SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As St. Patrick’s Day rolls around the corner, cities all over the U.S. are preparing for a party, including Syracuse, which has ranked amongst the top 20 cities in the U.S. to celebrate the Irish-American tradition.
According to WalletHub, at least $6.85 billion is expected to be spent for the holiday this year as stated in its 2023 report on Best Cities for St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations.
Most St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are hosted at parades and New York was actually the first state to form an official St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1848 after several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades into one.
According to History.com, nearly 3 million people line the 1.5-mile parade route in NYC to watch the parade which takes more than five hours and is also celebrated in major cities like Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Savannah.
That’s why WalletHub compared 200 of the largest U.S. cities across 15 key metrics — ranging from Irish pubs and restaurants per capita to the lowest price for a three-star hotel on St. Patrick’s Day to the weather forecast — to determine which city is the best for celebrating the Irish-American holiday.
Top 20 Cities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
- Boston, MA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Chicago, IL
- Pittsburgh, PA
- New York, NY
- Reno, NV
- Santa Rosa, CA
- Naperville, IL
- Buffalo, NY
- Boise, ID
- Henderson, NV
- Worcester, MA
- Fresno, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Tampa, FL
- Syracuse, NY
- Cedar Rapids, IA
- Orange, CA
- Dayton, OH
- Milwaukee, WI
What do people spend on St. Patrick’s Day?
You probably guessed it but most people spend money on alcohol and beer on St. Patrick’s Day with a 174 percent increase in beer sales compared to the rest of the year and 153 percent more spirits are sold compared to the average day.
It’s not surprising these numbers are so large as there are over 31.5 million Americans who claim Irish ancestry, which is second to German and 6.4 times Ireland’s population.
Not only can parties be fun but also dangerous as the average number of people who were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday in 2020 was 37, killing one life every 58 minutes.
Why is St. Patrick’s Day a popular celebration?
According to experts, St. Patrick’s Day is a popular celebration in the U.S. because of the rich Irish American ancestry in the country.
“With some 32 million Americans – nearly 10 percent of the population – identifying as being Irish in a 2020 U.S. Census Bureau survey, there is a strong incentive to celebrate the ancestry and heritage of so many people. St. Patrick’s Day has traditionally provided the occasion for both celebration and contemplation. It is certainly a time to cheer but it is also a chance to look back and consider a relatively small place that has been so important to the development and history of the U.S. Many Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries considered themselves ‘exiled children’ from Ireland, and that sense created an enduring bond,” said Robert Schmuhl, Professor Emeritus; Chair in American Studies and Journalism, University of Notre Dame.
Just like Valentine’s Day and Easter, it’s become a time to come together with friends and family and celebrate in mid-March.
In terms of the social and economic considerations for cities looking to host St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, experts say they need to plan events that meet the social expectations of their citizens.
“Unfortunately, St. Patrick’s Day has often been associated with binge drinking, and this is a major concern, both from a public safety perspective and the costs of cleanup after parades and the effects of too much booze. Communities have to recognize that other ethnic/nationality/identity groups may want similar recognition of their heritage or place in society, meaning the need to provide police, sanitation, medical and other services. But cities factor these costs into their calculations of how much their businesses may benefit and how much tax revenue they will generate,” said John J. McGlennon, Professor, College of William & Mary.