Keep in mind that spectators are not allowed to view the parade from the Tamm Avenue overpass above Highway 40. To ensure public safety, all restaurants and shops in Dogtown will close at 8 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day. Expect mobile phone service to be very limited due to the size of the crowds—however, AT&T customers may have better luck as the provider has a tower nearby.