St. Pat's in CLE
St. Patrick’s Day Survival Guide
By Lexi Hotchkiss
It's been said that Cleveland hosts one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country. And, if you've ever visited the city during the festivities, you'd be quick to agree.
As many as 500,000 are expected to converge on Downtown Cleveland on Tuesday, March 17 (Clevelanders celebrate on the ACTUAL holiday) for a day of Irish merrymaking.
For us Clevelanders, it's a take-two-days-off-of-work kind of affair (yes, you'll need the day after to recover). That's a no brainer, since we've been exacting the science behind an oh-so-awesome St. Pat's parade since 1867. Suffice it to say, we know a thing or two about partying.
4. BOOK A TWO-NIGHT'S STAY
The St. Patrick's Day festivities start as early as 6am in downtown Cleveland with a swath of restaurants and bars serving up the breakfast of St. Pat's champions: Kegs and eggs. You don't want to miss shouting, "Top o' the mornin' to ya" at some unsuspecting reveler at breakfast, do you? [Of course not.] So, be sure to book two nights at a downtown hotel.
If you want to stay around the parade route, consider the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade, Hampton Inn Downtown Cleveland, Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, Holiday Inn Express (Downtown Cleveland) or the Cleveland Renaissance.
3. DON'T DRIVE
As the Irish would say, "Don't be a chancer." There's absolutely no reason to imbibe and drive. And, it's actually A LOT more convenient to rely on other means of transportation during this bustling day.
Consider hiring a small shuttle bus or stretch limo to take you around town all day. Many locals use this idea to create a St. Patrick's Day barhop in which they traverse the city's many Irish pubs.
If the compadres aren't willing to go in on the cost, we always recommend the use of RTA. While the routes take you to and from downtown with incredible ease, remember that this is one of the busiest days of the year, so give yourself extra time.
2. MAKE YOUR WAY TO WEST PARK
While the parade, as well as other aspects of the festivities occur in downtown Cleveland, the Irish dancers jig all night in the west side neighborhood of West Park.
West Park is a city neighborhood in which many of Cleveland's firefighters and police officers have historically lived - many of them with Irish heritage.
That being said, the neighborhood is home base for some of Cleveland's best Irish pubs. So, after the parade, make your way over to the Kamm's Corner portion of West Park where the bagpipers and corned beef sandwiches are the stuff of legends at places like: PJ McIntyre's, Public House, Panini's, West Park Station and more.
1. MAP-OUT YOUR DOWNTOWN GAME PLAN
First thing's first: The parade kicks off at 1:04pm and runs down Superior Avenue from East 18th Street to right around East 3rd Street. You'll find the bulk of parade-goers convening right around the Cleveland Public Library. Consider moving your set-up further east down Superior Avenue for a bit more wiggle room.
Of course, the party gets started much earlier at a number of downtown locations that are notorious for offering kegs and eggs - places such as Barley House in the Historic Warehouse District.
Much of the St. Patrick's Day merrymaking takes places along East Fourth Street. And, we'd be remiss to not recommend a stop at Cleveland's Flannery's Pub on the corner of Prospect Avenue. But, go before the parade or dress warmly to hang out inside the tents outside.
For music, the House of Blues gets the music started on two stages starting early in the morning and it goes until the evening. Bands, musicians and genres change intermittently and there's no cover for this can't-miss party.
And, of course, you absolutely must get yourself over to Ohio City's The Harp, a pub that's kind of like Irish-ness on steroids. The party goes all day with outside tents, tons of Irish music, great Irish beer and some incredible Irish fare.
Tell us more! From Hooley House to Parnell's Pub, Cleveland's got a bevy of Irish pubs. Tell us, what CLE pubs are you hitting up this St. Patrick's Day?