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Saint Patrick's Day in San Francisco

Best Places to Celebrate St. Paddy's Day in SF 2016

Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in San Francisco with the annual parade, festival, and other fun activities. The city is also home to more than a dozen Irish bars and restaurants.

This year, Saint Patricks Day is on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

On this page, you will find a list of the best ways to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. You'll find a list of the places with the best Irish dishes, some of the top Irish Bars to grab a drink and details on other activities planned for the official celebration weekend.

For some of the links on this page, I receive a small commission when you purchase. You don't pay more when you buy through me and it gives me the chance to offer you all this great content for free!

Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Celebration

Every year, the United Irish Societies of San Francisco hosts a large Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Festival. The 2016 celebration is set for Saturday, March 12.

The highlight of the event is the Saint Patrick's Day parade which starts at 11:30 AM. The parade route begins at 2nd and Market streets and heads straight down Market Street all the way to Civic Center Plaza near San Francisco City Hall.

You can also join in on the Saint Patrick's Day Irish Festival at the Joe Alioto Performing Arts Plaza (just to the southeast of San Francisco City Hall and the green star on the map). The festival includes Irish music, dancing and a never ending supply of beer. The festival starts at 11 AM and closes down around 5 PM that afternoon.

saint patty's day parade

I love heading over in the early afternoon to grab a drink and enjoy the entertainment. However, it does tend to get a little crazy later on in the afternoon, so be prepared for that if you plan on staying all day.

Learn More: Parade Pictures & What You Can Expect at this Year's Festival

Other Fun Activities on Saturday, March 12

  • Champagne & Mimosa Cruise: Start your morning out right with a Champagne & Mimosa Cruise on the SF Bay. During this two hour cruise, you will see top SF sites and enjoy two free drinks with each ticket. Full Price: $60, Goldstar Price: $36

  • Sunset Cruise: Do you prefer to spend your evening on the water? This 2-hour sunset cruise offers you the chance to relax and unwind after a full day of exploring SF. It includes two drinks with your ticket and starts and ends at Pier 39. Full Price: $60, Goldstar Price: $36

  • Wicked at the Orpheum Theater: Find out what happens before Dorothy lands in Oz. This award winning musical is only here for a few weeks, so get your tickets today. There are two performances on Saturday at 2pm and 8pm.

  • Stick Figure: See Stick Figure live at the Fillmore on Saturday night. Show starts at 9pm.

Top Hotels to Stay In on Saint Patrick's Day Weekend

There are several great places in San Francisco to stay on St. Patrick's Day. Since most of the action is in and around the Downtown and Union Square areas, I recommend looking for a hotel near one of these districts.

All of these hotels are also close to a variety of public transportation options,so you can easily get in and around the city from either of these neighborhoods. Here are several recommendations based on budget, amenities and location.

You can also look for discounts on TripAdvisor or before you book your hotel. They offer several discounts on room rates, parking, wifi, and more. Click the links below for details.

The links below, as well as a few others later on the page are affiliate links that offer me a commission when you buy. Don't worry, you don't have to pay more when you buy through me. Instead, you get the same great deals and I can continue to offer you free content on this site!

TripAdvisor: What's the #1 hotel in San Francisco? Read reviews & find hotel deals on TripAdvisor!

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Saint Patrick's Day Parties, Events & Activities

Every year, many of the Irish Pubs in SF also celebrate the holiday. Here are a few of the top events scheduled this year. Most of these parties are on St. Paddy's Day, Thursday, March 17 (with a few happening the Saturday before).

1. The Irish Bank

Every year, the Irish Bank celebrates with a fun block party. This year's festivities start at 2pm on Thursday afternoon and last all night long. Entertainment for this year's event include The Paddy's Orchestra from 2pm to 5pm, followed by The Shams from 5pm to 8pm, and DJ Marc Van Brant will finish out the evening from 8pm to 12am.

The Irish Bank will host a similar block party on Saturday, March 12, afternoon starting at noon. On Saturday, you can hear live music from The Watch from Noon to 2pm, Paddy's Orchestra from 2pm to 5pm, The Shams from 5pm to 8pm, and DJ Marc Van Brant from 8pm to 12am.

The Irish Bank is at 10 Mark Lane in the Financial District.

2. Saint Patrick's Day Pub Crawl

You will find two pub crawls to celebrate this year. The first is on Saturday, March 12 at 3pm. You must check in before 8pm at either Stock in Trade (2036 Lombard) or Bar None (1980 Union). The second pub crawl is on Thursday, March 17 at 5pm. You must check in before 9pm at Bar None (1980 Union). Both pub crawls are around Union Street in the Marina District of SF. They will offer dozens of drink specials throughout the district.

Tickets: Buy Your Tickets Online Today

3. The Chieftain Irish Pub & Restaurant

The Chieftan Irish Pub & Restaurant will have pipers/drums all day long on Thursday, March 17. You can also enjoy live music starting at 4:30pm and lasting all night long. The Chieftain is one of the few places that will serve up your ice cold beers in real glasses. The Chieftain is in the SOMA district at 198 5th St.

4. Taverna Aventine

You can also celebrate all evening long on Thursday, starting at 4pm, at Taverna Aventine (between the Financial District and North Beach). Their alley party includes food trucks, live music, and drink specials. You will find them at 582 Washington Street.

5. Maggie McGarry's Irish Pub

This North Beach Irish Pub features Irish music on Saint Paddy's Day. Enjoy the music of "Fast and the Vengefully" as they take the stage for a evening of Irish rock, reels, and jigs all night long. Maggie McGarry's is at 1353 Grant Avenue.

6. The Chapel

Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day at the Chapel. Head over early for their Sinner's Happy Hour that starts at 5pm. The event ends at 7:30pm. Come back later to see Royal Jelly Jive as they take the stage 8:30pm. They will also have food and drink specials during the show.

Tickets: Buy your tickets in advance for Royal Jelly Jive

7. Shake Your Shamrocks at Monarch

Another fun way to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day is at Monarch's Shake Your Shamrock's Party. This event features Christian Loeffler, Emanate, Jill, Bjor. Party all night long starting at 8pm. This 21+ show runs until 2am.

Tickets: Buy your tickets in advance today

8. SF Theater: Wicked & Dirty Dancing

If you are in the mood for something a little different, then head to see one of these award winning musicals. Wicked tells the story of what happened before Dorothy arrived in OZ. The show is at 8pm on Thursday night. You can also catch a performance on Dirty Dancing, which is at the Golden Gate Theater starting at 8pm.

Find Tickets: Tickets are on sale now

9. Biscuits and Blues

Biscuits & Blues is one of the best places for downhome entertainment and food in San Francisco. The venue hosts both regional and international acts. Most play blues, jazz, or both. On Saint Patrick's Day, the Lionel Young Band takes the stage at 9:30pm. In addition to the live music, make sure to come by early for some of their famous Southern Comfort food including their amazing friend chicken.

Tickets: Find tickets on sale for the show at up to 50% off

10. Batman Live, A Dark Room Parody

This live performance will take you back to the days when the Batman series was much less complex. It's the TV days when Batman, and his loyal sidekick Robin, took out the bad guys in their tight suits with visible sound effects. This show is a spoof on the original Batman TV show. It starts at 7:30pm

Tickets: On sale at up to 50% off on Goldstar

11. SF Bay Cruise

Are you looking for something to do during the day on this holiday? If so, head out on the water on this 60-minute SF Bay cruise. This fun adventure will take you past SF's top attractions including Alcatraz, Angel Island, and Sausalito. You will also get the chance to cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge - twice! The tour runs all day long.

Tickets: Find tickets at up to 50% off on Goldstar

12. SF Ballet

The SF Ballet also performance on Saint Patrick's Day. Their Thursday night performance includes both Dances at a Gathering and Swimmer. The show is at the War Memorial Opera House.

Tickets: Find tickets today

13. Comedian Emily Heller

Laugh all night long at the Punch Line Comedy Club with comedian Emily Heller. You might remember her from her appearances on Conan, Chelsea Lately, and other Comedy Central shows. She will take the stage at 8pm.

Tickets: Find tickets at up to 50% off today

14. Peter Morrison at the Marrakech Theater

Spend this night with slight of hand magician Peter Morrison at the Marrakech Theater. Morrison mixes comedy and magic for a show like no other. You will see his performances in a small, intimate theater and he loves to get the audience involved. Make sure to come over early for some pre-show drinks and watch Morrison perform a few table side tricks. The show starts at 6:30pm and the doors open at 5:30pm

Tickets: Find tickets for Thursday nights performance at up to 50% off on Goldstar

15. Performance at the SF Symphony

Enjoy a night at the SF Symphony. On Saint Patrick's Day, you will see Charles Dutoit as he conducts the SF Symphony as they play the works of Berlioz and Haydn. The performances is at Davies Symphony Hall and it starts at 8pm.

Tickets: On sale at up to 50% off on Goldstar

Other Places to Check Out

If you want a traditional meal, or a place to just hang out for the day, click the link below for some additional Irish Pubs in SF.

Learn More: Top Irish Pubs & Restaurants

Other Saint Patricks Day & Weekend Activities for 2016

Here are some additional activities planned on or around Saint Patrick's Day.

San Francisco Theater

Catch performances of Wicked at the Orpheum Theater or Dirty Dancing at the Golden Gate Theater the week of Saint Patrick's Day. Both offer multiple performances during the week and on both weekends.

Learn More: Full March Theater Calendar

North Beach Pub Crawl

Are you looking for something a little different? How about a small group pub crawl in North Beach? This popular group tour is led by a local San Franciscan who will walk you through the bars frequented by the Beat Generation. In addition to stopping for a drink or two, you will also get the chance to discover what really went on in these infamous North Beach pubs.

Find Tickets: North Beach Pub Crawl

Twilight Cruise on the SF Bay

Another fun option for Saint Patrick's Day in San Francisco is the Twilight Cruise on the Bay. This two-hour cruise offers views of the SF Skyline along with live entertainment and a hearty appetizer buffet (sandwiches, salads, fruit and desserts). A full bar will also be open on board where you can purchase both hot and cold drinks at a reasonable price during your cruise. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Find Tickets: Find Tickets at Up to 50% Off on Goldstar

San Francisco Symphony

Head over to the SF Symphony to enjoy world-class performances. The weekend before Saint Patrick's Day, you can enjoy Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody. The week of features Berlioz’s Requiem.

Learn More: Click Here for the Full March Calendar

Where to Watch the NCAA Tournament

St. Patrick's Day always coincides with the NCAA basketball tournament. Here are some of the places you can celebrate Saint Patricks Day in San Francisco and also watch the games.

1. Johnny Foley's Irish House: I've mentioned this a couple of times, so just added it to showcase that they also have a number of TVs to watch the games. I recommend heading toward the back of the bar where there are several TVs. From here, you can watch the game from several of the tables and from selected seats right at the bar.

2. Kezar Pub: This small but popular Irish bar is also a great place to watch the basketball tournament. I didn't recommended it above, since the bar mostly focuses on sports. However, it's a great place to mingle with locals and sample their amazing Bangers & Mash. The bar usually opens around 11:30 AM and is located in the Haight-Ashbury District just steps from Golden Gate Park. 770 Stanyan Street.

3. Union Square Sports Bar: The Union Square Sports Bar is an interesting place. It's a great sports bar with a number of TVs. However it's also a little bit of a dive bar and sometimes you'll find a few sketchy characters that hang around outside. The neighborhood is safe, as it's just a few blocks from Union Square, but it seems a little out of place based on the neighborhood. They don't have food, but they have a large selection of beers and a many TVs for the size of the bar. 115 Mason Street

4. Nickie's: If you're in San Francisco on St. Patrick's Day and prefer to focus on the basketball tournament versus the Irish celebrations, then Nickie's is the place for you. This sports bar in the lower Haight neighborhood offers pub food all day and a great selection of beers. They normally open around noon and you will find them at 466 Haight St.

5. Green's Sports Bar: Another great place to watch basketball is Greens Sports Bar in the Russian Hill neighborhood. This place is usually really crowded, so plan on standing for a while until a seat opens up. It's a bar only, no food, but a great place to watch the basketball games. Here you'll mainly find locals from the surrounding neighborhood. Green's normally opens around 10 AM and is at 2239 Polk St.

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