St Patrick's Day 2020: What's On In NYC?

By Dom Bewley

That's right, folks. It's that time of year again. Time to fetch the garish green coat and comically large top hat from the back of the wardrobe. Time to tell yourself that you have at least a little bit of Irish in you. Don't we all, after all? Yes, it's St Patrick's Day. Again. It only feels like yesterday that we were all doing this merry jig. Yet, here we are. 2020. The future is now. Surely St. Patrick, the man himself, would adore the annual debauchery? After all, he was a man of the cloth. So, if you're in New York for St Paddy's, well, you're in luck. Not only is it the greatest city on earth, but it also celebrates the big day like no other. Are you wondering what to do this year? Perhaps worried you'll miss out on all the best entertainment the city has on offer? Well, turn that frown upside down. Research can be mildly irritating. You know that. We know that. That's why we did it all for you. Here are all the wild and wonderful things we found. Read on, for the very best NYC events on St Patrick's Day 2020.

Featuring:

  • New York's timeless parade
  • The best Irish food
  • Drinks that will have you seeing green
  • And coffee to keep you going

St Patrick's Day Parade

5th Avenue

No list would be complete without the obvious, so let's start there. Now in its 254th year, New York's St Patrick's Day Parade predates American Independence from the villainous redcoats. Thousands of people attend the streetside shindig every year, so if you're visiting from another land, why not check it out? If you're thinking of going, here's what you need to know.

When is NYC's St Patrick's Day Parade in 2020?

Tuesday, March 17. The very day of St Patrick's celebrations. Festivities kick off at 11 am, and the parade ends at 5 pm.

Where is the parade?

Starting on 44th Street, the parade then heads up Fifth Avenue. Eventually, it passes St Patrick's Cathedral, and finally ends at East 80th Street, which is the home of the American Irish Historical Society. What an appropriate place to end the parade!

What to see at the parade

Green. Lots of green. Parade floats, marching bands, and more shamrocks than you can shake a green stick at. Also, a lot of people. There are always big crowds for the parade.

Tips for attending the parade

  • Get there early if you want a decent spot. Also, if you move, you're going to lose your space. You'll have a small army of keen, green celebrators right behind you.
  • Avoid driving anywhere near the thing. A road-based event plus a megaton of people equals closed roads, traffic diversions, and plenty of sad, sad drivers. Instead, look to get public transport from wherever you're staying. Or, if you're lucky, simply walk there.
  • In the spirit of the celebrations, St Paddy's can be pretty lively. Many a Guinness and other assorted beverages will likely be imbibed by parade-goers. Bear that in mind if you're bringing your kids.

Go get an authentic Irish meal

While Ireland might be most famous for their potatoes, Irish cuisine has so much more going for it. And, as New York has stacks of Irish heritage,

you'll find a wealth of dining opportunities in the city. So make the most of St Patrick's Day, and go try some. Here are our picks for the best Irish restaurants in town.

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment

Union Square & Times Square

The first thing you'll notice when walking into Lillie's is its lavish decor. Walls adorned with framed pictures and paintings. Period ceiling paneling. Stained glass displays. The whole nine yards. The next thing you'll notice is its delicious menu. There's Chicken Pot Pie, Shepherd's Pie, or Blackened Salmon if you want to warm up. Or, if you're looking for something a little lighter, get Lillie's Cucumber Sandwich with some smoked salmon. Then, wash it all down with a refreshing cocktail, including an entire section dedicated to Old Fashioneds. Nice.

Cronin and Phelan’s

Astoria

Don't let their decidedly Nineties website fool you. Cronin and Phelan's is one of the best Irish spots in New York. Their menu is dripping with twists on Emerald Isle classics too. There's the Reuben Sandwich, which marries corned beef with Russian dressing, sauerkraut and swiss cheese. Broiled fillet of Scrod - that's a small fish to you and me - with Dijon sauce and potatoes. And Irish Nachos, an unusual meeting of cultures that includes Irish bacon, Dubliner cheese, and chips. Sign us up!

Molly’s

Manhattan

Molly's talks a big game, professing to be the 'most authentic Irish bar in New York City'. But as soon as you step inside, it's clear they know what they're talking about. The Tudor-inspired interior is filled with finely crafted wood, Gaelic artwork, and enough personality to fill twenty bars. And their menu? It's something else. Along with classic American cuisine like burgers, wings, and potato skins, they also have an entire section dedicated to Irish delights. Shepherd's Pie, Irish Lamb Stew, Sausage and mashed potatoes, pot pie, corned beef and cabbage. The list goes on. Molly's is simply an unmissable experience if you want authentic Irish cuisine.

...and then get an authentic Irish drink

Multiple venues

What better way to celebrate St Patrick's Day than with a cool, refreshing Irish beverage. There's a large contingent of Irish pubs across New York that will be even more lively on March 17.

On the Upper East Side you've got Doc Watson's, which attests to having the best pint of Guinness this side of the Atlantic. Not only do they have bands playing all day over St Paddy's, but they're only a few minutes from the parade. So if you're going to one, you've no excuse not to go the other. Or you could try McFadden's in Midtown. Every year they hold a pre-parade celebration where you can get unlimited beer and mimosas from 8 am - 12 pm, as well as all you can eat at the breakfast buffet for $35. An absolute steal. You can even head stop by after the parade, as St Patrick's celebrations go on until 4 am. Just book the following day off. No one needs to see you all bleary-eyed, fumbling through spreadsheets the following day.

Alternatively, if you're looking to add a little variety, and a few more steps, to your session, why not check out a Spirits on Foot beer, spirits, and wine pub crawl? Alongside Irish offerings, you'll also stop by watering holes in different parts of the city. Plus, you'll learn a little more about New York's cultural cauldron too.

And get authentic coffee

You may well need one of these the morning after. If you're feeling brave, or simply crave a little hair of the dog, why not start the following day with a gut-warming Irish coffee? Dead Rabbit, in the Financial District, does a mean Irish coffee, mixing Clontarf Irish whiskey, choice beans, and a healthy drizzle of demerara syrup. Or, pick up a Classic Irish Coffee at Ryan's Daughter: coffee, whiskey, and sugar, all topped off a spoonful of cream. Sublime. However, if the hangover is too severe and you're looking for something a little less flammable, why not check out some of our favorite hidden coffee houses?

And that's all you need to make St Patrick's Day 2020 one to remember. Or forget, if you have a few too many whiskeys. Are you celebrating St Patrick's Day in NYC this year? Let us know what you're looking forward to doing in the comments below.

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Crowd in MoMA, New York
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New York museums: free entry with the New York Pass®

New York is home to over 170 top-notch museums in art, architecture, media, natural history, and technology. With your  New York Pass® in hand, you can visit: The Natural History Museum The Guggenheim Museum Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Van Courtland House Museum The Museum of Sex and many more. You'll also enjoy savings of up to 50%, compared to buying individual attraction tickets.   ✈️ Buy The New York Pass® ✈️  Arts museums and galleries 🎨 MoMA PS1 Located in Long Island City, the MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the United States. It's family-friendly, engaging, and packed with vibrant events and installations all year round. 🎨 Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) This iconic, world-leading museum of modern art offers a rich program of exhibitions at 11 West 53rd Street. 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