America By Rail Blog

posted on March 03, 2017

Both St. Patrick’s Day and Irish American Heritage Month are celebrated all throughout March in America’s most Irish cities. In some states, 10 percent or more of the population are of Irish ancestry. America’s largest and smallest cities go all out for the occasion; people flood city streets wearing green to celebrate their heritage. We offer a variety of train tours that stop in some of these locations. If you’re looking to celebrate your Irish heritage, check out these U.S. cities during their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.


“The Most Irish City in America” lives up to its name. With over 15 percent of its population of Irish ancestry, Boston goes all out for the occasion. The city hosts the third largest St. Patrick’s Day parade drawing over a million spectators each year. Expect to see a lot of people wearing green, playing bagpipes and Irish dancers. Check out Dropkick Murphys at the House of Blues on St. Patrick’s Day. This Celtic rock group comes home to Boston every year to add to the festivities. Other events to take part in include the Irish Heritage Trail, the Irish Film Festival and more.


Chicago is known for dying its river green every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. See the best views of the emerald river along Michigan Ave. You can get up close and personal on a river cruise that features an Irish lunch and a tour that highlights Irish history in Chicago. The St. Patrick’s Day parade begins with the river dye at 9 a.m. and weaves through Grant Park. If you’re an active Irishman, Chicago hosts a yearly St. Paddy’s Day 5K and 8K through Lincoln Park. Check out the St. Patrick’s Festival events including Irish food, dances and live music at the Irish American Heritage Center.

New York City

If you get the chance, get to New York for America’s largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The St. Patrick’s Day parade makes its way down 5th Ave. from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. the day of. If you want to get away from the crowds, check out The Irish Arts Center on St. Patrick’s Day. The center opens its doors for live music, craft workshops, tea and tin-whistle playing. If you’re in the mood for Irish history, Lower Manhattan’s “Little Ireland” offers walking tours and Merchant House Museum offers tours of their servants quarters where Irish immigrants once stayed. Head to one of New York’s several Irish pubs for traditional corned beef, sausage and mash.


With almost 15 percent of is population of Irish decent, Pittsburgh is another Irish city that boasts a huge celebration. Their parade was established in 1869 and features bands and floats marching through Downtown Pittsburgh. Every year, someone new is crowned “Miss Smiling Irish Eyes” and walks in the parade. From 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Irish Fair on the Square becomes a family-friendly Irish dancing celebration in Market Square. Pittsburgh is known for its local pubs featuring Irish fare like Guinness cheese, corned beef and cabbage, and steak and potatoes.


With parades and celebrations throughout mid-February, Savannah is the Irish capital of the South. The Georgia city hosts a “St. Practice” the weekend before with a charity bar crawl. Savannah hosts the second largest parade in the U.S. every year on St. Patrick’s Day. The week leading up to the parade features the greening of Savannah city fountains, the Tara Feis Irish celebration, Celtic cross ceremony, Shamrock Festival and oyster roast and the Jasper Green Ceremony to honor Irishmen who lost their lives in the Siege of Savannah. Starting the day before St. Patrick’s Day, the weekend-long St. Patrick’s Day Festival features food vendors and music down River Street.

If you’re looking to join in on the Irish fun in these U.S. cities, take a look at our train tour options through the U.S. and book your St. Patrick’s Day vacation today! 

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