San Francisco’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade is the largest one on the West Coast. But don't wake up on Sunday, March 17 to see the parade this year, because it's being held Saturday, on the day before the official St. Patrick's Day. This means the biggest pub crawl in town since last year's parade. And the weatherman promises great weather for this weekend.
With over 1 million Bay Area residents of Irish heritage, the 162nd annual parade on Saturday, March 16, 2013 attracts thousands to honor Irish culture: dancing, oral traditions, poetry, music and, of course, plenty of singing, shamrocks and greenery! This year's festivities will be spectacular as they cover the entire weekend.
San Francisco’s notable Irish heritage spans the days of Mayor James Phelan down to fourth-generation resident and former Mayor Gavin Newsom. Whether you enjoy dining at Tadich Grill , listening to great music at the Plough and Stars, or climbing Irish Hill at 22nd and Illinois Street, there’s an abundant cultural presence here even today.
This year 's parade starts downtown at St. Patrick's Church, the first Irish Catholic church in San Francisco, erected in 1841. The parade begins nearby at 2nd and Market street around 11:30 a.m. and concludes at the Civic Center Plaza. This year, the Parade route will be 'alcohol free' so plan for libations later in the day. Word is out, however, that a major pub crawl will be underway in SF's Marina and Union Street areas among others, from March 16 to March 17, to take advantage of the weekend.
Parade: 11:30 a.m. – at 2nd and Market Street, continue up Market to Civic Center
Crossroads Festival: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Civic Center Plaza
After the Parade: Irish atmosphere
For those who are craving a pint of Guinness or just a taste of the auld country after the parade, a short stroll off Market Street toward Union Square will bring you to Johnny Foley’s Irish House at 243 O’Farrell Street. Classic pub grub has been given a makeover, with surprising interpretations like lamb sliders, mussels in Irish whiskey cream, and cheddar potatoes. You’ll enjoy the intoxicating Emerald Isle atmosphere, plus live music in the evening. The Comstock Saloon and Edinburgh Pub are within walking distance as well. See Kathleen Mallory's article link for tips on a free cab ride home this weekend for the over-zealous pub crawler.
Crossroads Irish-American Festival events this month
The 10th annual Crossroads Festival events are held at various neighborhood venues over the next two weeks, and feature poetry, dancing, music and traditional Irish cultural themes. Take in some of the talent around town, or just celebrate the Buena Vista Bar's invention of the Irish Coffee.
Start the St. Paddy's day celebration at the Royal Exchange, a classic pub in the heart of the Financial District, on Friday, March 15 through March 17.
Further afield but worth a walk is O'Reilly's Irish Pub in North Beach where the flavor of Hibernia is alive and well. O'Reilly's is celebrating "the Celtic Woman" this year. They'll offer their special St. Patrick's Day event on March 16 -- a huge block party featuring live music, local step-dancing girls, and more, starting at 2:00 p.m. and continuing into the evening. A Celtic breakfast is also planned, plus more festivities on St. Paddy's Day.
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