Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Bing Maps

Bing Maps is a great tool for exploring and learning about many things, including the numerous celebrations held each year in cities across the country. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, named in honor of the patron saint of Ireland. It is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and is widely celebrated in the United States and other nations with a large Irish immigrant heritage. Celebrations in the US often involve a festive parade so this month I’ll highlight some of the most well-known parade locations in the country. And don’t forget to check out all our newest Bing Maps imagery this month at the bottom of this post.

Flowing Green in the Windy City

Chicago, Illinois holds what is perhaps the most recognized St. Patrick’s Day celebration, due in part to a tradition of dying the Chicago River a vibrant green, a tradition that began in the 1960’s. The parade starts at the intersection of Balbo and South Columbus Drives in the heart of Grant Park and continues north towards downtown. The image below, taken from the Bing Maps Preview App, is looking straight down Columbus Drive with the Chicago River (sans dye) in the foreground:

Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade route, 3D

Downtown Chicago and the St. Patrick’s Day parade route on Bing Maps Preview App


The official viewing stand is set up by Buckingham Fountain in the distance. If you’d like to attend this year’s parade—the city’s 60th—unfortunately the “Luck o’ the Irish” is not with you. The parade is held on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.


Digging Out for the Big Parade

While Chicago might have the edge in notoriety for its green river, the historical champion of St. Patrick’s Day parades is Boston, Massachusetts. According to the latest U.S. Census data, about 17% of Massachusetts residents are of Irish descent, so Boston takes its St. Patrick’s Day parade seriously, and despite the record snowfall in that city this year, the parade went on as planned. Beginning at the Broadway ‘T’ station, the parade heads south to Andrew Square:

Andrew Square, Boston

Andrew Square, terminus of the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade on Bing Maps


Some Healthy Irish Rivalry

Not that Boston and New York need more to stoke the rivalry between the two cities, what with a host of professional sports between them, but while Boston can lay claim to the earliest celebration of the feast day of St. Patrick in 1737, New York claims the first organized parade in 1762. The parade begins at 44th Street and 5th Avenue and progresses up 5th Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street:

St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, 3D

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, NY on Bing Maps Preview App


St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, Streetside

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, NY from street-level on Bing Maps


From there the parade continues along 5th Avenue and Central Park all the way up to 79th Street where it finishes in the shadow of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, almost 6 hours after it started:

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 3D

Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY on Bing Maps Preview App


Now that is a healthy hike for the 150,000 to 250,000 marchers that participate each year! True to tradition, the parade is for those that enjoy exercise and does not feature floats, automobiles or commercial displays.

Celebrations on the Emerald Isle

Of course if you want authenticity and several days of celebrations you need to go to Ireland (dubbed “the emerald isle” by physician, political radical and poet William Drennan). The capital, Dublin, hosts a 4-day festival featuring numerous entertainment and cultural events, culminating in a parade through downtown on March 17th. The route (click here to view) winds from Parnell Square, across the River Liffey, and onwards to—what else—St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Birds Eye

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin Ireland on Bing Maps


I hope this has piqued your interest and you take a few minutes searching out some of the many St. Patrick’s Day parade routes in your favorite cities.


Mike Gilbert, Principal Lead Program Manager Bing Maps


New 2D and 3D cities this month include:

United States Germany
Anaheim, CA (and surrounding areas) Frankfurt (eastern suburbs)
Long Beach, CA
Oceanside, CA
Phoenix, AZ
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA

New Streetside cities this month include:

Altavista, VA
Angier, NC 27501
Beverly Hills, CA
Charlotte, NC
Conyers, GA 30013
Dallas, TX 75220
Del Mar, CA
Durham, NC
Edmond, OK 73025
Flagstaff, AZ
Hurst, TX 76054
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Los Angeles, CA 90043
Naples, FL 34116
New River, AZ 85087
Oklahoma City, OK 73129
Pauline, SC 29374
Raleigh, NC
Rimrock, AZ 86335
Sharpsburg, GA 30277
Simpsonville, SC 29680

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