St. Patrick’s Day or St. Patty’s Day as it is often referred to, is celebrated on March 17, but in Philly the celebration begins a week prior , kicking off with the Parade. In some cases, St. Patty’s is celebrated most of the month since Philly has a large amount of Irish Bars. In 2016 Philly was voted number four on a list of cities to spend St. Patrick’s Day. For 2017 the parade is scheduled on Sunday March 12 from 12-3 p.m. to surely kick off the week-long celebration. Here are some highlights you can expect at the parade this year and other happenings in the city to celebrate the day when everyone is Irish.
16th Street and JFK Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Date: Sunday, March 12 at 12 p.m.
The parade will be held rain or shine. Like many years it coincides with daylight savings time, so be sure to plan ahead.This is a large parade with over 20,000 participants from 200 different groups. You will get to enjoy your typical parade entertainment such as marching bands and dance groups, as well as various Irish groups.
The city of Philadelphia has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a parade since 1771, which makes it the second oldest parade in the country. This parade is always held the Sunday prior to St. Patrick’s day due to the large amount of participants being engaged in additional St. Patty’s day events. So even if the holiday falls on a Sunday the parade is usually a week prior. The performance area of the parade is between 5th and 7th on Market. This year’s theme is “St. Patrick protect and guide our police officers.”
St. Patrick’s Day is often a week long celebrations (and in some cases month-long at the many Irish Pubs in the city). One regular and beloved happening is the “Running of the Micks,” a pub crawl. Shuttle buses depart various bar locations every 15 minutes from noon to 9 p.m. throughout the city. At 5 p.m. participants attempt to run up the Art Museum steps. This is the biggest bar bus crawl. You can purchase your ticket online and pick them up at Lolie’s Warehouse on 3rd and Willow. Cost is between $15-$30. Participants get access to drink specials.
For a free version you can hope aboard the Erin Express who has been taking beer lovers around the city for nearly 30 years. Both popular bar crawls are typically held just prior to the parade and the weekend before (this year it is on March 4 and 11). The Erin Express runs from 12-6 p.m. and requires no bracelets or money, just hop on board one of their marked green buses.
Morning Mass is at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 20th and Locust at 9:15 a.m. Prior to mass, the Grand Marshall and board members will be led into the church by the Emerald Society Pipe Band. The national anthem of Ireland will be sung and followed by the U.S. anthem. Light refreshments are served after mass at the School Hall.
Laurel Hill Cemetery
3822 Ridge Ave.
Laurel Hill Cemetery is the country’s first rural cemetery so it appeals to history buffs as well as nature lovers. It is not as macabre a place as it name may lend it to be (except perhaps in the fall). The weekend before St. Patty’s. Laurel Hill Cemetery holds its “Tour, Toasts and Tastes” on March 11 at 1 p.m. The Tour details the life and times of the Irish souls resting in the cemetery. Cost is $20 adults, $18 students and seniors, $17 for members which includes beer and Irish food a sampling is provided by the Kearney Kommissary.
Related– Top Irish Pubs in Philadelphia