What To Do in Sacramento for St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is only a few days away!
This is a holiday that often gets overlooked, as we don’t get work off to celebrate, and it is sandwiched between Valentine’s Day and Easter. Those two beg for our attention in grocery store aisles, drawing us in with chocolate and bunnies. And often, poor St. Patrick’s Day gets left out of all the fun.
Thankfully, there are several ways that Sacramento strives to avoid St. Patrick’s Day neglect, with several large celebrations and events leading up to the holiday. This is just a small reason we love our community here in Sacramento; we can always find a reason to celebrate, and we sure know how to do just that!
To make sure you capitalize on these fun Irish festivities in the area, we gathered the best of the best in one concise list for you to pick and choose from. So it’s time to grab a green beer and lift your glass to St. Patrick’s Day!
SATURDAY, MARCH 12
Start off a day jampacked with St. Patrick’s festivities with the Shamrock’n 5K and Kids’ Leprechaun Dash. As with most races, this is a chance to work up a sweat in a fun and carefree environment, all while supporting a great cause.
The Shamrock’n 5K benefits the Triumph Cancer Foundation, a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization focused on recapturing lives after cancer through their signature program, Triumph Fitness. It is a 12-week program designed to help adult cancer survivors regain their strength and stamina after cancer treatments at no cost to them.
A 5K is the perfect amount of exercise if you haven’t quite kept up that resolution to exercise more during 2016. The half-mile Kids’ Leprechaun Dash is the perfect way to get your kids 12 and under involved in St. Patrick’s Day — and more importantly, to get them moving and spending some time outdoors. And they’re sure to have a blast in the meantime!
Race day registration begins at 6:45 a.m. at Raley Field, the 5K run/walk begins at 8 a.m. and the kids’ dash starts at 9:45 a.m. Check out the 5K course map and the kids’ course map to see where the courses travel — all centered around the beautiful Raley Field.
1 p.m. | St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Old Sacramento’s 20th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of Northern California’s largest and most colorful parades, attracting crowds from all over the region. Last year, more than 15,000 people showed up to watch the parade in the 28-acre historic site of Old Sacramento.
You can expect to see large crowds again this year, as it just keeps getting bigger, better and more festive. You’ll watch over 50 units with nearly a thousand marchers pass by, including Irish dancers in elaborate Celtic costumes, bagpipe and drum bands, historic re-enactors and a variety of cultural organizations.
The parade officially begins at 1 p.m. at the intersection of 2nd and L Street in Old Sacramento and makes its way through the national historic landmark district. However, you’ll want to arrive early to enjoy live entertainment, community vendors and activities starting at 11 a.m. Plus, you’re guaranteed a better viewing spot the earlier you arrive!
All Old Sacramento streets will be closed between noon and 3 p.m., while some close as early as 10 a.m. So head down to the area as early as possible, parking in one of the three garages designated for the parade: Old Sacramento Garage on 2nd and I Street, Tower Garage on Capitol and Neasham, and Macy’s West on 3rd and L Street.
3 p.m. | St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl
Keep the party going after the parade with a true Irish tradition — drinking quality beer. Xoso Sport & Social League and the 5hundy Social Club are hosting the largest (and luckiest!) pub crawl of the year in Midtown Sacramento.
The setup is quite simple. Register online ahead of time to guarantee your spot and also to purchase your souvenir event t-shirt. You’ll then wear your t-shirt as a “ticket” of sorts as it’s the only way you can have access to amazing food and drink specials at the participating bars during the crawl. Tickets are $20 through March 11, and $25 the day of — if there are any tickets left at that point!
This is a fun and unique way to experience some of the amazing bars in town, save a few bucks, and grab some drinks along the way.
SUNDAY, MARCH 13
7:45 a.m. | Shamrock’n Half Marathon
This is a scenic, flat and fast 13.1-mile course, which crosses the historic Tower Bridge twice, passes by the Capitol, and runs through a loud cheer station at Blue Diamond Almonds. Plus, you’ll hear live music from 15 bands throughout the course, as you run with a diverse crowd ranging from costumed runners to elite athletes — and everything in between.
This fun-filled atmosphere is the perfect race for experiencing your first half marathon, or helping you train for a spring or summer marathon. And you’ll be supporting a wonderful cause all the while! The Shamrock’n Half Marathon benefits Project FIT, a nonprofit youth fitness initiative provided by Fleet Feet Sports. This initiative encourages youth fitness by providing after-school running programs for any interested Sacramento elementary school at no cost. Wonder what it’s like to run this half marathon? Watch the video below!
Register for the Shamrock’n Half Marathon in advance, pick up your race day packet between 6:30 and 7:45 a.m. at Raley Field, then get ready to roll at your wave start time. Waves 1, 2, 3 and 4 start at 7:45, 8, 8:15 and 8:30 a.m., respectively.
THURSDAY, MARCH 17
And now, the day we’ve all been waiting for! If you’re lucky enough to get a day off from work on this special Thursday, or you have a schedule that permits midday celebrations on a weekday, we know just what to do. Several of these places are keeping the party going all day — and night — long, so even if you have to work on St. Patrick’s Day, you’re still in luck.
The Irish are professionals at celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, for obvious reasons. That’s why we suggest visiting one of the best Irish pubs in the Sacramento area to take part in their respective St. Paddy’s Day festivities.
6 a.m. – 11 p.m. | The Boxing Donkey
They are opening at 6 a.m. on the 17th, only allowing guests over 21. There’s a $5 cover from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a $10 cover from 1 p.m. to close. Once you enter, you can get your photo taken with a live donkey, experience live music from noon until 10 p.m., enjoy their extended beer garden, and order from their special limited menu.
The food menu includes corned beef /colcannon, corned beef tacos, corned beef nachos and clam chowder. But we can guarantee that their drink offerings will not be limited, so grab a pint of Guinness or one of their specialty cocktails, and celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in true Irish fashion!
11 a.m. – 2 a.m. de Vere’s Irish Pub
de Vere’s Irish Pub is about as authentic a bar can get in the Irish department. The de Vere White family immigrated from Dublin to the United States and made Sacramento their home in 1984, opening this pub to bring a taste of home to the states. de Vere’s Irish Pub is Irish through and through, from the furniture and fixtures shipped in from Ireland to the 20-ounce pints of Guinness. This is the place to be this St. Patrick’s Day and beyond to feel the heartbeat of the Irish and experience their culture, food and libations.
3 p.m.– 11 p.m. | St. Patrick’s Day Party at Fox and Goose Public House
While this isn’t technically an Irish pub, Fox and Goose Public House sure knows how to throw a party. So they’re throwing a massive St. Patrick’s Day party on the 17th from 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.! In fact, they’ve quite honestly mastered the art of St. Patrick’s celebrations, as this is their 41st time hosting an event for the holiday.
You can choose from a delicious assortment of traditional Irish food all day, including corned beef and cabbage, Irish lamb stew, cornish pasty, a corned beef sandwich, banger rolls and more!
To complement your meal, grab a pint for $6 of Guinness, Harp or Bass. Or supply for the whole table with a pitcher for $18. If you’re feeling up to it, you can always take a shot of Irish whiskey or Bailey’s for $6 or an Irish Car Bomb for $8.
Enjoy a traditional yet jig-worth Irish set from Bobby & the Kennedys at 5:30 p.m. and a Sacramento favorite, The Pikeys, headlining with their Celtic punk style at 8:30 p.m. To top things off, Irish bagpipers will make their annual appearance between both bands, inviting guests to sing along and increase the Irish spirit in the room.
Be one of the first 100 people to show up at the Drunken Irish Party at Graciano’s Chicago Deep Dish Pizza & Speakeasy to receive free beer! Food will be served all night, including Chicago deep-dish pizza, wings, fried pickles and more. And between 10 and 11 p.m., you can get wells for just $3.
DJs will keep the party going all night long, along with some special entertainment from fire-dancing artists and a fire breather! Surely, this is going to be an over-the-top experience you won’t want to miss this St. Patrick’s Day.
Tickets cost $5 in advance and $10 at the door. So grab your tickets now, arrive early for that free beer, and dance the night away with friends and leprechauns!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Sacramento!
How will you celebrate? Let us know what traditions or local happenings you’re taking part in this year!