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 the holiday in New York City. After all, everyone in the city feels a wee bit Irish around St. Patrick’s Day. Best of all? Most of these festivities are FREE.
This year, St. Patrick's Day—March 17, 2018—is a Saturday, but festivities begin with a trio of popular parades stepping off on the first weekend of March. In addition to St. Patrick's Day processions in all five boroughs (Queens and Brooklyn have two each), there are stepdancing performances, Gaelic workshops, and kids flicks. If that's not enough, plan to celebrate as a family at one of NYC's many kid-friendly Irish pubs.
Here are our favorite ways to celebrate Irish culture and St. Patrick’s Day with kids in New York City. Sláinte!
Note: We're still updating this piece for 2018, so please check back as the event gets closer.
Be sure to click through to our listings for all the details, including addresses, times, costs, and recommended ages.
St. Patrick's Day Parades
Queens County St. Patrick's Day Parade – Rockaway Beach, Queens
Saturday, March 4
The 42nd 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
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Stilt walkers delight at the St. Patrick's For All Parade. Photo by Josef Piniac via Flickr.
St. Patrick's For All Parade – Sunnyside, Queens
Sunday, March 5
As the name implies, this parade is completely inclusive, allowing everyone in the diverse neighborhood to feel Irish for the holiday. The result is a spirited, multicultural affair that embraces community groups, children's bands, Irish organizations, religious groups, and the LGBT community. FREE
Staten Island's St. Patrick's Day Parade – Staten Island
Sunday, March 5
Head to the isle for this 53rd annual procession, which travels through the borough's West Brighton neighborhood on Forest Avenue. Viewing stands are positioned at Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church. FREE
Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Throggs Neck, the Bronx
Sunday, March 12
The 19th annual Throggs Neck Benevolent Association's celebration starts with Mass at St. Benedict's Church followed by a complimentary breakfast in the church hall. A parade around the Bronx neighborhood and a party celebrating Irish heritage round out the day. FREE
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Bagpipers march their way up Fifth Avenue in the nation's oldest and largest St. Patrick's Day parade. Photo by Zack Weinberg via Flickr.
NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade – Manhattan
Friday, March 17
Manhattan's procession, which dates 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 rowdyism but these days it isn't nearly as wild. There still are 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
Brooklyn St. Patrick's Day Parade – Park Slope, Brooklyn
Sunday, March 19
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
Bay Ridge St. Patrick's Day Parade – Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Sunday, March 26
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
Craic Fest: Kids Film Fleadh – Chelsea
Saturday, March 5
Celebrate all things Irish at the Craic Fest's annual family day, which features award-winning short films, Irish stepdancing, storytelling and complimentary tea, coffee, scones, and goodie bags.
Enjoy a stepdancing workshop at the Irish Arts Center's open house. Photo courtesy of the venue.
St. Patrick's Day Open House – Midtown West
Sunday, March 12
The Irish Arts Center's annual fete comes alive with authentic music and dance performances. Families are invited to 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
Lovable Leprechauns, Fairies and Fun from the Emerald Isle – Staten Island
Tuesday, March 14
Head to the Richmond Town Library for an afternoon storytime focused on all the magical, holiday-themed characters. You'll hear about mischievous leprechauns and magical fairies and play some games. FREE
St. Patrick's Day Crafts – Kingsbridge, the Bronx
Thursday, March 16
The Kingsbridge Library hosts an afternoon of holiday-themed craft activities. FREE
Irish New York Walking Tour – Financial District
Saturday, March 18
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, and other Irish lore while visiting historic sites.
Find out about other great NYC cultural events in our Event Calendar.
This post, originally published in February 2009, is updated annually.
Stepdancers at the St. Patrick's For All Parade in Sunnyside. Photo by Josef Piniac via Flickr.