The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an exciting and fun-filled event. It’s been a big attraction ever since its first event in 1762. Yes, the parade is older than the United States! It is also the world’s oldest civilian parade. And with about 2 million people attending annually, it’s also the largest parade in America.
Being such a huge event, we wanted to share some tips and tricks for getting the most out of attending.
Where and when?
Plan to arrive as early as possible for the best viewing spots. As you can imagine, they fill up fast. You don’t want to get stuck behind some 6-foot guy wearing a giant green tophat.
The parade has never been cancelled because of inclement weather, so don’t let a questionable forecast stop you. As they say, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
What’s the food and beverage situation?
There are lots of restaurants along Fifth Avenue. However, there are often push cart vendors on 6th Avenue, and you’ll often find food along side streets as well.
You are more than welcome to bring your own food and drinks, though. Considering the typical prices, you’ll probably save a lot of money with this option, plus you won’t have to worry about losing your spot. Just keep in mind you are not allowed to consume alcohol outside of the restaurants and bars.
Is it okay to bring my children, both the furry and the human ones?
Human children are more than welcome, but unless your pet is a certified service animal it will need to miss out on the festivities.
Where is the best spot for viewing the parade?
Avoid standing in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It tends to get really congested.
Really, anywhere along the route is pretty good. However, if you can get a spot in the grandstands, that’s pretty hard to beat.
Tickets for the grandstands are free, but they are first come, first served. To get a chance at a ticket, send a written request to:
The NYC St Patrick’s Parade Committee
P.O. Box 295
Bronx, NY 10470
Given the size of the event and the popularity of this seating option, you’ll want to send in your request as early as possible.
What should I wear?
Aside from dressing for the weather (usually in the 40s-50s), feel free to show your Irish or wanna-be-Irish pride. Green is definitely the theme of the day.
And don’t forget your shamrock headgear.