Still uncertain where to spend St. Patrick’s Day? Well, the search ends here because there’s only one destination filled with craic in the Southeast, and that spirited place is the revered city of Savannah, Georgia. It’s time for a road trip to the “Hostess City of the South” for the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day weekend extravaganza.
While Savannah is renowned for its hospitality (thus, the nickname), themed tours, monster oak trees, busy river scene, and beautifully-preserved historic homes, the charming city comes alive around St. Patrick’s Day, boasting one of the largest parades and greenest fanfare in the country. Each year, hundreds of thousands of transients and residents flood the cobblestone- and bleacher-lined streets of downtown Savannah, River Street, and City Market for a weekend of delicious food, festive drinks, and plenty of gilded gold and green fun.
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With traditional Irish dancing, professional bagpipers, and huge, jubilant crowds, you still have time to head to Savannah to enjoy all of the revelry. Need more convincing? Here are 10 reasons to mark your calendar and pack your weekender bag.
1. Savannah is Perfect for a Weekend Getaway.
Beyond the fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the historic buildings, growing arts and culinary scene, and easy-going vibe that define the city are more than enough reasons to make Savannah your next weekend getaway. So much so, our readers voted it as the the second-best city in the South, with the Foley House Inn and The Paris Market and Brocante earning the top spots this year in our annual feature on the South’s best places.
2. Savannah is Home to the Largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Georgia’s First City certainly knows how to throw a party! The St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place on Friday, March 17 at 10:15 a.m. Expect a crowd of more than 300,000 people, bagpipe players, Shriners, decorated floats, and Irish dancers. Visit Downtown Savannah for a parade map and bleacher seating.
3. Where Else Can You Celebrate All Weekend Long?
In addition to the parade, you can look forward to a weekend-long festival and endless string of dance parties from sunup to midnight. Head to River Street and City Market for live entertainment, giveaways, food, drinks, photo booths, and family-friendly activities from Thursday through Saturday, March 18.
4. You’ll See "Kiss me, I'm Irish" in Action.
Yes, the girls actually plant big kisses on the cheeks of boys and the marching Scottish men in uniform. Pucker up!
5. The Marching Bands are Actually Good.
The beat goes on every year, with people lining the streets to take in all the marching and rhythmic activities. This year, more than 350 marching bands are expected to participate.
6. You Can See Beloved Clydesdale Horses.
The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales will be clapping down Savannah's squares.
7. The Greening of the Fountain in Forsyth Park is a Sight to Behold.
The annual tradition of dyeing all the fountains green took place on March 10, but you can still view everyone’s favorite fountain in Forsyth Park to see all the emerald spouting action this weekend.
8. There’s Beer, Guinness and, Oh, More Beer.
Similar to the green water flowing from the city’s fountains throughout the weekend, there will be plenty of free-flowing draft beer and rich Guinness on tap. By purchasing a $10 wristband at one of the downtown booths, you get to party in the designated outdoor festival zone with a pint of the sudsy stuff and green beer for the entire weekend. However, patrons can still drink freely inside pubs and restaurants without a wristband.
9. There Will Be Themed Races to Burn Off All the Corned Beef and Cabbage.
Before the parade on March 17, lace up those running shoes and race toward the finish line of the Top O’ The Mornin’ Run, which is free and starts at Fleet Feet Sports and continues through downtown Savannah. Then on Saturday, March 18, join the 4th Annual Kilt and Kolor Run on Hutchinson Island for music, kilts, and a ½-mile fun run for the entire family.
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10. One word: Nightlife.
Sure, watching the city turn green by day is full of merriment, but the bar crawls and, specifically, Wet Willie’s on River Street are the places to be at night for live music, delicious pub grub, and slurp-worthy frozen drinks. Trust us, it's the perfect nightcap after a long day of celebrating.