St. Patrick's Day Events and Free Parades for NYC Kids

St. Patrick's Day Parade Events and Activities in New York City 2016

If your days of celebrating 'til 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 feels a wee bit Irish around St. Patrick’s Day, especially in NYC where we have a large population of Irish folk.

This year, St. Patrick's Day—March 17, 2016— is a Thursday, but festivities begin with a trio of popular parades stepping off on the first weekend in March. In addition to St. Patrick's Day processions in all five boroughs (Queens and Brooklyn actually have two each!), there are step-dancing performances, Gaelic workshops and kid 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!

Click through to our listings for all the details, including addresses, times and recommended ages.

St. Patrick's Day Parades

Queens County St. Patrick's Day Parade – Rockaway Beach
Saturday, March 5
This year marks the 41st anniversary of this annual Queens parade that struts down Rockaway Beach Boulevard, connecting the Irish enclaves of Belle Harbor and Rockaway Beach with plenty of pageantry.

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

St. Patrick's For All Parade – Sunnyside
Sunday, March 6
As the name implies, this Queens parade is completely inclusive, allowing everyone in the diverse neighborhood to feel Irish in honor of the holiday. The result is a spirited multicultural affair that embraces community groups, children's bands, Irish organizations, religious groups and LGBT contingents.

Staten Island's St. Patrick's Day Parade – Staten Island
Sunday, March 6
Head to the isle for this 52nd annual procession, which travels through the borough's West Brighton neighborhood on Forest Avenue, with viewing stands at Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church.

Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade – the Bronx
Sunday, March 13
The 18th 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.

RELATED: Brunch with the Easter Bunny at These NYC Spots

Bagpipers march their way up Fifth Avenue for the largest of NYC's St. Paddy's Day parades. Photo by Zack Weinberg via Flickr.

NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade – Manhattan
Thursday, March 17
Manhattan's procession is the biggest and oldest (since 1762) St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the United States, full of pomp, pageantry, blaring bagpipes and countless enthusiastic spectators. Years ago, the parade had a well-deserved 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 is your best bet because it's typically calmer.

Brooklyn St. Patrick's Day Parade – Park Slope
Sunday, March 20
This small, family-friendly parade features bagpipers and lots of local Irish charm. In 2016, the procession will participate in a rededication ceremony for the victims of 9/11 at Prospect Park West and 15th Street. From there, the procession makes a loop to Seventh Avenue, where it goes to Garfield Place, then returns to Prospect Park West and marches back to 15th Street.

Bay Ridge St. Patrick's Day Parade – Bay Ridge
Sunday, March 20
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.

An Ode to Love is one of the films at Craic Fest's Kids Film Fleadh. Photo courtesy of the filmmaker.

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 step-dancing, storytelling and complimentary tea, coffee, scones and goodie bags.

Step dancing is among the many cultural workshops held during the Irish Arts Center's Open House. Photo courtesy the venue.

St. Patrick's Day Open House – Midtown West
Sunday, March 13
The Irish Arts Center's annual fete features crafts, Gaelic football skills with the Manhattan Gaels, music-making with Stomp and Shout New York and a slew of Irish culture workshops, where kids can learn to play the tin whistle or speak Gaelic.

Irish New York Walking Tour – Financial District
Saturday, March 13, Saturday, March 19
Best for tweens and older, this two-hour tour explores the former "Little Ireland" on the Lower East Side, once home to more Irish folk 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.

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