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On Friday, March 17, roughly half a million people will come together in Downtown Cleveland to throw a party. No, this one isn't another championship parade (yet). It's something else the CLE excels at: St Patrick's Day.
Cleveland's St. Paddy's Day party rivals the biggest in the country and with the holiday falling on a Friday, the numbers are sure to swell. The massive numbers in Greater Cleveland's Irish community (to the tune of ~165K in Cuyahoga County as of 2016, according to the Census Bureau) and the 13,000-registrant parade means you're getting yourself a good taste of true Irish revelry.
The first thing to concern yourself with is getting downtown. Don't bother driving as parking will be at a premium (literally) and after a few green beers you won't want to be getting behind the wheel anyway. Use the RTA and their $5 day passes or take a Lyft or Uber and have one less thing to worry about when you’re hungover the following morning. You can get to the heart of downtown from most surrounding suburbs for about $20 by using the ride sharing apps.
Choosing a place to party is always important. You'll find plenty of shenanigans at Parnell's Pub at Playhouse Square. It's Buzzfeed's choice for the best Irish pub in Ohio and their recent expansion means there's even more room for celebrants. They are one of several pubs around the city that will open early and stay open late, including Flannery's Pub on E. 4th St., The Flat Iron Cafe in the Flats, The Old Angle Tavern on W. 25th St., The Harp, Stone Mad Pub, or P.J. McIntyre's. Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of them.
If you’re interested in watching Ohio’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, your best bet is to be on Superior Ave. between E. 9th St. and 12th St. for the best sight lines. There you’ll see bagpipes, dancers, wolf hounds and much more. The parade is a great family activity and a unique experience. If you prefer to do your Irish jigging with a pint, though, head to any of the aforementioned bars, many of whom will have live music all day.
Cleveland weather in March may be unpredictable--seriously, it could snow or be 75 and sunny, so check your app of choice ahead of time to know what to wear. What is a sure thing, though, is that March 17 is a day you'll want to be in the city, donning your green. Jig, drink (responsibly!) and be merry. For at least one day a year, we're all Irish.
Erin go bragh!
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