A Pet-Friendly Review of 8 World-Famous St. Patrick’s Day Parades

Posted by Billy Francis

It’s time to slip on Fido’s best green outfit, top up your Guinness and get your Irish on for the best St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world! If your second cousin twice removed once met an Irish person, you and Fido are basically half Irish and can join in the festivities at parades, parties and pub gatherings around the globe. Just remember that your dog will be surrounded by thousands of proud and sometimes raucous revelers, so pups who prefer quiet time should sit this one out. They can still wear green to show off their inner leprechaun, or raise a toast with a dog beer for the occasion! For all you Irish Wolfhounds out there, here’s our pet-friendly review of eight of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day parades around.


The Garda Dog Unit on parade in Dublin. Photo by St. Patricks Festival

Although we have to start with the granddaddy of St. Patrick’s Day parades, the organizers of the Dublin festival informed us that they “would not encourage the public to bring their pets to attend the event with them,” due to the massive crowds. Although a number of events are hosted in pet-friendly parks such as Merrion Square, even these attract thousands of participants. Festivities run for five days in Dublin, beginning on March 13 and ending on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). Marching bands and theater companies take to the streets and gather on floats to celebrate the country’s heritage and reenact tales of times gone by. Also marching are the Garda police dogs of Dublin, an integral part of the An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s national police and security service.

If it all becomes too much for your pup, escape to your room at the centrally located Hilton Dublin. You can also bring Fido to Killiney Hill, a dog park with views of the sweeping Irish coastline.

New York

Will Fido feel comfortable in this press of people? Photo by NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade FB

The Big Apple is famous for hosting spectacular parades, and the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade is no different. This televised event takes place on March 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and marches along Fifth Avenue, passing a number of NYC attractions including St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Central Park. While the parade forbids animals and mascots along the parade route or in the stands, Scott Prestopino, one of the organizers, told us that “if a spectator wants to bring his/her dog while they watch from the sidewalk, that is up to them. However, with more than a million people lined up watching the parade, that might present a problem for the dog.”

Located just a few blocks from the parade route, The Benjamin welcomes canine visitors of any size with complimentary use of a bed and bowls. It’s also steps away from Peter Detmold Park and Dog Run, a rare oasis in midtown.

San Francisco

Irish wolfhounds getting ready to march. Photo by Northern California Irish Wolfhound Club / Junko Ishihara

While Dublin and New York may not the best places for pups on St. Paddy's Day, Frisco rolls out the green carpet for them. Kicking off on March 14, the San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Parade is the West Coast’s grandest Irish event and features more than 100 floats, Irish dance troupes and marching bands. Many people bring their dogs to watch the festivities, and the four-legged members of the Northern California Irish Wolfhound Club are an annual attraction. If you’re looking for more bang for your bark, bring your pooch to the St. Patrick’s Day Dog Parade from 1 to 4 p.m. on March 15. It’s the largest event of the year at Patrick’s Park and features a dog costume contest, raffles and even a Doga session. A portion of the proceeds goes to Rocket Dog Rescue.

Make the other "leprechounds" green with envy when you check into the Argonaut Hotel. Fido will be greeted with a treat at the front desk and will appreciate the park within walking distance from his room.


Look of the Irish. Photo by Alexandra Wimley/BU News Service

Boston has been called the “Capital of Irish America,” and there is no neighborhood more Irish in Beantown than South Boston. This community does St. Paddy proud with its annual parade, which takes place this year on March 15. The celebration dates back to 1901 and includes a bit of colonial history, as St. Patrick’s Day coincides with Evacuation Day. On March 17, 1776, the British evacuated Boston, giving General Washington his first victory of the American Revolution. As such, don’t be surprised if you see a troop of “soldiers” in colonial garb firing their muskets as they march with the myriad colorful floats and Irish pipe and drum bands.

After the parade, treat your pup to the relative peace, quiet and open grounds of Peter’s Park before heading back to your pet-friendly digs at the Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf.


It’s not magic, it’s 40 pounds of vegetable food dye. Photo by ShamROCK Chicago

After the arrival of huge numbers of Irish refugees in the 19th century, Chicago became known as the epicenter of Ireland in America. To this day, people flock from all around the world to enjoy St. Patrick's Day festivities in Chi-Town. Every year, organizers dye the Chicago River green in homage to the color of the day and on March 14, the city kicks off not one parade, but three. You can bring Fido to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the South Side Irish Parade, or the Northwest Side Irish Parade. Outside of Dublin, the South Side Irish Parade is the largest celebration of St. Paddy’s Day in the world. There’s music, dancing and plenty of floats to keep you entertained.

“Ruff” revelers can recover at the pet-friendly Thompson Chicago, where they will be greeted with treats, bowls, a pet store coupon and a bed.


Looking just peachy on St. Paddy’s Day. Photo by jglennphoto

Did you know that Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the country’s oldest? It dates back to 1858, which also makes it Atlanta’s longest-running event. The family-friendly emphasis ranks it among the best parades around for four-legged lucky charms. In fact, when we contacted the event organizers, we received an enthusiastic confirmation that Fido is welcome to attend. No less than four local dog groups walk in the parade, along with (of all things) llamas! The parade route runs along Peachtree Street in Midtown, a popular commercial and cultural hub in the city.

This year’s parade takes place on March 14. When you’re ready to leave the crowd behind, you’ll be just a few blocks away from your pet-friendly room at the Residence Inn by Marriott Atlanta Midtown Georgia Tech.


Ready to roll on St. Patrick’s Day. Photo by Outlaw Off-Road Riders

Pittsburgh has a huge Irish community, and the city draws crowds of more than 200,000 to its annual parade. Stepping off on March 14, the event includes many Irish dog breed groups and rescue organizations. Although the festivities are great fun, note that furry spectators will have to endure the sounds of gunshots from muskets and the sirens of firetrucks in addition to other loud noises.

Book a room at the historic, pet-friendly Omni William Penn Hotel and stay close to all the action on parade day.


"Kiss me, I'm Irish!" Photo by @savannahcityof

The Irish and the Irish-for-a-day gather in Savannah on March 17 to honor St. Patrick, and many revelers bring their pups in tow. The city’s parade traces its roots back to 1824 and has grown to be one of the largest in the world. Join the celebration with your canine as it winds its way through the historic downtown district. Before the festivities begin, pick up some green gear for Fido at Woof Gang Bakery on River Street.

Enjoy a pet-friendly weekend in this charming city with a stay at the Hamilton-Turner Inn. Your four-legged friend will love the complimentary treats at this pet-friendly bed and breakfast, while you’ll fall for the gourmet Southern breakfasts and nightly turndown service with cookies!

How are you and your dog celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by Outlaw Off-Road Riders.