Looking for a place to spend St. Patrick’s Day shouldn’t take you long as if you’re anywhere in the area of Savannah, Georgia, you should know where you’re going to be that day! The city is home to the second biggest Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, made up of Irish traditions, a festive parade, plenty of bars and an unhealthy amount of green flair. Yes they did try to dye the river green back in 1961 for the day but it didn’t go so well and there is a lot more to see than the river on March 17th this 2013!
First thing you will need to know, hotels will go fast and parking faster! If you’re driving into the city, best to get yourself a parking space and leave your car there until the day is over. You do not want to be looking for parking in Savannah during the day as parking spaces become more valuable than gold with all the extra traffic in town for the holiday! Best bet is to get into Savannah the day before the celebrations kick in. This year the parade and most of the festivities are taking place on the 16th, the day before St. Patty’s Day this year, so watch for that.
The big show stopper for the day is the parade which starts at 10:15 am and goes on for 3 hours, literally cutting the city in half! Between the parade, the parking and the streets closed off for pedestrian walking, it is best to not drive if you can help it. (not to mention if you plan on drinking or wish to avoid any possible drunk drivers in general!) The parade is a great event for the whole family though you’ll want to get there early to get a good spot to see the floats. No one is allowed to camp out on the route before 6 am so you do have a chance, but space will fill up fast! If you know someone who lives on the parade route, see if you can’t coordinate with them for instant front row seats!
For those of legal drinking age looking to get a buzz on, you can hit the plethora of local bars offering all kinds of brews and mix drinks. It’s a trip worth experiencing but be prepared for crowds making their way around Savannah just like you! River Street will be a mad house from noon until well into the night, so while it is a lovely stretch of old buildings turned into tourist traps along the river, I’d suggest avoiding it this trip. The only place I might suggest going down there for would be Wet Willie’s bar, (101 E. River Street), with their frozen daiquiris, which at $8 will give you a nice buzz and shake off any heat the Southern state throws at you.
E. Bay Street is as close as you need to get to the river on Saint Patty’s Day, and will likely be a popular walk for most in town looking for a slightly higher end place to eat. For those looking to bar hop, E. Congress Street is the major bar stretch where you can hit the most bars with the least amount of walking. For more commercial shopping, eating and drinking you have E. Broughton St so head there or avoid it at your leisure. Taking the time to look for more places off the beaten path can be rewarding so keep an eye out! A place like Abe’s on Lincoln, (17 Lincoln Street), while still guaranteed to be busy, will have a more local flavor or at least a less tourist packed atmosphere for you to enjoy the holiday in.
To enjoy Savannah’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations the best, dig up something green to wear, check out the parade and take the chance to walk around the city enjoying the local festivities and bars, as well as the, albeit buzzed and crowded, community during the daylight hours. By the evening you’ll probably want to retired to home or hotel with a pack of your choice of brews or other drinks. We all know drinks taste better with friends so make sure you spend your time with some good company! There is so much more to Saint Patrick’s Day than just an excuse for people to go binge drinking, same as there is more to Savannah than those days when the paper mill smell rolls in. Check out the bars, drink responsibly, and hopefully your green holiday will be a good memory from the South!
Eric has enjoyed the past four years in Savannah, GA while attending the Savannah College of Art and Design but is now hunting for his place in the game industry. He definitely recommends being in Savannah for St. Patty’s Day, as long as you know what to expect and don’t throw up on his sidewalk.