St Patrick's Day Parade, Events and Activities for NYC Kids 2009
Even though the St Patrick's Day Parade is NYC's biggest and most popular parade, it's never appealed to me much. Maybe it was the years of working in Mid-Town and seeing the streets littered with plastic beer cups at lunchtime that turned me off. Or the blaring bag pipes and drunken college students might have soured me on it as a kid-friendly event.
But St Patrick's Day is still a great excuse to celebrate Irish culture with some cool events and activities where kids can earn Irish dance steps and music, learn the Irish mother tongue and hunt for leprechauns. Check out some cool St Patrick's Day events and learn about an alternative St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Rather than stare at Irish people marching down the street, how about learning how to become one for a day at the Irish Arts Center's St Patrick's Open Day, on Sunday, March 15. From noon to 5pm this free event will be jam-packed with fun opportunities for kids and adults to enjoy and learn Irish culture. There will be Irish dance and music performances and kids can hear the story of St. Patrick, do arts and crafts, make tin whistles, learn Gaelic, face painting and more. See the full schedule and event details at irishartscenter.org (FREE, but some workshops require pre-registration).
Another cool St Patrick's Day activity is the Leprechaun Hike at the Staten Island Greenbelt. Kids will seek for leprechauns and their pots o' gold while enjoying an easy one mile hike led by Greenbelt educators. Suitable for ages 7 and up. Registration required. Call (718) 351-3450.
If you want to go to a parade and hear bagpipes, try the Brooklyn St. Patrick's Day Parade in Park Slope, a smaller, more family friendly version. Sunday March 15 at 1pm. saintpatricksdayparade.com/brooklyn for route.
Then, maybe, head to the Park Slope Chip Shop for some fish and chips.
If you want to go to the 5th Avenue St Patrick's Day Parade, the best spot to watch without the biggest crowds is at the northern end of the parade which starts at 5th Avenue and 44th Street on Tuesday, March 17th at 11am and will work its way up 5th Avenue to 86th St.
Bonus tip: Rosetta Stone is offering a free one week trial of their online Irish language courses March 12-19. Sign up here.