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A Guide To The Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 12, 2014 10:00 AM

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While you may have the luck of the Irish on your side, without a little planning and foresight, you’re day of celebrating could become a bit overwhelming. So here’s our guide to enjoying the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and all that the city has to offer.

More: NYC’s 7 Best Irish Pubs

The Basics

St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City - March 17, 2012 (credit: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City – March 17, 2012 (credit: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Start Time: 11 a.m.
Location: 44th Street and Fifth Avenue

The parade marches up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street and ends at 79th Street at approximately 4:00 p.m. Previously, the parade reached all the way to 86th Street, but it was shortened last year in an effort to save money on police overtime costs.

Getting There

Metro-North Railroad  (credit: CBSNewYork)

Metro-North Railroad (credit: CBSNewYork)

There are several parking garages in Midtown, but on parade day, public transportation is a much better option. From the Hudson Valley, Westchester County, and Connecticut, ride Metro-North Railroad to Grand Central Station. It’s an easy walk west from Grand Central to the parade route, starting at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street. From Long Island take the LIRR to Penn Station. It’s about a 20-minute walk to the start of the Parade from Penn Station, or you can take the F, V, B or D trains for service along Sixth Ave.

If you’re looking to start your St. Patrick’s Day buzz early, it’s important to note that both Metro-North Railroad and the LIRR have alcohol bans in place on the day of the parade.

No alcoholic beverages will be permitted on NJ TRANSIT trains to and from New York and Hoboken.

For Subway tips, check out Hopstop or use the HopStop iphone app to plan your trip.

LIRR
MetroNorth
NJ TRANSIT
Parade’s Official Site

Where to Watch

Parade-goers watch the 251st St Patrick's Day Parade up 5th Avenue in New York on March 17, 2012. (credit: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Parade-goers watch the 251st St Patrick’s Day Parade up 5th Avenue in New York on March 17, 2012.(credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

To avoid the crowds, stand anywhere north of 66th Street and Fifth Avenue. The upper steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art provide a great view. You can also get a close-up view of the marchers at 79th Street where the Parade route ends.

Nearby Restaurants & Bars

doc watsons A Guide To The Fifth Avenue St. Patricks Day Parade

Doc Watson’s on Second Ave

Doc Watson’s
1490 Second Avenue between 77th and 78th streets
docwatsons.com

This Irish pub sits three avenues from the parade route. Hopefully, you’ll get lucky on St. Patrick’s Day and get to enjoy some warm weather with your meal by sitting outside in their garden. You’ll also find a pool table, darts, and great live traditional Irish music on Sunday nights.

Wright
1071 Fifth Avenue at 88th Street
thewrightrestaurant.com

Located a few blocks from the end of the route, you’ll find a chic European restaurant known as The Wright. Its modern motif and American menu is sure to fulfill your appetite on this busy day. It is also located right outside of the Guggenhiem Museum.

Maggie’s Place
21 E. 47th St. (Madison Ave.)
maggiesnyc.com

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional Irish breakfast at Maggie’s Place. You’ll find this Irish restaurant just a few blocks from the beginning of the parade route. It is a small, family-owned business, which is refreshing in such a big city.

Rockefeller Center
visit5thavenue.com

Along Fifth Avenue between 49th and 51st streets, there are plenty of tourist hot spots to grab food or just snacks. There are several sleek restaurants, plus options for eating on a budget and delis to stop at.

Tips And Tricks

Members of the New York City Fire Department march during the 251st St Patrick's Day Parade up 5th Avenue in New York on March 17, 2012. (Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the New York City Fire Department march during the 251st St Patrick’s Day Parade up 5th Avenue in New York on March 17, 2012. (Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Check mta.info to get the latest information on public transportation in New York City.

Bathrooms. The best public bathrooms are in Bryant Park, only two blocks from the beginning of the parade, otherwise be observant of restaurants and hotels, especially if you are standing in more northern area.

Make sure to hold your child’s hand. The streets will be busy, so stick together. You’ll need to walk fast and maneuver to keep up with the event.

Pack snacks. New York City certainly can be expensive, so packing snacks will help your budget. If you must buy on-site, I recommend venturing into Central Park for some easy-to-carry options.

Alcohol. Public drinking of alcohol is strictly forbidden during the parade. Anyone found drinking can be ticketed and arrested, and police will confiscate all alcoholic beverages.

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