St. Patrick’s Day in the ‘Lou: Do’s, Don’ts & FAQ’s

Welcome to the ‘Lou where we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day not just once, but twice! The more green beads the better, right?

If you’re a recent transplant to the city (or maybe you’re planning a Mid-March visit), here’s what you need to know before heading out the door on St. Paddy’s Day:

  1. The Location: If you hear someone talk about “going to the parade”, this person could be talking about two very different events. Simply put, there’s both a downtown parade and a Dogtown parade, and they happen on different days:
    • Downtown: The 54th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Saturday, March 11 at noon in downtown St. Louis. It begins at 20th and Market streets and proceeds east to its conclusion at Broadway and Clark streets. The largest event of its kind downtown, 250,000 spectators are expected to attend this year’s parade.
    • Dogtown: The Ancient Order of Hibernians Parade takes place in the Dogtown neighborhood on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th). To the delight of partygoers, the 2023 parade and festival happens to land on a Friday this year.
  2. Pre-Parade Festivities:
    • The Downtown Run: For 45 years, the (downtown) St. Patrick’s Day parade has been ushered by a 5-mile race through the streets of downtown St. Louis. Registration is available through the morning of the race and a portion of proceeds benefit one of four local charities: Backstoppers, St. Patrick Center, Kids Rock Cancer or the Atlas Public School.
    • Dogtown Kick-Off: Celebrations begin on Thursday, March 16 with a special “first keg” ceremony inside the St. James Parish Center. Per the Dogtown United website, there will be live Irish music by Irish Aires, and the “first serving” of St. James’ famous corned beef and cabbage from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  3. The Parade:
    • Downtown: Listen up because this part is important! Depending on the weather, there will be rows, and rows, and rows of people. If you’re bringing the little’s along with you, arrive early to snag a spot in the front row. Bringing a few folding chairs is always a good idea, too.
    • Dogtown: If this is your first trip to Dogtown for the parade, you may be shocked at just how compact everything feels. Picture thousands of people crammed along one narrow residential street. Establish a meet-up point with your travel companions before arriving, because chances are you will lose track of them at some point.
  4. The Weather: March weather in St. Louis is, well, entirely unpredictable. We’ve seen parades with 85 degrees (and plenty of sunburns!) and we’ve seen parades with 25 degrees (and a whole lot of layers!). Check the forecast early and often, especially in the days leading up to either event. Both parades are held rain, shine, or snow. We’ve witnessed it all, and we’ve had fun at them all. Just come prepared.
    • Pro-Tip: Don’t underestimate the elements, especially the March sun! Bring plenty of bottled water and make an effort to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  5. What to Bring (and what not to bring!):
    • Downtown: The rules are pretty lax with this one. You can bring a cooler, but know that it can be searched and confiscated at any time. Keep the glass bottles at home, and keep your party tents 20 feet away from the sidewalks. Pretty simple!
    • Dogtown: Unlike downtown, coolers and backpacks are prohibited inside the Dogtown Festival. Outside alcohol and glass bottles are also restricted. But fear not, there will be a plethora of food and drink vendors scattered throughout the Bud Light Party Zone, located at Clayton and Tamm Ave.
      • Pro-Tip: Head to The Pat Connolly Tavern (the oldest Irish bar in St. Louis!) on Oakland Avenue for breakfast and Irish Coffee starting at 6 AM. Event Details are available here.

There you have it, folks! Our do’s, don’ts, and FAQ’s for a happy-go-lucky St. Patrick’s Day in St. Louis.

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