Whether they’re actually of Irish heritage or not, Bostonians love St. Patrick’s Day. It’s the one day of the year where everyone can get away with a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirt, flashy shamrock pendants, and multiple pints of green beer.
Still, no neighborhood celebrates St. Patty’s Day as whole-heartedly as “Southie,” Boston’s notoriously Irish-American working-class neighborhood—one of the oldest and most historic communities in the nation. It’s no coincidence that the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade marches through Southie streets, where every other porch proudly dons an Irish flag.
When is the 2014 parade?
This year’s parade is on Sunday, March 16th and starts at 1:00 PM. The parade typically continues for about two-and-a-half hours. However, because of the crowds, you can expect to be in Southie for quite a bit longer.
What is the route like and where’s the best place to watch?
The parade route starts at the Broadway MBTA station and ends at Andrew Square. The longest stretches of the parade are on West and East Broadway, before the parade pulls a U-turn on P Street, heading back down 4th Street and towards Andrew Square, ending on Dorchester Ave.
Broadway is usually the best place to watch the parade. However, due to the influx of parade spectators, you’ll still need to get there early to stake out a spot.
How many people will be in attendance?
In its most popular years, nearly one million people have made their way to Southie for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Be prepared to face some big crowds.
What’s the best way to get there?
Take the MBTA Red Line to either Broadway Station or Andrew Station. Broadway Station is ideal if you plan to scope out a spot on East or West Broadway. You will not want to be driving in or near South Boston on Sunday!
Is this a family-friendly event?
Yes! While you can expect to see many rowdy college students and young professionals letting loose, families are traditionally a big part of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. If you bring your kids along, you definitely won’t be the only ones. Just make sure you have everything the kids might need to be comfortable—water, snacks, warm layers.
What’s the history of the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade?
Traditionally, the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrated the anniversary of the day George Washington and the Continental Army forced the British out of Boston during the Revolutionary War. The parade was first held in 1901 and was known as the “Evacuation Day Procession.”
What else is there to do in Boston?
While the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is plenty of fun, there’s a lot more to do during your weekend in Boston, and you’d surely regret not checking out some of the more infamous Boston attractions. Experience more of Boston’s Revolutionary War era history with a Freedom Trail Tour and a trip to the Old State House Museum or the Paul Revere House. More of a sports history person? Take a Fenway Park Tour. For art history, head to the Museum of Fine Arts or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Use a Boston attractions pass to see all 51 of Boston’s top attractions at discounted rates with one convenient card.