Shamrock glasses — Photo courtesy of City of Dublin St. Patrick's Day may have begun as a celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, but it has morphed into a day synonymous with green beer and parades in the United States. Families flock to these 10 best parades throughout the U.S. to be a part of the festivities.
1. Dublin City, Ohio: With a name like Dublin, you know the parade must be purely Irish. Fit for the family, this city starts the day with a pancake breakfast. Then join in to watch the floats inflate at the annual Inflation Celebration.
2. Washington D.C.: A carnival, complete with rides and games, comes with the St. Patrick's Day celebration in Washington, D.C., known as the National ShamrockFest. Here, you'll find the Irish Village, home to stages hosting bands and DJs. Meanwhile, a two-hour parade marches down Constitution Avenue.
3. St. Louis: From the Ballpark Irish Village, home to all things Irish, to the parade itself, you'll find families enjoying this day of being green. Entertainment, food and beverages are Irish-themed, and the festivities begin at a kid-friendly 9 a.m. The parade itself starts at noon and is a festive environment.
4. Boston: The South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade is attended by families who call this neighborhood home, as well as visitors who flock to catch a glimpse of the floats. With a large Irish population in Massachusetts and a high concentration of Irish descendants calling "Southie" home, you can't get much more authentic without heading to Ireland.
5. Chicago: When a city goes as far as to dye its river green in honor of the occasion, you know you're in for one spectacular St. Patrick's Day parade. Ideal for families who will love a three-hour event that boasts colorful floats, flags waving in Irish colors, Irish step dancers, bagpipers and entertaining marching bands, this long parade will have everyone talking long after it ends.
6. San Francisco: Enjoy the temperate climate of San Francisco for St. Patrick's Day at the city's annual parade. Kids love watching the decorative floats, marching bands and dancers as they make their way through this hilly city. The Civic Center hosts a family-friendly festival, too.
7. New York City: The Big Apple is home to a huge St. Patrick's Day parade that runs for more than five hours. Running for 254 consecutive years, this parade, like the city itself, is a melting pot of spectators. Families will get a look at bands, dancers, floats and Irish bagpipers marching down Fifth Avenue.
8. Philadelphia: One of the largest and longest running St. Patrick's Days parades, Philly's is tops for Irish cultural fans. It's family-friendly, so you'll find folks of all ages setting up spots early to take in the participating bands, floats, flags and music.
9. Savannah, Ga.: Savannah is home to a three-hour St. Patrick’s Day parade that's more street party than spectator event. Guests to this city should plan ahead, because the historic district hotels have rooms that face the parade route, allowing you and the kids to watch indoors or out.
10. Scranton, Pa.: Start the day with a 10 a.m. mass at St. Peter's Cathedral, then join the hordes of families who line the streets to watch the professional bagpipers, Irish step dancers and musical acts.
Wherever you choose to watch a St. Patrick's Day Parade, be sure to don your green in solidarity with the Irish celebration you're attending.