For St. Patrick's Day, San Francisco goes Irish and City Hall glows clover-green. The highlight is the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival on March 16, 2013, which is the biggest Irish celebration west of the Mississippi. For adult party animals, bars throw block parties, usually with live Irish music. They include ones at the Financial District’s Aventine and The Royal Exchange on Friday, March 15; at The Irish Bank near Kearny and Bush streets on March 16 and 17; and at O’Reilly’s in North Beach on March 17.
The San Francisco Bay Area has an estimated one million people of Irish descent. Here are other Irish-themed activities in March, which is Irish-American Heritage Month.
Crossroads Irish-American Festival
March 9-April 26, 2013
Soak up some Irish-American history and Irish art and culture through author talks and readings, concerts, storytelling and dance performances. The Irish-American festival events include:
- March 14 - Nights in Shanaglish, with musicians and performers from County Galway, Ireland
- March 20 - Flute, tin whistle and concertina concert
- March 24 - Oral Histories of the Irish in San Francisco
- April 7 - Irish-American Writers of the San Francisco Bay Area
- April 18 - Two Irish Poets: A Reading
St Patty's Day Specials at The Ice Cream Bar
The old fashioned soda fountain/lunch counter churns out Irish-inspired specials: The Dublin Honey (Guinness, caramelized honey ice cream, chocolate syrup, tawny port); Guinness brown-bread ice cream (Guinness ice cream with chunks of Irish soda bread); potato leek soup and Irish brown bread; and a corned beef plate.
At the Ice Cream Bar, 815 Cole St., San Francisco 94117. Prices vary.
Irish Network Bay Area St. Patrick's Day Event
March 15, at 8 pm-12 am
Network with Irish expats, Irish Americans and friends of Ireland. Complimentary cocktails, a Gaelic pipe band and other live entertainment.
At the Merchant Exchange Club, 75 Leidesdorff St., San Francisco 94104. Tickets $30, 40.
St. Paddy’s Pub Crawl San Francisco
March 15 at 5 pm-2 am; March 16 & 17 at 12 pm-2 am
On any or all of the three 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., or the Brick Yard, 1787 Union St., San Francisco. Ages 21+. One-day ticket $10; three-day pass $25.
St. Patrick's Day Festival – San Francisco
March 16, at 11 am-5 pm
Civic Center Plaza is filled with Irish dance troupes, music by the likes of the Bushmills Pipe Band and Lucia Comnes and Her Rockin’ Irish Band, corned beef sandwiches and other Irish food, activities for kids, and booths with arts and crafts and community and cultural information.
At Civic Center Plaza & adjoining streets, San Francisco. Free.
St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 16, at 11:30 am
Awash in green, marching bands, floats, labor unions, Irish dance groups, and local politicians and dignitaries stroll from downtown, up Market Street, to the festival in front of City Hall. San Francisco Fire Department chief Joanne Hayes-White is the grand marshal of the parade, in its 162nd year in 2013.
Starts at Second and Market streets and ends at Civic Center, San Francisco. Free.
St. Patrick's Day Celebration: U2 Tribute
March 16, at 8 pm
Zoo Station, which describes itself as “The Complete U2 Experience,” aims to replicate the music, visuals and special effects of a U2 concert. With at least 150 U2 songs in its repertoire, the quartet is known for playing a whole U2 album from beginning to end.
At Brick & Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission St., San Francisco 94103. Tickets $15-20.
Dublin’s St. Patrick's Day Celebration
March 16 & 17
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; an afternoon Irish tea service; a roving bagpiper; and a wandering leprechaun. 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.
Greenfest Block Party
March 17, at 11 am-4 pm
San Francisco's United Irish Cultural Center and Java Beach café throw a street party along 45th Avenue, with Irish bands and dancing and face-painting and other entertainment for kids.
On 45th Ave. at Sloat Blvd., San Francisco 94116. Free.