St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of those holidays that San Franciscans go above and beyond to celebrate. For many, it serves as a means to tap into cultural roots; for others, it provides a way to celebrate the city itself. According to Found SF, the city’s love for the holiday dates back to the late 1800s, when nearly one-third of the city’s population claimed at least some Irish ancestry. Now, that proportion hovers at roughly 8 percent — but enthusiasm over the celebration hasn’t waned!
Let’s take a look at all the ways our city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
This boisterous, two-hour event draws more than 100,000 people each year — a crowd so large that the event must be held on a weekend. The procession features a host of Irish dancers, musicians, and cultural groups, as well as notable city officials, police, and firemen.
The parade typically sets off at the corner of 2nd and Market Street, then heads down Market to Civic Center Plaza. Anyone who plans to attend in future years should take note that it’s almost always easier to find a spot to watch the parade along the early blocks of Market Street. If you plan to camp near the Civic Center, you best arrive early!
St. Patrick’s Day Festival
The fun shouldn’t end when the parade does. Follow the dancers and floats over to the Civic Center for a boisterous festival! This annual event boasts vendors, food stalls, and entertainment aplenty for all your St. Patrick’s day interests. As one writer hypes the festival for the United Irish Societies of San Francisco, “Foodies will love the traditional Irish cuisines and other hearty dishes that will be served up, guaranteed to make anyone’s mouth water. The kiddos will not want to miss out on the kid’s fun spot, full of fun and entertaining ways to help burn off some energy.”
The Annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner
There’s no arguing the facts — corned beef and cabbage is the St. Patrick’s Day Meal. Why not enjoy the best? Head over to the United Irish Cultural Center Restaurant for a stellar plate of this Irish-American staple. According to CBS San Francisco, the restaurant’s fare isn’t a plate to miss. As one reporter describes, “The corned beef and cabbage is tender with little fat and served with shredded cabbage and a drizzle of horseradish sauce.”
Head on over to the Cultural Center after the parade for a bite!
“Luck of the Irish” Pub Crawl
Come on — is it really St. Patrick’s Day without a proper pub crawl? This boozy trek will guide partakers through some of the best bars in the Marina District. Even better, some participating establishments will offer deals specifically for registered pub-travelers. It’s not a journey you want to miss!
Most of us won’t make it to Dublin to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. But in San Francisco, you won’t be disappointed — you might even feel as though you’ve been transported overseas! These Irish-American traditions are ones that mean a lot to the city of San Francisco. They bring people together to celebrate heritage, history and culture as they mark a holiday that holds a special place in the city’s heart.