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Best St. Patrick’s Day Activities in NYC

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St. Patrick’s Day in the Big Apple is always an exhilarating time with the streets flooded with festive cheer as people sport their green shamrock garb while the pubs serve up their freshest Irish pints. It’s enough to make anyone (even the non-Irish) yell out “Slàinte,” which is a toast to “good health” in Irish.

Whether you’re in the mood for a parade, pub-crawl or family-friendly Irish activity, there’s something for everyone to do in the city during the holiday.

First off there’s the slew of free St. Paddy’s Day parades in all five boroughs, but the oldest one, in its 255th year, will make its way up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 79th Street on Thursday, March 17 starting at 11 a.m. and end around 5 p.m. The grand marshal for this year’s parade is NY Senator George Mitchell. Brooklyn’s Irish American Parade Committee will celebrate the 41st anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn with a St. Paddy’s Day parade, which goes down on Sunday, March 20 starting at 12:45 p.m. The parade will travel from Prospect Park West to Washington Ave between Prospect Park Southwest and Eastern Pkwy and also honor the heroes and victims of 9/11.

Another free family-friendly event is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Open Day taking place at The Irish Arts Center at 553 W 51st Street in Manhattan on Sunday, March 13 at noon. The event celebrating Irish culture features authentic Irish music, dances, craft workshops and tea. Children and their families can learn to play the tin-whistle, get their faces painted and try tap-dancing.

History buffs and those who like to be spooked can head over to the Merchant’s House Museum. They are offering guided tours of the fourth-floor Irish immigrant servants’ quarters of the preserved 19th-century home at 29 E 4th Street in Manhattan on Thursday, March 17 at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The “Spirit of the Irish Candlelight Ghost Tour" also takes place on Friday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. and will delve into the bizarre happenings that occurred to those who died in the house. Admission for the tours are between $10-$30.

For those who want to get a little naughty on St. Paddy’s Day, head down to the Bell House in Gowanus at 149 7th Street in Brooklyn for the Saint Patrick’s Day for Sinners show brought to you by the Wasabassco Burlesque crew. The lineup of dancers includes Varla Velour, Nasty Canasta, Sydni Deveraux, along with special guest stuntman and illusionist Albert Cadabra. There will also be an emerald-underwear contest, which the crowd can get in on. The show begins at 9 p.m. and admission is $20.

Last but not least, if you’re looking to guzzle down a few cold Irish stouts on St. Patrick’s Day, there are plenty of new and old-style Irish pubs in the city. The oldest Irish pub, McSorley’s Old Ale House, is housed at 15 E 7th Street in the East Village. This Irish staple has been in operation since 1854 with light and dark brews on tap. Another old Irish saloon to frequent during the holiday is The Landmark Tavern, which opened its doors in 1868 and has a delectable corned beef sandwich. Molly’s Pub is an Irish establishment off-the-beaten-path located at 287 3rd Ave. The bar/restaurant serves up mouthwatering Irish cuisine, such as shepherd’s pie and Irish lamb stew, and has a wood-burning fireplace all in a setting with sawdust sprinkled on the floor to give it a unique feel. For some authentic live Celtic music and taps that never run out of Guinness, head to Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar at 519 2nd Ave to celebrate with some Irish tunes.

No matter what you decide to do on St. Patrick’s Day in the city that never sleeps, above all, make sure to look out for each other and get home safe. 

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