St. Patrick’s Day in Boston | A Celebration of Irish Heritage

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many parts of the world, it holds a special significance in Boston, a city with deep Irish roots. This post will take you on a journey through the history, traditions, and unique features of St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

The Significance of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is more than just a holiday; it’s a symbol of pride and heritage for the Irish community. It’s a day to honor St. Patrick, who played a crucial role in bringing Christianity to Ireland. But in Boston, St. Patrick’s Day takes on an even deeper meaning.

With its rich Irish history and large Irish-American population, Boston turns into a hub of vibrant celebrations, making it one of the best cities in the U.S. to experience this holiday.

St. Patrick’s Day in Boston: A Unique Experience

Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are renowned for their scale and spirit. The city is awash with green as residents and visitors alike don their best emerald attire, Irish flags flutter from buildings, and the scent of corned beef and cabbage fills the air.

From lively parades and concerts to traditional Irish music sessions and special events at local pubs, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate Saint. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

St. Patrick’s Day in Boston

History of St. Patrick’s Day in Boston

1. Irish Roots in Boston

Boston has a rich Irish history, with the first Irish immigrants arriving in the city as early as the 17th century. Over the years, the Irish community in Boston has grown and flourished, making significant contributions to the city’s culture, politics, and society.

Today, Boston boasts one of the highest percentages of Irish descendants in the U.S., making Saint. Patrick’s Day is a major event in the city’s calendar.

2. St. Patrick’s Day: A Boston Tradition

Saint. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Boston date back to 1737 when the Charitable Irish Society organized the first observance of the holiday in the American colonies. The event was not a parade, but a feast and religious service.

The first Saint. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston wasn’t held until 1901. Since then, the parade has become a beloved tradition, drawing crowds of up to one million people.

3. Evolution of the Celebrations

Over the years, Boston’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations have evolved to reflect the changing times. In the early years, the holiday was a solemn occasion marked by religious ceremonies.

However, as the Irish community in Boston grew, the celebrations became more festive. Today, Saint Patrick’s Day in Boston is a lively event featuring a grand parade, music concerts, cultural events, and plenty of green beer.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston

1. A Grand Parade

The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is undoubtedly the highlight of the holiday in Boston. This grand event, held annually in South Boston (or “Southie” as locals call it), is one of the largest Saint. Patrick’s Day parades in the country.

The parade route winds through the streets of Southie, featuring marching bands, bagpipers, Irish dancers, colorful floats, and military units.

2. The Parade Route

The parade kicks off at the Broadway ‘T’ Station and ends at Andrew Square. Along the way, the parade passes by several iconic South Boston landmarks, offering spectators plenty of great viewing spots.

The atmosphere is festive and lively, with spectators dressed in green, waving Irish flags, and cheering on the parade participants.

3. A Celebration of Irish Culture

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is more than just a fun event; it’s a celebration of Irish culture. From traditional Irish music and dance to the display of Irish symbols on floats, the parade is a showcase of Ireland’s rich cultural heritage. It’s a day when everyone is a little bit Irish!

Dropkick Murphys: The Soundtrack of St. Patrick’s Day in Boston

1. The Band’s Connection to the Holiday

The Dropkick Murphys, a Celtic punk band formed in Quincy, Massachusetts, has become synonymous with Saint Patrick’s Day in Boston. Known for their energetic performances and Irish-inspired tunes, the band has a tradition of playing a series of shows in Boston leading up to Saint Patrick’s Day. These concerts are a highlight of the holiday celebrations, drawing fans from around the world.

2. Annual Performances

Every year, the Dropkick Murphys put on a week of shows in Boston around St. Patrick’s Day. These concerts, known as their “St. Patrick’s Day Tour,” are some of the most anticipated events of the holiday.

The band plays a mix of their hits, traditional Irish songs, and covers of other punk bands, creating a festive and lively atmosphere.

3. A Boston Tradition

The Dropkick Murphys’ St. Patrick’s Day concerts have become a beloved tradition in Boston. The band’s local roots and Irish influences make them the perfect soundtrack for the holiday.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to their music, attending a Dropkick Murphys concert is a unique way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

St. Patrick’s Day in Boston

Expectations for St. Patrick’s Day 2024 in Boston

1. Anticipated Events

As we look forward to St. Patrick’s Day 2024 in Boston, we can expect the city to uphold its tradition of grand celebrations. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will likely be the centerpiece of the festivities, with thousands of spectators lining the streets of Southie to enjoy the spectacle. We can also anticipate a series of concerts by the Dropkick Murphys, adding to the festive atmosphere.

2. Changes to Look Out For

While the core traditions of St. Patrick’s Day in Boston remain the same, each year brings its unique elements. For 2024, we might see new floats in the parade, special events at local pubs, and perhaps even some surprise performances.

3. Celebrating Safely

In light of the ongoing global situation, it’s also important to consider safety measures. While we all hope for a return to normalcy by 2024, some events may still require precautions such as social distancing or mask-wearing. Be sure to stay updated on the latest guidelines and regulations as the holiday approaches.

Boston Bars on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day in Boston wouldn’t be complete without a visit to some of the city’s famous Irish pubs. Here are a few popular bars that go all out for the holiday:

  1. The Black Rose
  2. Emmets Pub
  3. J.J. Foley’s
  4. The Burren
  5. McGreevy’s

Each of these bars offers a unique St. Patrick’s Day experience, from live Irish music to traditional food and drink specials.

1. Special Offerings

Here’s a table summarizing what you might expect at each bar:

BarSpecial Offerings
The Black RoseLive Irish music, traditional Irish breakfast
Emmets PubIrish-themed food and drink specials
J.J. Foley’sWarm and cozy atmosphere, hearty Irish meals
The BurrenLive music, wide selection of Irish beers
McGreevy’sSports bar vibe, extensive beer list

Remember, St. Patrick’s Day is a popular holiday in Boston, so these bars can get crowded. Plan ahead and arrive early to secure a spot.

Experiencing St. Patrick’s Day in Boston

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, experiencing St. Patrick’s Day in Boston is a unique and memorable event. Here are some tips and recommendations to make the most of the holiday:

1. Plan Your Day

St. Patrick’s Day in Boston is packed with events. From the parade to concerts and pub specials, there’s a lot to see and do. Start by checking the schedule of events and decide which ones you’d like to attend. Remember, some events may require tickets, so plan accordingly.

2. Dress in Green

Don’t forget to wear green! It’s a St. Patrick’s Day tradition and a fun way to show your holiday spirit. Whether it’s a green shirt, hat, or even green shoes, you’ll fit right in with the festive crowd.

3. Try Traditional Irish Food

Boston’s Irish pubs offer a variety of traditional Irish dishes, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t miss the chance to try corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, or Irish stew.

4. Enjoy the Music

From the Dropkick Murphys’ concerts to live music in pubs, St. Patrick’s Day in Boston is filled with the sounds of traditional Irish tunes and modern hits. Take the time to enjoy the music and maybe even learn a few Irish dance steps!

5. Be Respectful

While St. Patrick’s Day is a day of celebration, it’s also a cultural and religious holiday for many. Be respectful of the traditions and the people who are celebrating their heritage.

Events and Places in Boston

St. Patrick’s Day in Boston is filled with a variety of events and places to visit. Here’s a list of some you might want to check out:

1. Events

  1. St. Patrick’s Day Road Race in Southie: This annual race is a fun way to kick off the holiday. Whether you’re a runner or a spectator, it’s a great event to be a part of.
  2. Harpoon Brewery’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival: Enjoy a selection of beers and join in the festivities at Harpoon Brewery’s annual event.

2. Places to Visit

  1. Cathedral of Holy Cross: Visit this beautiful cathedral for a moment of quiet reflection amidst the holiday’s festivities.
  2. The Lenox Hotel: If you’re visiting from out of town, consider staying at The Lenox Hotel, known for its Irish hospitality.
  3. Irish Heritage Trail: Explore this trail to learn more about the Irish-American history of Boston.
  4. Various Irish Pubs: Visit pubs like The Black Rose and Emmets Pub to enjoy traditional Irish food and drink.
  5. Various St. Patrick’s Day Events: Check out the various events happening around the city, such as concerts, pub crawls, and more.

Related Post

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  4. Are Schools Closed on St. Patrick’s Day?


St. Patrick’s Day in Boston is a vibrant celebration of Irish heritage, filled with music, parades, and plenty of green. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, participating in the festivities is a unique and memorable experience. From the grand St. Patrick’s Day Parade to the lively concerts by the Dropkick Murphys, there’s something for everyone.

Remember, while the holiday is a time of celebration, it’s also a time to honor the rich Irish culture and history that is so integral to Boston. So, wear your green, enjoy the traditional Irish fare, and immerse yourself in the music and merriment of St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

We hope this guide helps you navigate the holiday and make the most of the celebrations. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Is St Patrick’s Day a big deal in Boston?

The parade also celebrates Evacuation Day, marking the day when British troops left the city for good during the American Revolution on March 17, 1776. Massachusetts might be the second-most Irish state in the country, but Boston is still ranked the number-one city in America to celebrate the Celtic festivity.

What is there to do on Saint Patrick’s Day in Boston?

You can also raise a glass of Guinness while listening to traditional Irish music on a sightseeing cruise around the Harbor. Or explore Boston’s Irish heritage along the Irish Heritage Trail, watch the Celtics play at TD Garden, or stop by Harpoon for some house-made Irish specialties and of course their special brew.

When did Boston first celebrate St Patrick’s Day?

Bostonians were the first to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in North America. On March 17, 1737, as a gesture of solidarity among the city’s new Irish immigrants, Boston’s Irish community joined together in festivities of their homeland and to honor the memory of the below Patron Saint of Ireland.

Why is St Patrick’s Day so popular in Boston?

St. Patrick’s Day is indirectly observed as an official holiday in Boston, as it coincides with the official Evacuation Day holiday observed annually since 1901 to commemorate the day in 1776 when British troops ended their occupation of Boston. A large St. Patrick’s Day parade is held in South Boston, Massachusetts.