Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S.

© City of Chicago / GRC

Even if you can’t make it across the Atlantic to Ireland before March 17th, there are plenty of places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day stateside. Here are five of our favorites for massive parades and the spirit of Ireland. Erin go Bragh!

© City of Chicago / GRC

Chicago: A River of Green

The St. Patrick's Day parade turns the city on its head: the Chicago River is dyed green, shamrocks decorate the street, and the center stripe of Dearborn Street is painted the color of the Irish from Wacker Drive to Van Buren Street. This is your chance to get your fill of bagpipes, green beer, and green kneesocks. It's over 4 hours, so you probably won't see the whole thing. Learn More.

When: March 12, 2011

Where to Celebrate: Fado uses imported wood, stone, and glass to create its Irish look. The second floor—with a bar imported from Dublin—feels more like the real thing than . . . Read more.

Courtesy NYC St. Patrick's Parade

New York: A City Tradition for 250 Years

Started in 1762 by a small band of Irish ex-pats, this massive celebration has evolved into what is supposedly the largest parade in the world with up to 300,000 marches and three million spectators. Today's route marches up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick's Cathedral to 86th Street. Join the revelers along the way, or in one of the city's many Irish pubs. Learn More.

When: March 17, 2011

Where to Celebrate: Galway Hooker's name actually refers to a kind of Irish fishing boat (but then, you knew that already, right?). It's sought out as one of Midtown's most authentic, and best, Irish pubs. Even . . . Read more.

Courtesy Visit Savannah

Savannah: Irish Spirit and Southern Music

Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Savannah’s Mac Daddy of annual festivals. Over the past two centuries, the parade has evolved into one of the largest in the country. About 700,000 participants tip their hats (and their glasses) to the rolling hills of Ireland. As the revelers descend on River Street that March weekend, it is a sea of green—everything from the beer to the water in the fountains, the mashed potatoes to the grits and the occasional dog. The 18-day Savannah Music Festival is also kicked off on St. Patrick's Day. Learn More.

When: March 17, 2011

Where to Celebrate: Kevin Barry's Irish Pub has a friendly vibe, a full menu until 1 AM, and traditional Irish music seven days a week (the music generally begins at 8:30). It's the place to be on St. Patrick's Day, but the challenge is trying to get in. The rest of the year . . . Read more.

Courtesy Richard Nowitz/New Orleans CVB

New Orleans: Parade and Party in the Big Easy

A couple of big parades roll on the weekend closest to March 17: one that starts at Molly's in the Market and winds through the French Quarter, and an Uptown parade that goes down Magazine Street. On St. Paddy's Day, the streets around Parasol's Restaurant & Bar, in the Irish Channel neighborhood, turn into one big, green block party. Learn More.

When: March 11–20, 2011

Where to Celebrate: The annual St. Patrick's Day party at Parasol's spills out into the surrounding neighborhood of the Lower Garden District; it's grown so large that police have to erect barricades to keep traffic out—or keep the revelers in . . . Read more.

TeresaHsu / flickr

San Francisco: Bay City Meets Emerald Isle

Held on a Saturday close to March 17, San Francisco's St. Patrick's Day festival includes snake races and a parade through downtown. Local bars get in the spirit by selling green-tinted beer (urp). Learn More.

When: March 12, 2011

Where to Celebrate: Harrington's is the epicenter for downtown festivities on St. Patrick's Day. This family-owned Irish saloon (closed Sunday) is an attitude-free place for the well-tailored-suit set to have an after-work drink the rest of the year . . . Read more.