Arguably the most Irish city in the United States, Boston is proud to throw on a green cap and celebrate it’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 15, at 1 p.m. The parade takes place in Boston’s most Irish neighborhood, South Boston, starting at West Broadway and ending at Dorchester Avenue. It typically lasts about 2-1/2 hours.
1. How did it start? The first celebration of the Evacuation Day or St. Patrick's Day Parade was in 1901. It was held on the 125th anniversary of the day that George Washington and the Continental Army forced the British to end the occupancy of Boston. The parade is organized by the Allied War Veterans' Council of South Boston. This year's Chief Marshal is Kevin Conroy. The parade is listed as the second largest parade in the country, drawing between 600,000 and 1 million people each year.
2. The view. As the parade begins at the Broadway MBTA station, the best viewing spot is to snag any area along Broadway. The heart of the parade sits at East Broadway, where the floats look their best due to the spacious roads and the plethora of families staked out to watch the parade. The parade route heads down E 1st Street before ending at Farragut Road. Here's a quick video of the 2012 parade.
3. The bars. The St. Patrick’s holiday is a day full of excitement and good food, featuring incredible traditional Irish plates including corned beef, corned cabbage, soda bread, potatoes, and shepherd’s pies. Here are three centrally located bars that have a lot of fun with their menus on Boston’s parade day:
- From nachos to crab cakes to steak tips and vegetarian options as well, The Playwright sits on East Broadway. Indulge in green beer and corned beef and cabbage served exclusively on parade day. The Playwright fulfills all of Boston’s Irish needs.
- Another great spot, albeit without the authentic Irish feel, is Salsa's Mexican on Dorchester Street. Last year, live salsa bands played throughout the day and drink specials were served from the bar every minute.
- And the Boston Beer Garden, a neighbor to The Playwright on East Broadway, is another great place to stop by. It has special green beer for Parade Day and a menu full of appetizers, sandwiches, and hot pizzas.
4. The weather. The average temperature high in South Boston for Parade Day is 59 degrees, and the average low is 38. With this snow season, anything is possible, but there are high hopes for sunshine. The current monthly forecast calls for a low of 41 and a high of 55.
5. After the parade. Once the parade ends, a trip through the Irish Heritage Trail is a great way to finish off the day's events. The trail is a 3-mile, self-guided walking tour, starting at the waterfront and ending near Fenway Park, with 20 stops to learn more about famous artists, war heroes, and Irish traditions.