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St. Patrick's Day in San Francisco

Parties, Parades, Culture & More for St. Patrick's & Irish Heritage Month

By

Girls with shamrock
Arthur Tiley

For St. Patrick's Day, San Francisco goes Irish and City Hall glows clover-green. The city's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival is said to be the biggest Irish celebration west of the Mississippi, but in 2014 the parade is marching solo on March 15, without the traditional post-parade celebration at Civic Center. For adult party animals, bars throw block parties, usually with live Irish music. They include ones at the Financial District’s Taverna Aventine on Friday, March 14; at the Irish Bank near Kearny and Bush streets and at O’Reilly’s in North Beach on March 15 and 17; and at The Royal Exchange on March 17. 

The San Francisco Bay Area has an estimated 1 million people of Irish descent. Here are other Irish-themed activities in March, which is Irish-American Heritage Month.

Crossroads Irish-American Festival
March 1-30, 2014
Soak up some Irish-American history and Irish art and culture through author talks and readings, concerts,lectures and storytelling. The Irish-American festival events include:

  • March 6 - Men at Lunch, a documentary about the immigrant workers captured in an iconic photograph taken during the construction of New York's Rockefeller Center
  • March 17 - Sonoma County's poet laureate Katherine Hastings reads from her new volume, Nighthawks  
  • March 20 - "Two Roads Diverged: A Dialogue on Irish & Black Contributions to American Culture," a presentation that includes music and dance demonstrations
  • March 23 - Family history workshop
  • March 29 - Concert by FullSet of Ireland  
  • March 30- Oral Histories of the Irish in San Francisco

At various venues in San Francisco. Most events are free.   

Cooney's Irish Cabaret
March 14, at 8-10:30 pm
New-York-based Irish musician and entertainer Andy Cooney and Irish comic Noel V. Ginnity headline a night of song, dance and fun, to help send a San Francisco girls team to play Gaelic football in Ireland this summer. The Donna Carr Irish Dance Troupe and the Guinness Folk Band also perform.
At the United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Ave., San Francisco 94116. Tickets $20-40. 

Irish Network Bay Area's St. Patrick's Day Party 
March 14, at 8-11 pm
Network with Irish expats, Irish Americans and friends of Ireland. Prize giveaways, a DJ spinning Irish hits, food and an open bar.  
At Tank 18, 1345 Howard St., San Francisco 94103. Tickets $45, 60,  

St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 15, at 11:30 am
Awash in green, marching bands, floats, labor unions, Irish dance groups, local politicians and dignitaries proceed up Market St. in this annual display of Irish culture and pride. This year's parade pays tribute to Irish workers in the U.S. Unlike in previous years, though, there's no post-parade festival..
Starts at Second and Market streets and ends at Civic Center, San Francisco. Free.

Dublin’s St. Patrick's Day Celebration
March 15 & 16
Where better to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than Dublin? You won’t need a passport, either. A festival at Dublin Civic Center features three stages with Irish musicians and dancers; food like Irish soda bread and corned beef; a market with Irish coats of arms, hand-knit sweaters, Irish scarves and ties, Celtic jewelry and Irish books; carnival rides; and an afternoon Irish tea service. Other activities: A firefighters’ pancake breakfast early Saturday; a Saturday parade starting at 9:30 am; and the Shamrock 5k Fun Run & Walk on Sunday morning.
At Dublin Civic Center and other venues in Dublin, CA. Free.

Shamrock StrEat Bash & Irish Food Truck Party
March 15 & 16, at 11 am-8 pm; March 17 at 5-10 pm
The food truck corral near Costco throws a party with corned beef sandwiches and other Irish-themed dishes from food trucks, specials on Guinness and green beer, live music and skeeball and other games.
At SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428 11th St., San Francisco 94103. Admission free-$10.

St. Paddy’s Pub Crawl San Francisco
March 15 & 17 
On either or both days, crawl among a dozen bars on Union Street and in the Marina for drink specials (e.g., beers starting at $2 and Irish whiskey shots at $4).
Check in at Extreme Pizza, 1980 Union St., San Francisco. Ages 21+. Monday pass $10; two-day pass $15.

Greenfest Block Party
March 16, at 11 am-5 pm
San Francisco's United Irish Cultural Center, United Irish Societies and Java Beach café throw a street party, with Irish bands, dancing and face-painting and other entertainment for kids.
On 45th Ave. at Sloat Blvd., San Francisco 94116. Free.

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