Every March 17th, various locations around the world commemorate the life and death of St. Patrick (385-461 AD) with feasts, parades, parties, and festivities. The Irish have observed this date for more than 1,000 years, but the holiday is also revered in America, Japan, Singapore, Russia, and other countries where Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, and Lutherans are found.
For New York City’s Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is about more than celebrating the man who once explained the Holy Trinity using a shamrock or “expelled the snakes” from Ireland. It’s about recognizing the struggle of Potato Famine immigrants in America and how they overcame stereotypes and racial prejudice to gain acceptance in the New World.
But, as the saying goes, “Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!” The food, music, dancing, and culture have much to offer revelers. Here are some of the more family-friendly events taking place around New York City this weekend.
When: Saturday, March 16 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Fifth Avenue, from 44th Street to 79th Street (ideally the calmer North End, with kids)
While it’s not technically on St. Patrick’s Day itself, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one of the “10 Best St. Patrick’s Day Events in the Country,” as Country Living calls it. The St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan is not just the oldest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States (dating back to 1762); it’s also the first St. Patrick’s Day parade anywhere in the world. Today the NYC procession is still the biggest, with roughly 150,000 marchers and 2 million spectators. If you can’t make it, you can also stream the parade live on nbcnewyork.com.
Park Slope, Brooklyn
When: Sunday, March 17th at 1:00 pm
Where: Prospect Park West and 15th Street to Seventh Avenue and Garfield Place
The first Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade was founded by Irish American Parade Committee members whose forefathers fought in the Battle of Brooklyn. Following a Re-dedication Ceremony for the victims of 9/11, the beloved local parade has enough bag-piping, step-dancing, decked-out dogs, and leprechauns for the whole family. Also of note: for the first time in the parade’s 44-year history, LGBTQ marchers will be included in the procession. If you can’t make it to this parade, you can also try Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 24th.
When: Sunday, March 17th from 1:30 – 4:30 pm
Where: Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 11368
Cost: Free activity with admission ($8 adults, kids under 18 free)
Chase the rainbow and welcome spring with a gentle, holiday-appropriate activity. Families are invited to create rainbow suncatcher crafts together, while listening to fun stories about the natural spectrum of colors every hour starting at 1:30. All drop-in workshops are free and open to the public, with no need to register in advance.
Upper West Side, Manhattan
When: Sunday, March 17th from 10:00 am – 4:45 pm
Where: The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024
Cost: Included with admission ($14 for adults and children over 1 year of age)
CMOM is hosting a variety of fun events for St. Patrick’s Day, including:
- “Green Takeover” (All day) – Kids ages 6+ make art using the color green.
- “Clover Green Mural Wall” (12:00 – 12:45 pm) – Kids under 6 finger-paint a clover green mural.
- “Lucky Leprechaun Hats” (1:00 – 1:45 pm) – Kids under 6 make hats and learn about traditions.
- “Jewelry Design Workshop” (2:00 – 2:45 pm & 3:00 – 3:45 pm) – Kids 6+ make felt and bead jewelry.
Due to limited space, sign-up is required for the jewelry-making class hosted by guest artist Kendra Pariseault. As always, CMOM provides five floors of fun and discovery for kids of all ages.
When: Saturday, March 16th from 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Where: St. Patrick’s Youth Center, 268 Mulberry Street
It’s no secret rowdy drinkers love St. Patrick’s Day. If you want to be sure your children aren’t exposed to bad behavior, you can head down to this family-friendly “sober” celebration. Here you’ll enjoy all the same classic Irish entertainment. This year’s attendance includes seven-time All-Ireland champion button accordion player John Whelan, five-time All-Ireland champion fiddler Brian Conway, the Donny Golden School of Irish Dancers, and a number of accomplished singers. Tickets to this popular event always sell-out in advance, so get yours today!
When: Sunday, March 17th from 9:00 – 10:00 am
Where: Taste Buds Kitchen, 109 W. 27th Street
Cost: $45 per parent/child pair
Want to bake with your child, but hate the mess in your kitchen? Taste Buds Kitchen is whipping up St. Patty’s Day Rainbow Cupcakes, with a tutorial geared toward little bakers ages five to eight and their parents. Learn the secret of perfect cupcake batter, practice your frosting skills, and enjoy an outing that is as delicious as it is colorful.
When: Sunday, March 17th at 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm, or 3:30 pm
Where: Merchant’s House Museum, 29 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003
Cost: Included with admission ($15 adults, $10 for students, free for children under 12)
Older kids may appreciate a back-stairs tour of the only fully-preserved 19th Century family home. Experience the Merchant’s House through the eyes of Irish immigrants who worked as domestic servants for the Tredwell family. The servant’s quarters on the fourth floor are the oldest intact site of Irish habituation in New York City. Tredwell servant Bridget Murphy leads you back through time, treating your family to beautiful singing and celtic harp.
While you’re here, check out our 5 Favorite Irish Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day. You may also contact Shine for more information on events, parties, and festivities; sign up for one of our popular classes or workshops; take a guided field trip with us; or hire us to entertain at your next party.