If you’re looking for a place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, look no further than Savannah, Georgia.
It’s one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the nation, and features a huge parade perfect for the entire family, as well as lots of drinking and festivities for the older crowd. If you’re wondering why all of this takes place in Savannah, it’s a good question. The first parade was hosted in 1812 by the Hibernian Society, which was formed by prestigious members of the town to help Irish immigrants. In 1824, the parade opened up to the public and the rest is history.
For the 196th parade this year, which will take place on Tuesday, March 17 at 10:15 a.m., the town is expecting 300,000 people. (Check out the 2020 Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Route to help you pick your top spot, but be prepared for lots of competition.)
According to experts at HomeToGo, the largest vacation search engine, online searches for places to stay during the parade week around this time last year were up 239 percent from the week before.
Savannah Lodging, various prices on Airbnb
Check out local rental options in the city.
So what’s all the fuss about? The parade will feature decorated floats, bagpipe players, and Irish dancers. One of my personal favorite features of the parade is that they dye all of the fountains green, and even host daylong festivals on Friday and Saturday on River Street, which is easily walkable from the parade. Don’t worry—there’ll be plenty of green beer.
My advice is to grab a shuttle to avoid public parking, and then purchase a $10 wristband so that you can drink outside during the parade and the corresponding festival. During St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll run into entertainment on every street corner, but here are some places not to miss.
River Street is the hub of all things St. Patrick’s Day during this weekend. A quick stroll along the cobblestones that border the Savannah River will expose you to quaint riverboats, street vendors, and dozens of bars all displaying their St. Patrick’s Day best.
Savannah Foodie Tour and Pub Crawl, $49 on Airbnb
If you like a guided experience, you could try a food tour that ranges around downtown.
Savannah’s City Market, located in the historic district, will be another hub during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. It features dozens of restaurants, bars, shops, and nightlife. During St. Patrick’s Day weekend they’ll also have entertainment on two separate stages.
Check out the huge green fountain in Forsyth Park, which is actually dyed by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade’s Grand Marshal. It’s a long-standing Savannah tradition to dye all of the city’s fountains green before St. Patrick’s Day.
In addition to being a gorgeous place to stay, the Perry Lane Hotel’s rooftop features sweeping views of the city, as well as lawn games, hand-crafted premium cocktails, and a carefully curated wine list. It’s the most beautiful place to hang out with a big group of friends.
Where to Drink After the Parade
After you’ve walked around and watched the parade, which can last up to four hours, you’re definitely going to want some lunch and a beer. Here’s where you should go.
In addition to serving up fried chicken and an amazing happy hour, The Rail Pub is home to Savannah’s history. It opened in 1890 and acted as a brothel in an area that used to be known as Savannah’s red light district. Now, they feature a large outdoor courtyard and live music.
This building was originally constructed in 1859 as a cotton factory, but after the parade it will provide gorgeous views of the festivities on River Street. There’s plenty of room for your entire group to grab a cocktail.
With an outdoor patio that features picturesque twinkle lights and a name that’s sure to elicit a laugh from everyone in your group, this spot is not to be missed. In addition to serving up craft beer and cocktails, they also feature menu items like PB&J chicken wings and fish stick tacos.
Where to Grab a Nice Dinner
Construction was started on this bright pink mansion in 1771—and the red bricks bled through the white plaster, making its pink hue a delightful accident. In the 1920s, a woman purchased the house and painted the entire thing pink before opening a tearoom. Now, the location is known for specialties like their cornbread fried oysters and grilled pork tenderloin with bourbon molasses.
This eatery features a stunning view of River Street, as well as Savannah-style cast iron dishes that will have your mouth watering. Whether you’re craving a steak or shrimp and grits, Moss & Oak has you covered.
Located in the luxurious new mansion in Forsyth Park, 700 Drayton is a stunning dining destination. Start with the southbound lager beer mussels, taste their cider braised pork chop, and polish it off with their Georgia bourbon pecan pie.
See more St. Paddy’s history, tips, tricks, and recipes at our St. Patrick’s Day headquarters!
Header image courtesy of Visit Savannah.