Céad Míle Fáilte—a hundred thousand welcomes—to a day in which all Irish and Non-Irish come together, hand in hand, and drive the snakes from their hearts and their town. That’s right, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, the only day of the year with a mistletoe equivalent, “Kiss me, I’m Irish.” St Patrick’s Day in San Diego includes the St Patrick’s Day parade, green beer and corned beef, live music, and an Irish festival. You’ll find shamrock decorations throughout downtown San Diego and at the city’s most beloved venues.
Living in such a magnificent city, you’re probably wondering what San Diego has in store for you? St. Patrick’s Day San Diego events are bold and all-encompassing. They take over the city each year on St Patrick’s Day weekend. Our San Diego tours can help you find all of the city’s hidden St Patrick’s Day gems.
You’ve come to the right place. Another article especial, courtesy of the experts here at So Diego Tours, where each stop will feel like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
As is customary on major holiday celebrations, if the actual day of festivities happens upon a Monday – Thursday, the city-wide events take place on the weekend before or the weekend after. Because St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Tuesday (the 17th), most of these celebrations will be happening the weekend before (13th to 15th).
Although if you choose to continue the festivities long into the next weekend—no judgment here; go on with your Irish self!
Shimmering shamrocks! Let’s get on with it, shall we?
St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run
Get the green blood pumping bright and early at the Pacific Beach 5k (and 1k; for kids) Leprechaun Run. You know you’re going to be stuffing yourself silly with corned beef and mashed potatoes, so please, do yourself a favor and get the exercise over with now. Trust us, it’s much better than trying to burn calories after each shot. The non-stop music and drink tickets to the festivities will feel better after a hard run. There are runners of all types, some take the race seriously and want to win while others jog along to get their daily exercise in.
Although beer yoga is a thing now…
Anyways, this 5k put on by the San Diego Running Company will surely get you in the mood for a long day of Irish fun (and Irish Car Bombs). It is a celebration activity you won’t want to miss with or without your Tullamore dew whiskey. Bonus points for:
- Dressing up as a leprechaun
- Sporting green, yellow bow ties, or anything else festive
- Skipping and frolicking the entire race
- Downing a Guinness at the finish line (keep it safe though, people!)
Register here, if you’re game. Looking for things to do in Pacific Beach afterward? When you’re finished with your run and the sun begins to go down, we recommend you visit a couple of Pacific Beach bars.
Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade San Diego
In Balboa Park, every year, clover fields of joyful souls donning green, flat caps, kilts, and pipes crowd together to watch the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade San Diego. Here, you’ll get to learn about Irish culture and celebrate the Irish way with music, dancing, cuisine, and of course, with a pint in hand.
To offer a quick scope:
- Traditional Irish Food – Everybody knows that meat and potatoes are a big staple of Irish cuisine. Some traditional dishes include Stew, Boxty (which are potato pancakes), Colcannon (which is mashed potato, cabbage, and butter), Shepherds Pie, and Corned Beef.
- Traditional Irish Garm – The kilt, originally part of the Scottish wardrobe, was adopted by the Irish. Tweed vests, flat caps, leather boots, and bowties are all perfect garments to fit in at the parade.
- Traditional Irish Dance – Get ready to step to the beat. Irish step dance, or Riverdance, uses stomps, clicks, and taps of the feet to bring extra acoustics to the accompanying music.
See all this and more at Balboa Park on the 14th from 9 am to 6 pm.
ShamROCK the Gaslamp Quarter
Paint the Gaslamp Quarter green this year by celebrating this legendary San Diego tradition. From 2pm until midnight, come tour the spectacular downtown transformation that is ShamROCK where 6 blocks become covered by 50,000-square-feet of green grass.
Here, you’ll find:
- Musical guests like the Young Dubliners headlining the event
- Daytime games
- Nighttime clubs and dancing
- Green beer and plenty of classic Irish drinks (yes, like whiskey)
It’s the block party of the year where leprechauns drink for free. Afterward, check out these fun things to do in downtown San Diego.
So Diego Tours
As an interesting note—all ye lads and lasses might like to know—San Diego is home to quite a large Irish population. According to self-reported surveys through San Diego County, Irish is the third highest population demographic, coming in at about 268,000 people. If you were wondering where all the green appeared from, now you know there’s rich cultural identity and history hidden right in plain view.
To that end, why not spend this commemorative time learning a little more about the people and the city in which you live. That’s right, we’re talking about a San Diego tour—a booze- and food-filled walkabout where you can discover more about this sunshine city.
Among the city’s favorite tours are:
- Brothels, Bites & Booze – Down some of San Diego’s tastiest bites and booze while learning about the secret history of San Diego’s infamous red-light district. Plus, with this Gaslamp tour in San Diego, you’ll find yourself in the heart of all the St. Patty’s Day celebrations.
- Vino! Vino! Little Italy Wine Tour – Less than a ten-minute Uber ride from both the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the ShamROCK event is this Italian wine tour. Why not stay classy San Diego, and prep your evening with one of SoCal’s most eclectic wine tastings.
Check out our times and availability!
St. Patrick’s Day Cruise
Speaking of iconic San Diego flair, want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a way that’s truly unique to San Diego? Consider a cruise around the bays and harbors of San Diego. Experience what makes this sunny city by the sea so attractive to people near and far by spotting whales, smelling the salty air, and of course, downing your favorite Irish whiskey in the process.
This midnight St. Patrick’s Day cruise is a strictly 21+ event, so be prepared to get a little wild. Boarding begins at 8:30 pm, is out to sea by 9:00 pm, and concludes at midnight.
Celebrating Into The Wee Hours of the Morn
If there’s only one thing you need to know about celebrating the Irish way, it’s that the party doesn’t stop until the wee hours of the morning. So, eat a hearty breakfast, get a little exercise to fuel your tanks, and be prepared to get lucky—it’s St. Patrick’s Day, after all. Luck is in the air.
That’s it for the St. Patrick’s Day San Diego events. As a last bit of advice: If you feel a sudden urge to chase down a rainbow in search of gold, always bring a friend.
- National Geographic. Did St. Patrick Really Drive Snakes Out of Ireland? https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/3/140315-saint-patricks-day-2014-snakes-ireland-nation/
- Statistical Atlas. Ancestry in San Diego County, California. https://statisticalatlas.com/county/California/San-Diego-County/Ancestry