The big St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the many things to do in NYC to celebrate the holiday. Photo by Shinya Suzuki via Flickr
The big St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the many things to do in NYC to celebrate the holiday. Photo by Shinya Suzuki via Flickr

St. Patrick's Day in NYC: Parades and Family-Friendly Events to Celebrate

If your days of celebrating until you're green around the gills on St. Patrick's Day are a distant memory, don't worry: There are plenty of kid-friendly ways to mark St. Patrick's Day in NYC this March. After all, everyone feels a wee bit Irish around the holiday. Best of all? Most of these festivities are FREE.

This year St. Patrick's Day falls on a Tuesday, but you can start celebrating early at popular parades in Sunnyside, Queens, on Sunday, March 1, and in the Rockaways on Saturday, March 7. On St. Patrick's Day itself, the big Midtown Manhattan parade kicks off at 11am. In addition to St. Patrick's Day processions in all five boroughs, there are family fests, step-dancing performances (and lessons), plus Gaelic workshops and kids flicks.

Here are our favorite ways to celebrate Irish culture and St. Patrick's Day in NYC. Sláinte!

Be sure to click through to our listings for all the details, including addresses, times, costs, and recommended ages.


Delight at the St. Patrick's For All Parade. Photo by Josef Piniac via Flickr

St. Patrick's Day Parades

St. Patrick's For All Parade – Sunnyside, Queens
Sunday, March 1
As the name implies, this parade is completely inclusive, allowing everyone in the diverse neighborhood to feel Irish for the day. The result is a spirited, multicultural affair that embraces community groups, children's bands, Irish organizations, religious groups, and the LGBTQ community. FREE

Staten Island's St. Patrick's Day Parade – West Brighton, Staten Island
Sunday, March 1
Head to the isle for this 56th annual procession, which travels through the borough's West Brighton neighborhood on Forest Avenue. Viewing stands are positioned at the Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church. FREE

Queens County St. Patrick's Day Parade – Rockaway Beach, Queens
Saturday, March 7
The 45th anniversary of this annual Queens parade struts down Rockaway Beach Boulevard with plenty of pageantry, connecting the Irish enclaves of Belle Harbor and Rockaway Beach. St. Camillus School hosts a post-parade awards ceremony. FREE


The Throggs Neck St. Patrick's Day Parade is a celebratory affair. Photo by Elizabeth Roche
 

Throggs Neck St. Patrick's Day Parade – Throggs Neck, the Bronx
Sunday, March 15
The Throggs Neck Benevolent Association presents its 22nd annual St. Patrick's Day parade. The celebration starts with a mass at St. Benedict's Church, followed by a complimentary breakfast in the church hall. A procession around the Bronx neighborhood and a party celebrating Irish heritage round out the day. FREE

Brooklyn St. Patrick's Day Parade – Park Slope, Brooklyn
Sunday, March 15
This small, family-friendly parade features bagpipers and lots of local Irish charm. The procession participates in a rededication ceremony for the victims of 9/11 at Prospect Park West and 15th Street. From there, it makes a loop to Seventh Avenue, where it goes to Garfield Place, then returns to Prospect Park West, and marches back to 15th Street. FREE

RELATED: March GoList: Best Things To Do This Month


Bagpipers make their way up Fifth Avenue in NYC at the nation's oldest and largest St. Patrick's Day parade. Photo by Rachel Clarke via Flickr

NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade – Manhattan
Tuesday, March 17
Manhattan's procession, which dates back to 1762, is the biggest and oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in the United States. It is full of pomp, pageantry, blaring bagpipes, and countless enthusiastic spectators. Years ago, the parade had a reputation for rowdiness, but these days it isn't nearly as wild. There are still huge crowds and a few tipsy revelers. If you're bringing kids, watching at the northern end, where it's typically calmer, is your best bet. FREE

Bay Ridge St. Patrick's Day Parade – Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Sunday, March 22
The intimate Bay Ridge parade marches down Third Avenue after mass at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church. Kids can have shamrocks painted on their faces, too. FREE

Other St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

FunikIJam's SHENANIGANS: Irish Celebration! – Midtown West
Sundays, March 1-22
Join the Agents of Jam on a special St. Paddy's Day-themed mission to discover all the magic of the holiday, from leprechauns to rainbows and pots of gold. You'll bop to a lively mix of music and witness a performance by special guest Irish dancers.

Family Fun Series: Irish Dance – Downtown Brooklyn
Saturday, March 7
Why simply watch Irish dancing when you can try your hand (or feet) at learning the steps? The Mark Morris Dance Group invites you to its Family Fun Series, where it teaches you basic steps for solo dances as well as group numbers.

Craic Fest: Kids Film Fleadh – Chelsea
Saturday, March 14
Celebrate all things Irish at the Craic Fest's annual family day, which features award-winning short films and Irish step dancing. Organizers ask that you not bring children under the age of 5.

RELATED: Winter Fun List: 50 Things To Do Indoors With NYC Kids


Enjoy a step-dancing workshop at the Irish Arts Center's open house. Photo courtesy of the venue

St. Patrick's Day Open House – Midtown West
Saturday, March 14
The Irish Arts Center's annual fete comes alive with authentic music and dance performances. Families can sample more than 40 adult and children's classes. There are arts and crafts, crowd-pleasing face painting, and plenty of Irish culture to soak up. FREE

The same org also hosts its annual St. Patrick's Citywide Book Day on Tuesday, March 17. The Center pays homage to Ireland's rich literary history by giving out free books by Irish—and Irish American—authors. See our listing for locations to collect your FREE tome.

Irish New York Walking Tour – Financial District
Saturday, March 14
Best for tweens and older, this two-hour tour explores the former "Little Ireland" on the Lower East Side, once home to more Irish than Dublin. You'll learn why St. Patrick's Day is more popular in NYC than in Ireland, plus lots of Irish lore while visiting historical sites.

Sober St. Patrick's Day
Tuesday, March 17
After the Midtown Parade, head to the St. Patrick's Youth Center for this all-ages alcohol-free celebration featuring Irish champion accordion and fiddle players, step-dancing performances, and tasty eats.

This post, originally published in February 2009, is updated annually. Katie Nave Freeman contributed additional reporting.