St. Patrick's Day: What To Do

Modern St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish pride, culture, beer and pinching people that don’t follow the fashion rules.

But the holiday actually began as a religious festival during the 9th century, commemorating the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Since then, it has spread across the world and is as exciting for Americans as it is for the Irish. In fact, the first St. Paddy’s Day parade was held—not in Ireland—but in New York City on March 17, 1762.

Today, there are over 100 parades held across the nation, and some cities go over-the-top with their green grandeur. Chicago dyes their river green each year; Philadelphia extends the celebration by adding a “St. Practice Day” the weekend before; and New London, Wisconsin changes their name, becoming New Dublin for the day.

For a local spin, check out one of these events to see how Utah celebrates with style.

Salt Lake City

  • Highland Bagpipe Experience: Listen to traditional Celtic music, learn about the history of bagpipes and get a lesson from members of the Utah Pipe Band. The event is free, but space is limited to 120 people. Friday, March 17, 6:30 pm-8 pm. The Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main Street, SLC,
  • Leo After Dark: St. Paddy’s Day Celebration: This 21+ event is a great chance to explore the museum’s current exhibits and relax with dancing, food and drinks. This event features a cash bar, DJs, dancing, Irish movies, a graffiti mural, a Pot of Gold Robot Arm Challenge and much more. For tickets, click here. Friday, March 17, 7:30 pm-11 pm. The Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, SLC.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade: This year’s parade theme is “A Hundred Thousand Welcomes in America,” and the parade will celebrate diversity, acceptance and the history of Irish immigrants in America. Due to construction, parking will be scarce. Recommended parking lots are in The Gateway or in the parking lot at the northeast corner of North Temple and 400 West. Saturday, March 18, 10 am. The Gateway, 400 W. 100 South, SLC.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Siamsa: Derived from an Irish word meaning “celebration,” this family friendly party will feature live music, Irish dance, food and drink. Begins after the parade, Saturday, March 18, at approximately 10:45 am. Grand Ballroom, Union Pacific Depot, 18 N. Rio Grande Street, SLC.
  • St. Patrick’s Madness Weekend: What could be better than holiday cheer, basketball and beer? Gracie’s Bar is celebrating St. Paddy’s with three days of live music, DJs and games; and will be showing the NCAA Basketball Tournament on more than 40 HD TV’s. Drink green beer, play games and watch March Madness. Stop in after the parade for Saturday brunch, 10 am-3 pm. For a complete list of artists, click here. Thursday, March 16-Saturday, March 18. Gracie’s Bar, 326 S. West Temple, SLC,

Park City

  • Restaurant Specials: Several Park City restaurants are offering St. Patrick’s Day specials on Friday, March 17. Get your fill of corned beef, pot pie, lamb stew, Irish stouts and other favorites. For detailed information about specials and restaurants, click here. This year’s featured restaurants are:
    • The Brass Tag
    • Deer Valley Grocery and Cafe
    • EBS Lounge
    • Empire Canyon Grill
    • Flanagan’s
    • Red Rock Brewing
    • Snow Park Restaurant
    • Squatters and Wasatch Brew Pub
  • Cook Like You’re Irish Cooking Class: Make your own Irish feast with chef Linda Lewis Elbert. The evening’s menu consists of a Potato Bread and Mushroom Appetizer, Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream, Guinness Glazed Halibut, Sautéed Cabbage & Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Chocolate Stout Cake for dessert. This is a hands-on class for adults only. To register, click here. Friday, March 17, 6 pm-9 pm. Mindful Cuisine, 345 Aspen Lane, Park City,  
  • Saints and Sinners Ball: This St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser includes cocktails, dinner, dancing and an auction. All proceeds go to the Park City Institute student outreach programs. To buy tickets, go here or call the box office at 435-655-3114. Friday, March 17, 6 pm. St. Regis Deer Valley, 23000 Deer Valley Drive, Park City,

For The Kids

  • St. Patrick’s Day at Discovery Gateway: Wear green and experience a day of Irish-themed activities like shamrock art and the science of gold. Friday, March 17, 11 am-5 pm. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, 444 W. 100 South, SLC. 
  • St. Patrick’s Day Crafts: Unleash your inner leprechaun with holiday-themed arts and crafts. Thursday, March 16, 4 pm-5 pm. Salt Lake City Public Library, Corinne and Jack Sweet Branch, 455 F. Street, SLC, 801-594-8651.

For The Athletes

If you’d rather break a sweat than break open a bottle of Guinness, head to one of these St. Patrick’s Day races.

  • Hearts & Hands for Humanity Lucky Run: 5K and 10K. Saturday, March 18. Register hereLiberty Park, 600 E. 900 South, SLC 
  • St. Patty’s Day March, Run & Walk: 5K, 10K and Kid’s Run. Saturday, March 18. Register here. Ellison Park, 700 N. 2200 West, Layton 
  • Leprechaun Lope: 5K, 10K and Fun Run. Saturday, March 18. Register here. Utah State Capitol, 350 N. State Street, SLC.


By Megan Skuster

Salt Lake Magazine
Salt Lake Magazine
Salt Lake is your best guide to the Utah lifestyle. From food to fashion, travel and the arts, Salt Lake magazine has something for everyone. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @SLmag.

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