Whether you’re ready for it or not, St. Patrick’s Day is upon us again. Everyone’s favorite Irish holiday brings plenty of opportunities for camaraderie, corned beef and craft beer, so naturally, we rounded up the best ways to celebrate!
The 167th annual San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival will draw more than 5,000 people this year, and is easily the largest St. Patty’s Day event in the region. But if you’d like to avoid the crowds, there are plenty of other events worth attending throughout the Bay Area, including beer festivals, cocktail classes, dances, family-friendly events, and more. So don your best green outfit, get out there and have fun!
When: March 3 – April 15 | Where: Various Locations
Founded in 2004, The Irish American Crossroads Festival celebrates Irish culture through musical, literary and cultural events. The festival lasts for nearly two months in venues throughout the Bay Area, and invites the public to come together in the spirit of celebration, cultural enlightenment and learning. Check the Facebook page for event updates.
When: March 9, 7:30 p.m. | Where: United Irish Cultural Center
Come enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day performance with Irish music, song and dance. An Irish Hooley is a “boisterous party,” and a wonderful tradition celebrating the joys of the nation’s heritage and culture. Audiences young and old will be able to witness and enjoy traditional dances through the centuries, and even up to modern times.
When: March 16, 4 p.m. | Where: Taverna Aventine
Graphic courtesy of Taverna Aventine
You might have visited Taverna Aventine for a delicious, soul-warming Italian meal, but this is also the spot to be for St. Patrick’s Day. Each year, the restaurant hosts a lively party in the alley outside the restaurant, and it’s something that locals look forward to every year. Admission is free, and guests will have access to bites from a local food truck, tunes from DJ Zhaldee, a raffle giveaway, a treasure hunt and drink specials. Don’t miss it!
When: March 16, 6-11:30 p.m. | Where: Ambrose Hall at Shannon Community Center
The annual Dublin St. Patrick’s Day weekend festivities are nothing short of legend in the Bay Area, and it all kicks off with the Green and White Gala! The event is hosted by the Dublin Sister City Association, and includes an Irish happy hour, a grand dinner buffet, and plenty of dancing. The dress code is cocktail party attire, but you would definitely get bonus points for wearing green.
When: March 17, 10 a.m. | Where: The Hiller Aviation Museum
Photo courtesy of the Hiller Aviation Museum
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… flying leprechaun? The Hiller Aviation Museum will host a sky-high event featuring free face painting, a jump house for the little ones, special exhibits in the museum’s gallery, games and more! At 11 am, gather outside to watch a bit of leprechaun magic as the museum’s own leprechaun leaps from an airborne helicopter and descends in style. Children wearing green will receive a special parachute toy to commemorate the occasion (and will be safe from pinching).
When: March 17, noon-midnight | Where: The Irish Bank
On St. Patrick’s Day, the alleys surrounding the Irish Bank will be closed off for a grand and green festival! Live music will begin at noon and continue until midnight, and admission is just $10. Expect Irish folk tunes from the Watch, the Shams and the Quiet Men.
When: March 17, 4:30 p.m. | Where: The Culinary Institute of America
The Irish are graced with a wide array of intriguing beverages and flavors, but here in California, we are experts at cocktail mixing! Head up to the Culinary Institute of America in Napa for this boozy workshop, where you’ll taste and discover the rich traditional spirits of Ireland. Learn how to make Irish Cream at home, mix up an Irish Shandy with fresh California citrus, and finish off the class with a piping hot cup of Irish coffee.
When: March 17, 9 a.m. | Where: St. Patrick Church
Photo courtesy of St. Patrick’s Church
Start the day off with a beautiful service in one of San Francisco’s most historic churches. Aptly named for the holiday, St. Patrick Church has served the community for centuries and is steeped in Irish tradition. The elegant architecture is accented by the Irish national colors, and each of the patron saints of the 32 counties of Ireland are proudly showcased in the Tiffany-style stained-glass windows.
When: March 17, 11:30 a.m. | Where: Civic Center Plaza
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival will celebrate its 167th year in 2018, and there’s definitely a reason the event has been successful for so many years. The event kicks off with a gigantic parade that winds through the streets near Civic Center Plaza, and continues with a day of Irish history and culture. The largest St. Patrick’s Day event west of the Mississippi is expected to draw more than 5,000 participants from all over the region — don’t be the one to miss out!
When: March 17, 1-5 p.m. | Where: The Fairfax Pavilion
If you’d rather celebrate St. Patty’s day with craft beer than with green beer, then this event was made for you. Enjoy a selection of more than 70 innovative beers rom over 24 craft breweries, live music, delicious bites and more. Participating breweries include big California names like Sierra Nevada Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing and Stone Brewing Company, but you’ll also find Crabbie’s, East Brother Beer Co. and more.
When: March 17, 2-10 p.m. | Where: Mayes Oyster House
Hop between nearly 20 bars for this fabulous Irish pub crawl! A ticket will earn you free entry into all of the bars listed and killer drink specials once you get in (think: $3 beers, cocktails and more). You can start the crawl at Mayes Oyster House (1233 Polk Street) or Rouge (1500 Broadway), but other than that, there are no rules. Wear your green and have fun!
When: March 17, 3:30 p.m. | Where: United Irish Cultural Center
If you’re going to celebrate Irish traditions, you can’t leave out the cuisine! Stop by the United Irish Cultural Center for a feast featuring your favorite Irish food — corned beef and cabbage. After the meal, enjoy live music and dancing!
When: March 17, 9 p.m. (Doors at 8 p.m.) | Where: The Chapel Bar
When the sun goes down, the Chapel Bar lights up. This hot spot is a favorite gathering place for locals looking to catch an intimate performance from admired acts from the region and around the country. On St. Patrick’s Day, the venue will host Zoo Station, a U2 cover band that knows how to keep crowds dancing. Since 2001, the talented group has been performing the classics across North America, and although they are excellent at covers, they also add a few fun twists of their own you won’t want to miss.
When: March 18, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. | Where: United Irish Cultural Center
Keep the festivities going post-St. Patty’s day with the 45th Avenue Block Party! The family-friendly event will include Irish music and dance, entertainment and games for the little ones, vendor booths and food!
When: March 17, 7 a.m.- 5 p.m. | Where: Dublin, California
If you can’t actually be in Dublin, Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day, this is the next best thing. Dublin, California goes all out for the holiday, hosting a full weekend of celebratory events. On Saturday, the festivities kick off at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at Fire Station #16. Once you’ve had your fill, enjoy the Dublin Lions Club Parade, which will wind through the city starting at 9:30, and enjoy a day-long party complete with vendor booths, bagpipes, and plenty of green! You won’t want to miss it.
When: March 18, 8:30 a.m. | Where: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dublin
Don your green and pull those sneakers out of the closet, because this is one race you’ll want to run. The 20th Annual Shamrock 5K Fun Run and Walk concludes Dublin’s weekend events and typically includes more than 2,000 participants. Run 3.1 miles through the city with your costumed comrades, and enjoy a post-race celebration with refreshments, entertainment and more.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Where will you be celebrating this year? Let us know in the comments!