Best of New York: St. Patrick's Day Celebrations and Ideas

March 12, 2012 2:24:12 PM PDT
New Yorkers love St. Patrick's Day so much, they don't just settle for one day of green beer and "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" T-shirts. Indeed, with the largest Irish population outside Ireland itself, New York City is THE place to celebrate the holiday.And from parades (yes, that's plural; in NYC we have a St. Patrick's Day parade every weekend in the month of March) to 150-year-old Irish pubs, the celebrations don't have to stop until you've had enough.

More than 200,000 people, including bagpipers, Irish dancers, military and marching bands, are expected to take part this year in New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade, which is the world's largest. Starting at 11 a.m., the parade marches up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street, ending around 4:30 p.m.

One of the best vantage points is high on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The other boroughs each hold their own St. Paddy's Day parades. Events in Staten Island and Queens are scheduled for Sunday, March 4, while a parade in the Bronx is set for March 11. Brooklyn holds its own celebration on March 18 in Park Slope.

And of the two million onlookers expected to attend this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manhattan, you can expect all of them over age 21 will end up in one of New York City's Irish pubs, of which there are many (Seriously, do a Google search for "Irish Pub" and Manhattan looks like it has chicken pox).

If you're looking for a boisterous crowd, head to McSorley's Ale House, New York City's oldest continuously operated saloon. Barkeeps there have been pouring the East Village's perfect pint since 1854 (15 East 7th Street).

Meanwhile Finnegan's Wake on the Upper East Side is located just a few blocks from the parade route (First Avenue at 73rd Street).

But if you're hoping to avoid the rowdiest crowds, try partaking instead in the Beer, Cheese & Chocolate Food Tour. This 2.5-hour walking tour of the Upper West Side features a half-dozen tastings, including a flight of four craft beers sure to get you in the spirit.

For a truly memorable St. Patrick's Day -- and another alternative to fighting the Guinness-soaked crowds in Manhattan, book dinner on a World Yacht Dining Cruise. Keep in mind that you need a reservation for the dinner cruise, so act fast before St. Patrick's Day sells out. Choose the Gold Preferred ticket, and you'll have access to an open bar as you go down the Hudson River for amazing sights of Lady Liberty and other New York highlights. (Just remember you're out on the water before you try dancing a jig!)

However you decide to celebrate this St. Patrick's Day in New York, just remember: we're all a little bit Irish on March 17th.

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