How To Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in NYC

The world’s oldest and longest parade turns 260 this year.

St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City
St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City | Steve Edreff/Shutterstock
St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City | Steve Edreff/Shutterstock

As NYC’s historic festivities continue to adapt during COVID-19, this year, New Yorkers can still experience the revelry and tradition of the iconic NYC Saint Patrick’s Day Parade—but just in a different setting. 

Keeping true to our times, on Wednesday, March 17, the St. Patrick's Day Parade organization will host a virtual parade in lieu of the traditional IRL event. According to their website, starting at 10 am, the event will consist of a “composite of past parade marching groups,” in addition to a live stream from within the city “honoring a number of select First Responders and Essential Workers” (time has yet to be announced, check their website for updates). At 11 am, the organization’s Facebook will stream a live event featuring political figures, community leaders, and entertainment, along with special greetings from members of the American armed services stationed abroad. And at 7 pm, NBC will air a televised special titled St. Patrick’s Day: A Celebration For All.

Considered to be the world's oldest and largest parade, this year marks the 260th anniversary of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Pre-pandemic, the parade route traveled up Fifth Avenue—beginning on East 44th and ended on East 79th—with 150,000 people marching and drawing an average of 2 million spectators. But in line with other famed city parades such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, virtual live streams have replaced the usual in-person celebration. 

Although the parade experience will be largely different in 2021, New Yorkers can also still take full advantage of plenty of St. Patrick’s Day events and food happenings around the city. 

Bubby's green eggs and house smoked ham
Bubby's green eggs and house smoked ham | Photo by Alexander Stein for Bubby's

Where to Eat

At the legendary Katz’s Deli, customers can order hand-carved corned beef by the pound or purchase the St. Patrick’s Day Special Reuben Package (two full pounds of corned beef or pastrami, Swiss cheese, tangy sauerkraut, and house-made Russian dressing). At chef Diana Manalang’s Long Island City eatery, Little Chef Little Cafe, order corned beef and cabbage through a special dinner plate or sliders, along with Guinness beef stew. On parade day, Bubby’s in Tribeca will offer a special menu featuring green eggs and smoked ham; lamb shepherd's pie; and corned beef and cabbage.

Irish dry stout Guinness
Irish dry stout Guinness | Joaquin Ossorio Castillo/Shutterstock

Where to Drink

With St. Patrick’s Day falling in the middle of the week this year, the Saturday before, March 13, is the day to throw on some green and frolic with friends. With over 50 bars participating throughout most of Manhattan’s neighborhoods, the St. Paddy’s Luck of the Irish Pub Crawl is the perfect excuse to continue a long and messy holiday tradition you might (understandably) be missing through COVID. If bar crawls aren’t your thing, hit up the Kips Bay Irish rock bar, Paddy Reilly’s, for a pint of their only drink on tap: Guinness Beer. And if you’re looking to score a deal in the East Village, McSorley’s Old Ale House, the oldest tavern in the city, offers two house ales for $5.50. 

For a more high-tone option, Event Cruises NYC’s St. Patrick’s Day Cruise offers a boat ride around Manhattan with Irish-style drinks, green beer, and panoramic views of the city. Or for parade day only, book a reservation in advance at The Greens on The Rooftop at Pier 1 for traditional shepherd's pie and their St. Patrick’s Day specialty cocktail, the Irish Whiskey Buck, compliments of Dante.

Chip City's Lucky Charms Cookie
Chip City's Lucky Charms Cookie | Photo Courtesy of Chip City

Where to Get Treats

Magnolia Bakery’s signature St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes are available by the dozen. Cookie destination Chip City is offering a special Lucky Charms cookie available at all 6 of their locations, while Upper West Side eatery Good Enough To Eat has a Lucky Charms Cake with Irish Cream frosting coated with the marshmallow cereal. And at Black Tap in SoHo, go for the very adult Jameson Irish Coffee Classic Shake with vanilla ice cream, coffee, and Jameson with a cherry on top.

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Izzy Baskette is an editorial assistant at Thrillist.