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On 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 2020 marks 153 years 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) and the 13,000-registrant parade makes this an event you're sure to love.
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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.
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. Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of them.
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 these Downtown-area institutions:
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 Street and 12th Street for the best sight lines. There you’ll see bagpipers, Irish dancers, wolf hounds and more kilts flapping in the spring breeze than you can count on two hands. This year the parade’s theme is Ireland's Scenic Coastlines and is set to step off at 1:04 p.m. The parade is a great family activity and a uniquely Cleveland 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 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!
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