Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Pittsburgh: The Ultimate Guide
The parade is just the beginning — we've got your entire week covered.
photos via flickr creative commons
The Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day parade touts itself as the second-largest St. Patty’s event in the country.
But because there’s so much else to see and do Downtown during the event, we’ve developed an itinerary for every type of group dynamic. First things first:
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 11 at the Greyhound Bus Station at the intersection of Liberty Avenue and 11th Street. It proceeds down Grant Street, turns right on the Boulevard of the Allies and ends at Commonwealth Place.
St. Patrick’s Day might be notorious in many circles for drinking and debauchery, but there still are fun activities for families looking for a kid-friendly atmosphere.
- 8:30 a.m.: Head to the North Shore for hassle-free parking. Then take a free ride on the T at North Side station, get off at Gateway and head to Market Square.
- 9 a.m.: The all-ages festivities start at 10 a.m. We recommend grabbing a bite at Bluebird Kitchen so you don't have to experience all of the activity on an empty stomach.
- 10 a.m.: The kid-friendly “St. Patrick’s Day Parade Fest” lasts from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features face painting and street performers.
- 10:45 a.m.: Head a few blocks south to the Boulevard of the Allies to catch the parade at the end of its route. You’ll likely catch most of the procession depending on when you leave Market Square.
After the parade, consider a stop at the Carnegie Science Center on the North Shore (near your car). In the evening, hire a babysitter for the little ones and hit the St. Patrick’s Day Murder Mystery Dinner at Gaetano’s Banquet Center at 1617 Banksville Road, just a mile from Downtown. The event starts at 7 p.m. Ticket information can be found here.
We have some suggestions for a full day of fun for you and a group of ( 21+) friends.
- 10 a.m.: Gather at any spot along the parade route. We suggest lining up along Boulevard of the Allies near the Smithfield Street Bridge as it’ll be closest to your next destination.
- 1:30 p.m.: Stop by Excuses Bar & Grill on the South Side to register for the epic bar crawl. It’s pretty long walk from the parade route, so you may want to consider public transportation or a ride service.
- 2 p.m.: Before beginning the crawl, it's always good to have something in your tummy. We recommend Piper’s Pub on the South Side for a bite and an authentic British pub experience.
With Your Date
The dynamics of a St. Patty’s date are a little different than going with friends; you want to have fun but also don’t want to embarrass yourself. So here’s a nice compromise.
Again, this is assuming you and your date are both 21 or older.
- 10 a.m.: Claim your spot along Boulevard of the Allies near Market Square. Enjoy yourselves as you mingle and watch one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country.
- 2 p.m.: After the parade, Market Square is usually a hotbed of St. Patty’s activity. Head there and go to Diamond Market Bar & Grill, Nola or even Primanti Bros. for a drink and potentially some live performances from Irish bands.
- 5:30 p.m.: After several hours of celebrating, it’d be best to end the night with a nice romantic meal. To cap off the evening, we recommend the nearby Butcher and the Rye. We named it Best Downtown Bar in our February “Best Bars” feature, and it’s also one of our 2016 Best Restaurants. It’ll be a classy end to your St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Other St. Patrick's Day Events
The Event: Annual St. Patrick’s Parade Button Party
When: 5-7:30 p.m., Friday, March 3
Where: Mitchell’s Pub, 304 Ross St., Downtown
What you'll find there: Commemorative buttons are available from parade committee members and at the door for a $30 donation. Beverages and a hot buffet are included.
The Event: AOH Division 9/Allegheny County Communion Breakfast
When: 10 a.m., Sunday, March 5
Where: St. Paul’s Seminary (2900 Noblestown Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15205)
What you'll find there: Mass is celebrated by Bishop David Zubik followed by a breakfast banquet and official program. The event includes the formal introduction of the Parade’s Grand Marshal and Miss Smiling Irish Eyes and her court. Also introduced at the event is the AOH Hibernian of the Year. Many local, state and national political leaders and local Irish community leaders address the gathering.
The Event: Crowning of 2017 Miss Smiling Irish Eyes by Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald
When: Noon, Thursday, March 9
Where: River’s Club, Oxford Center, Downtown
What you'll find there: Buffet lunch, cost $30. RSVP in advance.
The Event: Parade Day Mass
When: 8 a.m., Saturday, March 11
Where: St. Patrick's Church (obviously), 57 21st St., Strip District
What you'll find there: Interested parade-goers and marchers start their day off in the true spirit of St. Patrick with a Roman Catholic Mass.
The Event: “Halfway to the Festival” party
When: 1-5 p.m., Sunday, March 19
Where: Bulgarian-National Educational and Cultural Center, 451 W. 8th Ave., West Homestead.
What you'll find there: The event will feature live music from local Irish acts including Hooley, The Wild Geese, Terry Griffith and more. Guests also can enjoy entertainment from world champion Irish step dancers from the Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance, the Pittsburgh Irish Reelers and the Pittsburgh Ceili Club.