The luck of the Irish isn’t solely confined to its homeland. While celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the Emerald Isle is certainly an experience worth pursuing, you may be surprised by these other destinations that go gloriously green for the festivities, too. Check out which places around the world channel a little extra Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day—each with its own cultural twists.
A 17th-century Irish Catholic settlement formed deep cultural roots in this Caribbean island known as “the other Emerald Isle”—for this reason, the country’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations still pack a surprisingly large punch. It’s one of the few places in the world besides Ireland where the day has been declared a public holiday, so expect its festivities to take the (pot o’) gold. Montserrat’s 10-day festival (March 10–19 in 2023) also commemorates the country’s first slave rebellion and involves a street parade, lecture series, and several fetes—plus a shamrock-shaped stamp on your passport to boot.
2. Sydney, Australia
For the Southern Hemisphere’s largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration, head to the Land Down Under. In Sydney, the areas of Circular Quay and the Rocks will host this year’s festivities, which are organized around family-fun events and a parade. The area will transform into an Irish village featuring local food vendors, craft stalls, and live musical performances. The 2023 parade kicks off on Argyle Street at 9:30 a.m. First Fleet Park on Sunday, March 19, and culminates in First Fleet Park under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Be sure to look across the water at the Sydney Opera House: It’s lit green for the holiday.
3. Chicago, Illinois
For more than 50 years, the Windy City has celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a colorful tradition: by coloring the Chicago River bright green. On the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, thousands of spectators gather along the river in the morning to watch an environmentally-safe dye change the river’s hues for a few hours. Then, even larger crowds gather for the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade (this year’s iteration took place on March 11, 2023), which features troops of Irish step dancers and bagpipers traveling up Columbus Drive starting at around noon.
4. Montreal, Canada
North America’s most European city has been channeling Ireland on St. Paddy’s Day for ages. The long-standing parade in Montreal has marched on the holiday every year since 1824, sans a single cancellation before 2020. Marching bands, bagpipes, floats, local residents, and even a massive St. Patrick himself commit to three hours of annual festivities, snow or shine. This year, the 198th Montreal St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Sainte-Catherine Street in the downtown area starting at 12 p.m. on March 19. C’est la vie canadienne!
5. New York City
Parade fanatic? Manhattan’s mayhem is the St. Paddy’s place for you. In addition to the Empire State Building turning green for the occasion, the Big Apple goes big with the holiday’s largest parade in the world: the affair attracting some 2 million attendees that features about 150,000 dancers, musicians, and more. Cooler still? This New York City tradition has been in place since 1762, making its run longer than the United States has been a country. This year, the parade starts at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 17, and can be viewed along Fifth Avenue between 44th Street and 79th Street.
6. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo knows how to throw a photogenic costume-filled street party, and the city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are no exception. For its 28th year in Japan’s capital, the Irish-themed parade took place on March 12, 2023, in the Omotesando district (a five-minute walk from Harajuku Station). And for two days the “I Love Ireland Festival” annually comes to Yoyogi Park. This celebration is a couple of days of food, drinking, and overall fun at Asia’s largest Irish festival.
7. London, England
Just a stone’s throw away from the Emerald Isle itself, London doesn’t shy away from St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The annual parade—this year on March 12—kicks off from Hyde Park Corner, in the heart of the city. After passing some of London’s most iconic landmarks, the party continues at Trafalgar Square, where an hours-long entertainment festival hosts live performances by well-known musical acts. Of course, more rambunctious revelers will enjoy special events at various Irish pubs surrounding the square. The London Eye turns into eye candy as well, illuminated with a shamrock hue.
8. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is largely regarded as one of the most Irish cities in the United States, which becomes especially evident every year in March. Check out the spirited St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston on March 19, which attracts more than 1 million spectators annually. From March 16 through March 19, you can also enjoy a live performance by local Celtic punk-rock band the Dropkick Murphys at the House of Blues or the MGM Music Hall at Fenway. The Boston band puts on a weekend of special St. Patrick’s Day concerts every year—prepare to get your world (sham)rocked.
9. Munich, Germany
Germany is another country worth visiting for the holiday. Munich shuts down Leopold Street (Leopoldstrasse) for its St. Patrick’s parade, making way for a green sea of floats and performers bursting with general Bavarian merriment. After a pre-parade affair (involving music and dancers) on Saturday and the parade on Sunday, a street food festival is held in Odeonsplatz, offering international food served to the sounds of live Celtic music performances. Guinness steins are encouraged.
This article originally appeared online in March 2017; it was updated on March 13, 2023, to include current information.
Dana Brindle Dana Brindle is a Kauai-based writer.