On Friday, March 17, Downtown Cleveland will host a cozy gathering of nearly half a million people. Most of those in attendance will be decked out in green, celebrating one of Spring's first great events--St. Patrick's Day. Cleveland has plenty of practice playing host to this revelry, as 2023 marks the 155th version of the city's St. Patrick's Day parade.
Cleveland's St. Paddy's Day party is among biggest in the country. The massive numbers in Greater Cleveland's Irish community (around 13% of Cuyahoga County has Irish roots, according to the U.S. Census Bureau) means the parade routinely draws over 10,000 registrants, making this an event you can't miss.
IF YE BE DRINKING, YE SHALL NOT DRIVE
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. Plus, you'll have one less thing to worry about when you're recovering the next morning.
RTA: Purchase a $5 day pass to use on the trains and buses
Ride Share: For around $20 from surrounding suburbs, take a Lyft or Uber
HAVE A PINT OR TWO...OR THREE
Choosing a place to party is always important. Few pubs offer a more traditional Irish atmosphere than the recently expanded Parnell's Pub at Playhouse Square. They pour the best pint of Guinness around and are perfectly situated close to the parade route. Parnell's is just one of several pubs around the city that will open early and stay open late. Another traditional pub is Stone Mad, tucked in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. They have indoor bocce courts and beautiful fire pits on their patio in case it's chilly. Other great choices include Flannery's Pub on East Fourth Street, The Flat Iron Cafe in the Flats, The Old Angle Tavern on West 25th Street, The Harp, or P.J. McIntyre's in Kamm's Corners. You won't have to go far to find a good place to post up.
IT'S MAGICALLY DELICIOUS
There's no shortage of restaurants where you can get traditional (and award-winning) corned beef sandwiches all around Cleveland. But you can't go wrong with Downtown-area institutions like Slyman's and Danny's Deli on St. Clair Avenue, Corky & Lenny's inside the JACK Casino on Public Square and Flannery's Pub on East Fourth Street. Want more? Oh, we've got more. Check out all these CLE delis serving piled-high corned beef.
If you're planning on watching Ohio’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, your best bet is to be on Superior Avenue between E. 9th St. and 12th St. for the best sight lines. There you’ll see bagpipers, Irish dancers, wolf hounds and more kilts than you can imagine. 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.
WHAT TO WEAR
Cleveland weather in March is prone to unpredictability--so check your weather app ahead of time to know what to wear. Layering your (green) clothes is never a bad idea. What is a sure thing, though, is that March 17 is a day you'll want to be in the city to jig, drink (responsibly!) and be merry.
After all, we might not all be Irish. But, when you're here, you'll always be 100% Cleveland-ish. Sláinte!