You don’t need the luck of the Irish to find affordable last-minute flights for St. Paddy’s weekend. March 17 falls on a Friday (a March Break Friday for many), making this an ideal year for a long weekend celebration. And it’s not too late to get in on the fun. We looked at the average round-trip prices travellers are finding for flights departing for a long weekend (between Wednesday, March 15, and Friday, March 17) and rounded up 17 destinations where the celebrations are epic but the airfares are not.
Pack your bags, grab some festive garb and make your friends green with envy this St. Patrick’s Day.
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. – Average airfare $338 (CAD)
Whether you make Boston your sole stop for St. Paddy’s Day weekend or combine it with a side trip to nearby Providence, R.I., the main event is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston on Sunday, March 19. Weekend celebrations also include American Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys’ concert at the House of Blues on March 16 and walking Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail.
New York, New York, U.S. – Average airfare $408 (CAD)
New York is hosting celebrations throughout the five boroughs. From the iconic NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world (the parade was first held in 1762) that marches down Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan starting at 11:00 a.m. on March 17, to “Little Ireland” in the Woodlawn area of the Bronx, there is something for everyone looking to discover the luck of the Irish. Other options include an Irish walking tour from Big Onion Tours on March 18. This family-friendly tour takes guests through the former “Little Ireland” district of the Lower East Side, between City Hall and Houston Street. Don’t miss the 42nd annual Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 19, making a loop from Prospect Park West to Seventh Avenue and back. The parade commemorates the Battle of Brooklyn and pays tribute to the Irish for their significant and historic contributions while marching through the neighbourhoods of Prospect Park and Park Slope in Brooklyn.
Kelowna, British Columbia – Average airfare $453 (CAD)
St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect holiday to hop on Kelowna’s craft beer scene. Swig adventurous flavour profiles at Kettle River Brewing, raise a glass of IPA at BNA Brewing Co., sample German-style lagers with the city’s new kid on the block Boundary Brewing, knock back Lebowski Lager from Freddy’s Brew Pub and salute the godfather of Kelowna’s craft scene, Tree Brewing Co. at their Tree Brewing Beer Institute. Don green garb and head downtown to partake in festive parties at Carlos O’Bryan’s, O’Flannigans, Fernando’s Pub and Doc Willoughby’s Public House.
Winnipeg, Manitoba – Average airfare $464 (CAD)
Winnipeg hosts one of the greenest St. Patrick’s Day parades. Many of the parade’s floats, banners, flags and balloons are made out of mostly recycled, reclaimed and reused items. The Winnipeg St. Patrick’s Day Parade is scheduled for March 18. Post-parade, enjoy a pint or two at area pubs and live music venues, which are all decked out for the holiday. Join the McConnell Irish Dancers and The Bart House Band and enjoy Guinness stew, shepherd’s pie, Guinness, Harp and Irish Whiskey at Saint Boniface/Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S. – Average airfare $488 (CAD)
Indianapolis, Ind., is so festive even the Central Canal is dyed green. But choosing just one event will be a challenge. Celebrate all things Irish in Indy starting with the fifth annual Blarney Bash at 11:00 a.m. on March 17. The massive block party features live music, tasty treats and drink vendors lining the boardwalk. Or head over to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 11:30 a.m. There’s a block party there, as well, with entertainment, food and a beer garden from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More live music, Irish food and fun waits at the 20th annual Indianapolis Downtown Irish Fest beginning at noon on March 17. Cap off the celebration at the sixth annual St. Pats Bar Crawl on March 18.
Halifax, Nova Scotia – Average airfare $498 (CAD)
To get your St. Patrick’s Day foodie fix in Halifax, join the best craic in town and indulge in Irish breakfast all day at Durty Nelly’s. On March 17, enjoy dinner and performances by the Nova Scotia Irish Dancers and traditional music at the Festival of St. Patrick Dinner and dance the night away at the Saint Paddy’s Dance in Dartmouth. Drink for a cause at the St. Patrick’s Day Pub Party at Jenny’s Place, which supports the Northern Lights Lantern Festival.
Portland, Oregon, U.S. – Average airfare $499 (CAD)
Always green Portland, Ore., hosts a variety of St. Patty’s Day parties like the annual St. Patrick’s Festival led by Kells Irish Pub, which includes live music, bagpipes, dancing amateur boxing and Irish dance performances March 17-19. Next door, Kells Brewery is hosting its inaugural Irish Beer Festival, which features speciality Irish style beers and cider from a dozen area breweries March 17-19. Complete the celebration with a Shamrock Run, the second-largest running and walking event on the West Coast of the U.S., and a Portland tradition since 1979. Run through downtown Portland in a sea of green with live music, beer gardens and soup waiting at the finish line.
Regina, Saskatchewan – Average airfare $518 (CAD)
Regina locals attest the best place to be on St. Patrick’s Day is O’Hanlon’s Irish bar, which, for many years in a row, has sold the most kegs of Guinness in a single day of any bar in Canada. Enjoy a full Irish menu all day plus Irish dancers, Regina Pipe band, live Celtic acoustic music by Dave Flett and tunes by Celtically Hip, Pile O’ Bones Brass Band and more. This year, the bar is serving beer by a new local microbrewery.
Victoria, Canada – Average airfare $534 (CAD)
Celebrate at the two-floor Irish Times Pub or at one of a dozen or so pubs that host St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and parties in Victoria. In nearby Vancouver, there are plenty of pubs to toast St. Patrick’s Day. Established in 1972, the Blarney Stone is the longest running Irish pub in Vancouver. Western Canada’s largest Celtic celebration is also held here. From entertainment and a parade to whiskey tasting and live music, there is much to see and do during Celtic Fest, which runs from March 10-18.
Toronto, Ontario – Average airfare $538 (CAD)
Toronto has a very strong Celtic heritage. Pub crawls, an Irish Film Festival, performances and fun runs are among the many events marking St. Patrick’s Day. Toronto hosts Canada’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 19, but festivities begin with the Grand Master’s Ball at Casa Loma on March 17. Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral, which is now a basilica, is saying a St. Patrick’s Day mass at 10:00 a.m. on March 17. The revelry isn’t complete without indulging in a pint or two at area pubs like Cèilí Cottage, which has special events scheduled from March 9-17, or by finding a pint o’ gold at the Steam Whistle Brewing’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Party on March 17.
Fort Myers, Florida, U.S. – Average airfare $538 (CAD)
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a laid-back beach vibe in Fort Myers, Fla. The annual downtown block party on Friday, March 17, offers music, food and drink from 4-10 p.m. Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub hosts one of the area’s most popular parties on Friday, March 17, with bagpipers, Irish dancers, corned beef and cabbage and plenty o’ beer. Prep for all this eating and drinking with Gold Coast Runners St. Patrick’s Day 5K Fun Run on Thursday, March 16. See if you can win the Who’s the Greenest contest by wearing the most green gear and dance to live Irish music post-race.
Calgary, Alberta – Average airfare $540 (CAD)
There are plenty of St. Patty’s Day options in Calgary, from Irish cultural performances to green beer. Fuel up at Big Rock Brewery’s Brewmaster Dinner, Handcrafted: A Kickoff to St. Patrick’s Day on March 16 and listen and dance to Irish tunes (the Irish Cultural Society of Calgary is hosting a variety of concerts). There are a trio of pub crawls and tours, including the Shamrock Shaker Pub Crawl on March 17, St. Paddy’s “Shamrock” Club Crawl on March 17 and Calgary Brewery Tours on March 17 and 18. If visitors are still thirsty, there are a plethora of pubs offerings festive food and drink and special St. Patty’s Day events and parties throughout the city.
Montréal, Canada – Average airfaire $541 (CAD)
The Irish in Montréal have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day for nearly 260 years and have held a parade as the centrepiece of those celebrations for 194 consecutive years. There are almost as many Quebecois with Irish heritage as the entire population of Ireland. But most don’t know there are many events spanning nearly two months (like the Montreal Irish film festival) that encapsulates what locals call the “Irish Season.” More than 100 groups march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade at noon on March 19, which is even more festive this year as the city celebrates its 375th anniversary.
Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, U.S. – Average airfare $549 (CAD)
Raleigh offers revellers plenty to do on St. Patrick’s Day. Take part in one of the festive pub crawls through the city’s lively bar scene. On Friday, March 17, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Crawl kicks off at Anchor Bar and hits all the local favourites in the Fayetteville Street area. Or, if you’d prefer to stay put, head over to Blackfinn Uptown for a St. Patrick’s Day bash that includes a photo booth, DJ and green beer specials. Sign up online for $2 and avoid the cover at the door. If you’re looking for a celebration of Irish heritage minus the green food colouring, head over to Tir na nOg Pub for traditional Irish music and dance on multiple stages, outdoor seating and plenty of food and drink.
Savannah, Georgia, U.S. – Averagea airfare $591 (CAD)
In Savannah, Ga., festivities begin long before St. Paddy’s Day with dying the water in the city’s fountains green.The main events, however, are the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17 and St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 16-18. The celebration culminates with the St. Patrick’s Day Fire Ball, a dance party hosted by IAFF Savannah Firefighters. If Savannah flights aren’t the best option for you, keep in mind you party buses run all weekend from Atlanta. You can then double-up the fun by catching some of the celebration at Fado Irish Pub, which closes down the streets of the Buckhead shops to host Atlanta’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day block party. Head indoors and celebrate St. Pat’s Day with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Irish-American Celtic band Cherish the Ladies March 17-18.
Miami, Florida – Averagea airfare $597 (CAD)
There is never a shortage of nightlife options in Miami, and St. Patrick’s Day is no different. Head to SHOTS Miami for their St. Paddy’s Blowout, where you can partake in drink specials before making use of the festive selfie booth. If you’d rather not stay put, join the hundreds of revellers taking part in the St. Patrick’s Wynwood bar crawl, which starts at SHOTs and takes you to a handful of area bars. Or, get an early start and celebrate St. Patrick with an outdoor block party at Fado Irish Pub on Friday, March 17. There will be live bands, DJs and plenty of beer and cocktail tents.
Dallas, Texas, U.S. – Average airfare $684 (CAD)
Not your typical St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Dallas puts its own local spin on the festivities with Cowtown Goes Green. Held at the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, it’s the city’s largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration. With an Irish-meets-Western parade, cattle drive, armadillo races and live music, it’s sure to be a memorable celebration. Saturday, March 18, check out Women of Ireland, a traditional dance show and celebration of all things Irish. For a more unconventional celebration, head over to The Dallas Derby Devils’ annual “Clover Cup” from March 17-19 for some festive roller derby action.
Are you getting away this St. Patrick’s Day? Let us know where you’re heading in the comments below.
Main image: iStockPhoto/shironosov