Time to get your green on: 10 great St. Patrick’s Day celebration destinations
The greenest time of the year is just around the corner – and no, we’re not referring to spring, although that is too!
Originally a holy day in Ireland, it wasn’t long before St. Patrick’s Day was synonymous with celebrating all things Irish, making it one of the most spirited and celebrated holidays of the year. And while we’d all love to visit the “emerald isle” itself to partake in the festivities, don’t worry, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations span the globe, and can be just as “sham-rocking.”
We’ve gathered 10 great St. Patty’s Day getaway destinations – truly channelling the spirit and diversity of Irish pride.
1. Dublin, Ireland: Who among us hasn’t wanted to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the land where it all started? Ireland is a land of contrasts, from pure, unspoiled landscapes and dramatic coastlines, to the urban buzz of the country’s dynamic cities like Dublin. Contrary to popular belief, you’re not likely to find any green beer in Dublin, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a pint (or more). Sláinte!
2. Boston, United States: Home to one of the largest Irish communities in North America, there is no shortage of love for the Irish in Boston. Take part in the south Boston parade, cultural festivals, road-races, and multiple pubs – all while declaring your green pride.
3. Niagara Falls, Canada: Tourism Ireland has announced that the Falls will be one of several world-famous landmarks to turn green this year. For the first time ever, both the Canadian and U.S. Falls will be illuminated in green, which promises to be a beautiful sight. With endless attractions, restaurants, and hotels, Niagara Falls is a great spot to “go green.“
4. New York City, United States: At this time of the year, the big apple becomes the big GREEN apple. New York celebrates the holiday by blanketing the city in a sea of emerald hues. If the green beer, bagels, water fountains and even a green Empire State building don’t get you in the spirit, the parade, pubs and people will.
5. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Argentina is home to the world’s fifth largest Irish community and the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations confirm it. In Buenos Aires, the weather is quite warm in March so people often take to the streets to celebrate Irish pride. They don’t celebrate with a parade, but rather an all night party on downtown’s Reconquista Street, where there are several Irish pubs.
6. Montreal, Canada: Although typically associated with the French, Montreal’s Irish history stretches back to 1759 and the deep-rooted spirit can be felt throughout the city. In fact, approx. 5.5 per cent of Quebeckers identified themselves as Irish. So, wear your green and hit the streets for one of the oldest St. Patty’s Day parades!
7. San Francisco, United States: With streets like O’Shaughnessy and O’Farrell, you know a city like San Francisco has a rich Irish heritage. Loaded with activities such as the United Irish Societies’ annual parade, cultural festivals, live music and children’s events, San Francisco is the perfect destination for families looking to experience Irish pride.
8. Sydney, Australia: The luck of the Irish pulsates through Sydney. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Family Day is the largest Irish event in the Southern Hemisphere with over 30,000 Irish and Australian Irish families attending.
9. Toronto, Canada: Toronto is a multi-cultural hub and with almost two million Ontario residents claiming Irish heritage, a large Irish community is sure to be present in Ontario’s largest city. The CN tower will be illuminated in green and shine like a beacon for Irish pride on the Toronto skyline. Check out the parade during the day, hit an authentic Irish pub at night, or just join the masses and wear your greenest attire.
10. Chicago, United States: For over 40 years, the Chicago River has been turned an incredible shade of Irish green and over 100,000 people turn out to watch the river’s transformation before the annual parade whips the city into a flurry of green pride. People dressed in green and wearing funky hats and shamrock-shaped eyeglasses flood the streets and take over every Irish pub in sight. The celebrations continue long into the night, or until the green beer stops flowing.
Best meal I've ever had while traveling: Delicious Chicken Vindaloo in an open-air restaurant during a rain storm at a resort in the Goa region of India, where Vindaloo originated. Lovely….and Spicy!!!
First thing I do in a new place: Stroll around and get acquainted with the immediate vicinity of where I’m staying and if I have time, start exploring further.
View that took my breath away: First view of the Taj Mahal when you enter through the gates and into the main area of the park. It’s a place I’d never thought I’d ever visit and there I was.
Most challenging travel moment: There have been a few! Travelling home standby from Europe in my early 20s and running out of money. The airline I had a ticket for cancelled my flight and other airlines flying that route refused to honour it, and I needed to buy a new ticket. However, because it was the end of my trip, my credit card (I only had one back then), was maxed out and this was a time when most bank machines in Europe didn’t allow you to access an account in Canada. Ugh! A kind airline employee took pity on me and sold me one of her employee guest passes in exchange for the small amount of currency (from 3 countries) that I had in my pockets. She was a lifesaver! There was also the time we decided to forego the cruise line shore excursion to Paris from Le Havre and opting instead to rent a car and drive to Paris for the day. Upon returning to Le Havre, we were unable to find a taxi to take us back to the ship as the town virtually shuts down at 6pm. To top it off, we misjudged when the ship was leaving and had significantly less time than we thought. We finally had to flag down a local and explain our predicament to him in broken French and ask him to give us a ride. 4 adults, plus the driver, in a tiny, TINY European car, that also had a baby seat in it. We made it to the ship by the skin of our teeth. But would I do it again….for sure…..but I’d leave a LOT more time!
Favorite way to get around: My convertible, but if not, then public transit.
Greatest travel lesson learned: If you don’t think you’ll ever be back, take in as much as possible.
Travel ambition: Luxury safari in Kenya, including seeing the annual wildebeest migration and visiting the Ngorogoro Crater.
My most beloved place in the whole world is: my hometown of Toronto. There’s a reason why I choose to live here. You should come visit!
Fondest travel memory: The highs and lows of a round-the-world trip I took, with stops in San Francisco, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, Capetown and London. Every part of that trip was a memory, from doing the Harbour Bridge Climb in Sydney and seeing Sydney Opera House for the first time…to not planning ahead and having to sleep in our car on the Great Ocean Road and arriving in Adelaide after a 2-day drive to find that we’d left our passports in the hotel safe - in MELBOURNE! But I’ll never forget my first time seeing a pride of lions in the wild for the first time. Or coming around a corner of a dirt road to find a huge giraffe standing in the middle of the road chewing his cud while watching us. I loved every part of that trip!