St Patrick's Day is actually an official Boston (and Suffolk County) holiday because it happens to fall on Evacuation Day, which commemorates the ousting of British troops from the city on March 17, 1776 during the Revolutionary War. Public schools and Suffolk Country government offices will be closed, but virtually all businesses and everything else will be open.
Boston's most famous Celtic punk rock group, the Dropkick Murphys, spends most of their time touring since becoming so popular, but they always return home to Boston to perform concerts St Patrick's Day at House of Blues, near Fenway Park.
Needless to say, the Dropkick Murphys' rollicking performances sell out quickly, but if you're a fan, you'll want to catch one of these concerts.
If you're going to South Boston for the big St Patrick's Day Parade, head over to West 6th Street to cheer on the runners of the St Patrick's Day 5K Road Race, where the first lucky 600 runners to register will be wearing the official long-sleeved race shirts designed by the Dropkick Murphys, one of the race's sponsors.
The South Boston Boys and Girls Club sponsors this race, run each year since 1940. Entrants are capped at 1,750 - so early registration is advised.
The race starts and ends at the South Boston Boys and Girls Club at 230 West 6th Street in South Boston, and follows a 5K (3.1 mile) course.
St Patrick's Week at Lansdowne Pub (9 Lansdowne St, across from Fenway Park) - Live music all week, with an all-day show and plenty of Guinness on March 17 starting at 10am.
A Saint Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn with Brian O'Donovan - Boston's famed radio host welcomes top musicians at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge - More info
The Burren - Traditional Irish music 7 nights each week - plus special Irish sessions, open mics, Irish step-dancing (normally the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month), and appearances by Brian O'Donovan (host of "A Celtic Sojourn) and other Irish music stars. Look for plenty of corned beef and special Irish music all day on St Patrick's Day, March 17 @ The Burren, Davis Square, Somerville. Check the Burren's website for more info
The Black Rose - Irish musicians perform here (160 State Street, Downtown Boston, behind Faneuil Marketplace) every night of the week, and often on Saturday and Sunday afternoons as well. If you've ever experienced the pleasure of a trad session in Ireland, you'll come close to finding the same thing here, along with plenty of Irish craic. The menu features a few Irish specialties, and of course plenty of Guinness at the bar. You can find the current schedule on the Black Rose's website.
Where to Enjoy Irish Food (plus Music & Fun) in Boston
Not surprisingly, you can find some of the best Irish food in Boston in the city's Irish pubs.
They do get packed with Guinness fans during evening hours, but most also serve brunch on the weekend. Here are 5 top places to try:
Lansdowne Pub (9 Lansdowne Street across from Fenway Park) - Go for the Irish Scrambler (shown in photo, brunch only) and house-made Bangers and Mash. Live music on many nights; weekend brunch.
The Kinsale (2 Center Plaza on Cambridge Street, across from City Hall Plaza) - Built in Ireland and shipped to Boston, the Kinsale replicates a real Irish pub. Try the Asgard Burger made with real Irish cheddar, or the Irish Cod. Live music in the bar; weekend brunch.
The Black Rose - (160 State Street, Downtown Boston, next to Faneuil Marketplace) - Order the Irish Breakfast (breakfast menu only) with black and white pudding, or the Shepherd's Pie. Irish music every night of the week, and often on Saturday and Sunday afternoons; weekend breakfast.
Crossroads Irish Pub (495 Beacon Street in Back Bay) - Go for the Full Irish Breakfast or the Dublin Fried Chicken and Extra Thick Waffle (brunch only), or the Sloppy Irish Joe (Shepherd's Pie meets Texas Toast). Monday night trivia; weekend brunch. Look for Manchester United on the big screen.
J.J. Foley's Cafe (117 East Berkeley, in Boston's South End) - Family owned and operated since 1909, JJ Foley's offers a nice selection of Irish ale and cider, along with plenty of Guinness. For a taste of Ireland, order the Fish and Chips, and a side of Irish Brown Bread. For a special Irish treat, save room for dessert and order Banoffi Pie. Sunday brunch.
Stay in a Boston Hotel near an Irish Pub
If you're planning some serious St Patrick's Day celebrating at one or more of our fine Boston Irish pubs, a reservation at a nearby hotel means you'll have no worries about getting home or finding a non-celebrating designated driver.
Best strategy: Think about where you'll be at Last Call, and make a hotel reservation nearby. For example, if you think you'll end up at one of the Irish pubs near TD Garden, make your reservation for conveniently-located The Boxer (shown above).
Here are a few suggestions for hotels in several Boston neighborhoods rich with Irish pubs where you might find yourself at the end of the evening:
Hotels convenient to Irish pubs near Faneuil Marketplace / Downtown
Bostonian Boston Hotel - Lovely hotel with luxurious amenities across from the Green Dragon and Faneuil Marketplace pubs - Find cheapest rates
Harborside Inn - Cozy boutique hotel offering great value near the waterfront and close to The Black Rose and Kitty O'Shea's - Find cheapest rates
Boston's Irish Pubs: More Places to Hear Irish Music
Boston has the best Irish pubs in the world, outside of Ireland - and almost as many to choose from. Thanks to the large number of Boston residents who hail from the Emerald Isle, you'll hear plenty of Irish accents on both sides of the bar in many of these pubs.
Needless to say, St. Patrick's Day is a huge event at Boston's Irish pubs . . . expect Irish music, dancing, green beer, and week-long celebrations.
Almost every Boston neighborhood has several or more Irish pubs - the Italian North End and Chinatown are the only 2 exceptions that come to mind.
Although many of these pubs feature live Irish music at least some of the time, almost all of them bring in terrific musicians around St. Patrick's Day.
Boston's own Harpoon Brewery, located on the South Boston Waterfront, hosts its annual St Patrick's Day Festival.
Join in the fun during the 2-day fest as local bands provide non-stop music while you sample the selection of Harpoon and UFO beers, and munch on homemade Harpoon pretzels. Designated Drivers get free non-alcoholic drinks.
A free shuttle from South Station makes getting there and back easy.
Boston is the most Irish of all American cities, with almost a quarter of all Boston residents claiming at least some Irish ancestry in the 2000 U.S. Census.
Boston's Irish Heritage Trail celebrates the contributions of the Irish immigrants and their descendants to the city and the nation over the course of 3+ centuries.
The Trail starts at the beautiful Rose Kennedy Rose Garden in the North End, stretches across more than 3 miles of Downtown Boston and Back Bay, and ends at Fenway Park.
Walking along the self-guided Irish Heritage Trail is a popular St Patrick's Day activity. If you decide to do this too, you'll visit statues, monuments, and buildings ranging from multiple statues of Irish politician James Michael Curley to the moving Boston Irish Famine Memorial to the Massachusetts State House.
Or join a Boston Irish Heritage Trail Guided Walking tour - check our March calendar for dates and details.
The Irish Heritage Trail also takes you past many of Boston's other famous sites and attractions, so it doubles as a way to tour a large swath of the city. More about the Irish Heritage Trail
Boston's Irish Film Festival takes place over a period of 4 days around St Patrick's Day each March.
Films focus on Ireland and Irish culture, and what it means to be Irish in the 21st century.
Films showcase feature the very best of contemporary Irish cinema - about 30 premiers, features, shorts, and documentaries in all, with a focus on productions unlikely to otherwise be shown in the U.S.
The popularity of this event has grown each year, and tickets for some events sell out in advance.
Check out all our tips on how to find discounts, deals, and promo codes for Boston hotels. Whether you're looking for bargain accommodations or want to pay less for luxury, we'll show you How to Save on Hotels in Boston.