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.
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.
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.
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, Booking.com, or Expedia before you book your hotel. They offer several discounts on room rates, parking, wifi, and more. Click the links below for details.
Every year, many of the Irish Pubs in SF also celebrate the holiday. Here are a few of the top events scheduled last year. This year's events will be available soon. I'll update each one below as the details are made public.
The Chieftan Irish Pub & Restaurant will have pipers/drums all day long. You can also enjoy acoustic music by Ivor Collins starting at 5pm and lasting until late. The Chieftain is in the SOMA district at 198 5th St.
This North Beach Irish Pub features two types of Irish Music on Saint Paddy's Day. Starting at 3:30pm, listen to "The TradMen" as they perform traditional Irish Music. At 7pm, the "Fast and the Vengefully" take the stage for a evening of Irish rock, reels, and jigs all night long. Maggie McGarry's is at 1353 Grant Avenue.
Every year, the Irish Bank celebrates with a fun block party. This year's festivities start at noon on Tuesday afternoon and last all night long. Entertainment for this year's event include The Watch from 12pm to 3pm, followed by The Shams from 3pm to 6pm, and DJ Marc Van Brant will finish out the evening from 6pm to 12am.
The Irish Bank will host the exact same block party on Saturday afternoon starting at noon.
The Irish Bank is at 10 Mark Lane in the Financial District.
You can also celebrate all evening long, 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.
One of the largest Saint Paddy's Day Street Parties is in the Financial District on Front Street. Hosted every year by the Royal Exchange, this event features live music, cold Guinness, and green beer. The party starts at 3pm on Tuesday, March 17. The Royal Exchange is at 301 Sacramento at Front Street.
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
& Street Fairs
In addition to the Saint Paddy's day events, there are also several other activities planned this weekend. Here are just a few other things you can do in San Francisco on Saint Patrick's Day weekend.
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
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
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
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
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.