On March 17 of every year, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This is a celebration of St. Patrick, who – after fasting for 40 days – chased away all the snakes in Ireland. Today we celebrate the holiday with St. Patrick’s Day décor, green clothing, green shamrocks, and green beer.

While St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a federal holiday, it is still enjoyed by a large percentage of the population. Typically, you’ll find a St. Patrick’s Day parade, pub crawls, parties, and other types of celebrations, but that may look a bit different this year.

St. Patrick’s Day 2021 comes a year after shutdowns began for COVID-19 in 2020, and people are ready to get out and celebrate with friends again. Many are trying to find the best St. Patrick’s Day ideas to stay safe and still have fun. We tried to include that mindset in our St. Patrick’s Day tips below.

9 Most Popular Activities on St. Patrick’s Day

How do you usually celebrate this day? You put on something green with shamrock, eat corned beef, cabbage and drink green beer. However, you can do much more, and some fun activities and tips on how to celebrate St. Patrick's Day are as follows:

1. Host a St. Patrick’s Day party with Irish dances

Set a dress code with green attire, like wearing a green T-shirt with a large shamrock on it, Irish flags of green, white, and orange. Provide your guests with entering word, Irish-related sayings (like "Kiss me, I'm Irish!") or St Patrick's song like this one:
I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before.
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain,
Third is the roses that grow in the lane

2. Prepare traditional St. Patrick's Day food

Traditional St. Patrick's Day food includes corned beef, cabbage, lamb stew, Irish soda bread, potato bread, black pudding, pink bacon, and savory roast chicken, etc. In this funny video, you can find St. Patrick's Day recipes on how to prepare corned beef and beers.

3. Learn how to céili (kay-lee) dance

It’s Irish social dancing. And then, organize an Irish dancing competition. Play St. Patrick's Day games, like “Hot potato”, "Pot o' Gold" treasure hunt (a search for gold chocolate coins), etc.

4. Visit a St. Patrick's Day Parade

Most large cities, such as New York City, Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Chicago have parades. Put on something green and enjoy Irish music, dancing, and get some free candy.

5. Watch Irish movies

If you are not attending parades or hosting parties, but prefer a family evening, you might as well watch Irish movies. The best ones are The Secret of Roan Inish, Waking Ned Devine, Into the West, Circle of Friends, etc.

6. Organize a traditional pub crawl and drink beer

Most bars and pubs offer special prices on draft beer, food, and cover charges. Not only beer is popular on this day, but other famous Irish drinks, too. You can try a pint of Bulmers (or Magners) cider, Smithwick's ale, Jameson Irish whiskey or some Bailey's Irish cream. Watch this video for more information about St. Patrick's Day celebration.

7. Plan a St. Pat’s Scavenger Hunt

Test your luck this year by setting up a scavenger hunt with your friends, relatives, or kids. You can hide a lot of interesting festive elements including St. Patrick’s Day decorations, treats, and gifts. Do not forget about clues, and who knows, you might find the pot of gold coins at the end of the rainbow.

8. Have an Irish Coffee

 More than traditional St. Patrick’s Day food like corned beef and cabbage, the collection of St. Patrick’s Day recipes includes delicious Irish coffee, the tastiest cocktail that consists of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, brown sugar, topped with cream. You can also sprinkle some chocolate on the top of the cream. Savor it slowly and enjoy the moment.

9. Prepare gifts for your family and friends

St. Patrick’s Day is a perfect opportunity to give a gift to someone you care for. Start considering your St. Patrick’s Day gift ideas in advance to have enough time for preparation. Do not forget that any holiday is a hot time for most stores. So, you may come across  problems with shipping, ordering, or both. Be careful, check out reviews and consumer’s feedback.

One savvy customer realized that a company was trying to recycle some products from St. Patrick’s Day in 2020 for a new season in 2021. Among our St. Patrick’s Day reviews, the customer explains that Lids, a store that sells hats and caps, is “selling 2020 st patricks day hats as 2021 so they can charge full price. Its a last years model just renamed. to get full price”.

St. Patrick's Day false adTop 9 Places to Go Celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Traveling is one of the most favorite common St. Patrick's Day activities. Even if you have no opportunity to visit Ireland, you can find some great U.S. destinations and get in the Irish spirit.

If you’re traveling for St. Patrick’s Day 2021, be very mindful of the cancellation policies for rental cars, airline flights, and hotel rooms. Among the St. Patrick’s Day reviews from 2020, one frustrated customer discovered that he was not going to be issued a refund from America’s Best Value Inn after a COVID-required cancellation (review #1838851). The customer explained, “I am due a refund they denied my refund because the policy said no refund understandably but it was not my fault the whole country shut down.”

1. South Boston, Massachusetts

It is one of the best places to get in the spirit because almost a quarter of Boston citizens claim Irish ancestry. You can watch a parade or participate in it. To march in the parade, you should download Application form and Code of Conduct form, fill in the application, sign, and mail before February 16, 2018. Visit Harpoon St. Patrick's Festival weekend. It begins on March, 18th, 2018. You can have a great time by joining such events as Harpoon Mac & Cheers Challenge, Shamrock Splash, listening to live music and having St. Patrick’s Day food and beer.

2. Savannah, Georgia

It organizes one of the largest parades in the U.S. The St Patrick's Day Parade will start on March 17th , at 10:15 am, whereas St. Patrick's Day celebration is initiated much earlier, on March, 4th , by Public Investiture of the Grand Marshal. The list of events includes greening of fountain, tree planting ceremony, Celtic Cross reception, Mass-Feast of St Patrick's parade, etc.

3. New York City, New York

It hosts the world’s biggest parade with 150,000 people participating and about 2 million more bystanders lining the route along FiLondon, Enfth Avenue. It begins at 11:00 a.m. on March 17. Pay attention: no consumption of alcohol is permitted, people displaying public drunkenness will be removed from the Parade route.

4. Chicago, Illinois

It provides pub crawls and lively parades. One of the world's most famous St. Patrick's Day rituals is dyeing of the Chicago river which turns emerald green. The dyeing starts on March, 17th, at 9:00 am, followed by the Down Town parade at 1:00 pm. You will see plenty of colorful floats waving their green/white/orange flags high, Irish step dancers, marching bands and bagpipers, etc.

5. Hot Springs, Arkansas

It organizes Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, which celebrates the 15th anniversary this year. The events start with a Grand Funk Railroad concert the day before the parade, on March, 16th. The official starter for the 2018 parade will be Jon Heder, who became an overnight sensation due to “Napoleon Dynamite”. If you want to participate in the parade, you can fill in the Form.

St Patrick's day celebration

6. Dublin, Ireland

It is definitely the number 1 place to celebrate St Patrick's Day as here everyone becomes Irish. The 2018 parade theme is “Home is Where the Heart Is”. The list of events includes City Fusion the Festival's in house Community Arts Participation Project, marching bands (La Cañada High School Marching Spartans, The Lumberjack Marching Band, etc.). Dublin star of the stage and screen Liam Cunningham will lead this year’s Festival Parade starting at 12 noon on March, 17th. The celebration will last for 5 days, beginning March, 15th.

7. Montreal, Canada 

It has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a parade since 1824. The 195th Montreal St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at 12:00 p.m. on March, 18th, 2018 and will last for about two hours. The list of events includes floats, marching bands, bagpipes and a giant Saint Patrick figure. You can find Irish pubs in the downtown area that serve St. Patrick’s Day food, beer and Irish coffee with live music.

8. London, England

It marks St Patrick’s Day with fun and great events. The parade starts on March, 18th at Trafalgar Square. You can visit many Irish pubs and drink Guinness, enjoy a traditional Irish celi filled with dances, food, and whiskey beneath the hull of Cutty Sark.

9. Sydney, Australia

It is famous for Paddy’s Markets - the open-air markets that became traditional on St Patrick's Day thanks to Irish migrants. You can also eat and drink beer in Irish-inspired pubs. Another spot is a Green Gathering with local crafts, Irish beverages, Irish dancers and marching bands at Prince Alfred Park. The celebration starts on March, 18th, at 12:00 with a parade.

Top Saint Patrick’s Day Safety Tips

St. Patrick’s Day is originally religious feasting. However, nowadays it is associated with parades and drinking Irish whiskey and beer. According to statistics, 20% of Americans are planning on having a drink to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This can lead to losing your luck.

You may also find luck in short supply if you fail to account for COVID safety protocols. It’s important to consider many elements of your safety. Check out our St. Patrick’s Day tips below:

  • The safest choice for St. Patrick’s Day in 2021 may be to skip some of the traditional celebrations. Consider hosting a small, fun gathering at home or on a patio with friends and family members. You can enjoy the holiday – and its traditional green beer – without putting yourself at additional risk.
  • Check carefully for restrictions and limitations if you plan to travel for the holiday. Keep yourself and your money safe by only making reservations that are refundable and allow cancellation. Or make reservations that only require minimal deposits. Paying upfront for a big trip can be dangerous.

In one of the St. Patrick’s Day reviews, a consumer shares her experience about her canceled trip and the travel company refusing to refund the full price of the adventure that the company canceled. According to the review (#2377904), “Worldstrides finally offered to refund to those affected by this. After waiting 10 weeks for the refund. I only received a small portion of what I paid.

St. Patrick's Day consumer review

  • Enjoy outdoor celebrations. Rather than packing into a crowded pub, take your celebration outside on a spacious patio or enjoy the view from a balcony.
  • If you are enjoying alcoholic beverages, make a plan for how you will get home. Designate a driver for your group who won’t be drinking or be sure you know the best public transportation option. You might also consider simply celebrating within walking distance of home.
  • Avoid crowded locations along parade routes. If your city is hosting a parade, find an area where you won’t be in crush of people. Go a bit out of your way and you can likely watch the parade with social distancing safely.
  • If you are driving, do so defensively. Watch for other drivers who may be intoxicated or distracted and be mindful of pedestrians who might not be aware of their surroundings as they walk.
  • If you are walking, especially after dark or after drinking, walk with others as there is safety in numbers, and travel on well-known streets with ample lighting. Be mindful of cars and their possibly intoxicated drivers.

  • In case of any accident, you can do the following:
    • Call 911.
    • Call the U-M Division of Public Safety and Security on 734-763-1131.
    • File a Police Report.
    • Take Pictures of Accident Scene.

For many excited patrons – the Irish and those who enjoy the Irish traditions – St. Patrick’s Day 2021 is bound to be a fun reprieve from the stress of the typical workweek. Enjoy the atmosphere and the fun of St. Patrick’s Day where you are now or take a road trip to enjoy the holiday somewhere a bit more festive. If you do travel, check out our travel safety tips so that you can enjoy St. Patrick’s Day 2021 safely.

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