Most people know places like Boston and New York City have large Irish populations – and as a result, big St. Patrick’s Day parties. But you don't often hear about the smaller cities across the U.S. that also boast a high percentage of Irish residents. These lesser-known cities not only lay claim to Irish pubs, dance halls, clubs and festivals, they're also perfect places to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
1. Butte, MT
Twenty-three percent of Butte’s residents are Irish, and it shows. Often referred to as Ireland’s fifth province, Butte is home to Irish Times and Maloney’s, two pubs in the Butte District that draw crowds throughout the year, but are especially known for their St. Patrick’s Day parties. In addition, Butte hosts a popular St. Patrick’s Day parade that attracts more than 30,000 spectators and features decorated floats, food vendors and more.
2. Atlantic City, NJ
MTV’s Jersey Shore may have portrayed the Atlantic City area as a place filled with Italian-Americans, but it also has a high percentage of residents with Irish roots. One of the city’s most popular destinations is The Irish Pub, which is open 24/7 and has received rave reviews from locals and tourists alike for its authentic food and welcoming atmosphere. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Atlantic City hosts a parade with marchers, Irish step dancers, bagpipers and floats; while local casinos offer promotions and host special events in honor of the holiday.
3. Auburn, NY
McMurphy’s Irish Pub, located inside the Auburn Holiday Inn, and Harley’s Irish Pub give the area’s many Irish residents the opportunity to celebrate their heritage year round. The city is also home to a Crane Irish Dance studio, and in nearby Skaneateles the McDonald School of Irish Dance offers classes for all skill levels every Wednesday. When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, Auburn does not disappoint. The local Ancient Order of Hibernians, the oldest Irish-Catholic lay organization in the U.S., hosts St. Patrick’s Day events each year, and downtown’s A.T. Walley & Co. bills itself as “the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day” as it features corned beef, flights of Irish whiskey and Irish step dancing.
4. Birmingham, AL
Birmingham residents celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the annual St. Patrick's Festival, which includes a parade, fun run, live music and plenty of activities for kids. To kick off festivities, residents are invited to the annual Irish Flag Raising and the Great Birmingham Irish Toast that's led by the Birmingham Irish Cultural Society. Locals also enjoy authentic Irish food and drinks at Innisfree Irish Pub – known for one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parties in the city.
5. Colorado Springs, CO
Downtown is the place to be for Colorado Springs residents looking to have a good time on St. Patrick’s Day. Locals celebrate the holiday with running and cycling events, including the Leprechaun Fun Run, as well as a parade that draws more than 30,000 spectators and includes bands, floats, fire trucks and more. Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse and Pub, also downtown, marks St. Patrick’s Day with several days of parties, live music and family-friendly events. McCabe’s Tavern, Ivy Irish Pub and Alchemy are a few more top spots for Irish-themed food, drinks and fun.