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How To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in New York City

Nobody in the world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day like New York City—not even Dublin! So plan on spending at least one March 17 in the Big Apple.


  • Step 1: Chow down on some corned beef and cabbage, which every Irish restaurant in town will have on its menu.
  • Step 2: Forget the wine or cocktails tonight—order a Guinness or a Black and Tan, which is half ale, half Guinness. Or have yourself a shot of Irish whiskey.
  • TIP: McSorley’s Old Ale House in the East Village is the oldest Irish pub in the city, established in 1854. But prepare to wait just to get in!
  • Step 3: Enjoy some of the famous Irish bands who perform in New York on St. Patrick’s Day. Check online in advance of your trip to see who is in town and how to get tickets.
  • TIP: The Irish folk music group the Chieftains and the more-punk Pogues usually play in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • FACT: A source of tension in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade every year is that homosexuals are not allowed to march as their own group.
  • Step 4: By the end of the night, begin nursing the hangover that you’ll soon have—if it hasn’t hit you already. Start with some water and ibuprofen. But it was worth it, wasn’t it?
  • Step 5: The parade ends around 5:00—just in time for happy hour! Find an Irish pub, which won’t be hard—every New York bar considers itself Irish today. The most crowded ones will be in Hell’s Kitchen, a traditional Irish neighborhood, and on the Upper East Side, near the parade.
  • Step 6: Before getting comfy at the parade, buy a green bagel. You’ll want something to munch on when your big Irish breakfast wears off. Also, while you’re at it, visit the bathroom—as the day wears on, many restrooms get a little… grungy.
  • Step 7: Check out St. Patrick’s Cathedral, arguably the most beautiful church in the city. The cathedral usually has a special morning mass honoring the man of the day.
  • TIP: Wash it all down with a mug of milky tea, an Irish favorite.
  • Step 8: Pick up some Irish flair—a green plastic bowler hat, some green shamrock stickers to put on your face, and, if you dare, a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” button. Be sure to wear _something_ green, or you’ll get pinched all day!
  • TIP: If you’re a single girl with a thing for cops and firefighters, this is your day! They come from all over the world to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in New York.
  • TIP: The parade begins at 11 a.m. You don’t need to get there on time—just get there. If you’re planning a big night of drinking, just watch on TV.
  • Step 9: Stake your spot at the St. Patrick’s Day parade, which proceeds along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street. The best viewing spots are toward the end of the route, such as the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 86th Street.
  • Step 10: Start with a full Irish breakfast at one of New York’s many Irish pubs. Come hungry, because you’ll be served eggs, sausage, bacon, grilled tomatoes, Irish brown bread, and both black and white pudding (which, surprise, are sausages, not custard).

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