Community Life

Where Is The Country's Best St. Patrick's Day Celebration?

Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade Credits: Jim Lowney/County of Union
Highest percentage of people claiming Irish descent among the 200 most populous cities in America. Credits: WalletHub
A comparison of beer prices. (New York City finished dead last with the highest prices.) Credits: WalletHub
Credits: WalletHub
Credits: WalletHub

NATIONAL -- St. Patrick’s Day in the America dates back to Revolutionary War times when a group of Irish-born soldiers serving in General Washington's army marched in New York to celebrate their country's patron saint. It was the country's first New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

More than 32 million people in the U.S. claim Irish ancestry (over six and a half times the population of Ireland), and the celebration has evolved to become one of America’s biggest cultural holidays. As the number of Irish descendants grew, so too did American St. Paddy’s Day traditions. New York claims the oldest and largest parade, Chicago gained fame for dyeing its river green, while other places are now known for their elaborate pageants, pub crawls or long processions of marching bagpipers.

Last year, Americans spent almost $6 billion on the holiday, according to WalletHub, a website that offers free credit scores and full credit reports. To determine the best places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, WalletHub compared 200 of the most populated U.S. cities across four key dimensions: 1) St. Patrick’s Day Traditions, 2) Costs, 3) Safety & Accessibility and 4) St. Patrick’s Day Weather forecasts. 

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This year, Chicago ranked as No. 1 on the list, followed by Boston, Philadelphia, Buffalo and New York City, which ranks highly on traditions and safety/accessibility, but had the highest costs.

Rank  City Traditions Costs Safety & Accessibility   Weather  Total Score
1 Chicago 2 29 108 103 70.65
2 Boston 1 145 161 115 70.07
3 Philadelphia 4 61 45 57 68.83
4 Buffalo 10 66 49 30 64.94
5 New York City 3 193 27 36 63.1
6 San Francisco 6 133 121 116 61.75
7 Fort Collins, CO 12 39 87 62 61.1
8 Tampa 9 93 167 36 61.05
9 Madison, WI 16 12 17 169 60.62
10 Pittsburgh 7 144 152 14 60.39

St. Patrick’s Day Traditions (Total Points: 50+)
St. Patrick’s Day Parades
Length of St. Patrick’s Day History (the difference between 2018 and the year when the city's first St. Patrick's Day parade was held)
St. Patrick’s Day Parties & Festivals
Share of Irish Population
Irish Pubs & Restaurants per Capita*

Costs (Total Points: 20)
Average Price for St. Patrick’s Day Party Ticket
Average Beer Price: Triple Weight
Lowest Price of a Three-Star Hotel on St. Patrick’s Day 
Affordable 4+ Star Irish Pubs & Restaurants

Safety & Accessibility (Total Points: 20)
Crime Rate
DUI-Related Fatalities in Motor Vehicle Crashes per Capita
Traffic Congestion

St. Patrick’s Day Weather (Total Points: 10)

Forecasted vs. Average Temperature for St. Patrick’s Day
Forecasted Precipitations for St. Patrick’s Day: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, FBI, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,, Yelp, AccuWeather, and each city’s official page for its St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

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