Did you know that people from Ireland were among the first immigrants to this area? They came here in the early 19th century to help dig canals along the Grand River. So Irish heritage is Grand Rapids heritage – and Grand Rapids knows how to celebrate St. Patrick’s day right!
There are great opportunities to get your shamrock on – and since St. Patrick’s Day falls in the middle of the week, we’re officially extending the celebration from one weekend to the next!
Eat, Drink and Be Irish
Celebrate the holiday by letting someone else do the cooking – and brewing, distilling and mixing – even if your cuisine of choice isn’t Irish. Search 900+ restaurants for the fare, ambience and neighborhood of your choice. Bars and restaurants are currently limited to 25% capacity indoors, so many advise guests to make reservations or call ahead for seating.
If you can’t (or prefer not to) get in, consider dining out. Outdoor dining spaces were all the rage this winter – and something tells us they’re going to be hot tickets for the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Many restaurants also offer carryout/delivery!
Speaking of carryout – Refreshment Areas in Downtown, Bridge Street and Monroe North allow you to purchase alcohol from participating businesses and drink them as you walk around the designated areas. The Irish would approve!
Flanagan’s Irish Pub is hosting its annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Saturday, March 13. Enjoy live Irish music, drinks and food from 7 am to 10 pm – either indoors or outdoors. Seating is available in two-hour blocks and wristband tickets must be purchased in advance. Click here for details. The annual Irish on Ionia festival is canceled this year, but Flanagan’s is keeping the street party concept alive!
Downtown’s Garage Bar and Grill is closing down a block of Ottawa Street outside its front door to give customers plenty of room to social distance while listening to live music throughout the day. March 12.
Quinn & Tuites Irish Pub is another little piece of Ireland here in GR. St. Patrick’s Day Week festivities may be a bit lower key than usual, but no less fun!
O’Toole’s Public House offers Guinness on tap and plenty of Irish whiskeys along with a few Emerald Isle-inspired dishes – like the corned beef O’Reuben.
Grattan Irish Pub, about 20 miles northeast of downtown GR, is a friendly neighborhood pub with a large, from-scratch food menu.
A St. Patrick’s Day Beer Dinner at Third Nature Brewing Company offers a four-course meal with a different beer pairing at each course. March 17.
The City of Rockford is throwing a St. Patrick’s celebration in its Outdoor Refreshment Area, featuring a Leprechaun Hunt, Luck of the Draw Giveaway, live entertainment and more. Rockford Brewing Company is joining in the fun with food and drink specials. March 12-14.
Green beer may not be on the menu at every local craft brewery – but you’re sure to find lots of Irish-themed selections and specials all weekend long.
Entertainment & Exploration
There’s one last chance to see the Seasonal Wonders Projection Show in downtown GR. The last holdover from the outdoor World of Winter Festival presents its final curated projection art shows March 13 & 14. It’s not particularly Irish, but it is a blast!
The Irish are famous for their humor – so what better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than attending LaughFest, our community-wide celebration of laughter? This year’s events are virtual, so you can enjoy them from the comfort of your home (or hotel room). Choose from 20 events March 11-14.
Jenison Artisan Market hosts a St. Patty’s Beer Mug Workshop on March 11. Create your own personalized beer mug to hold your Irish beer on St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patty’s Pals is a Blandford Nature Center program exploring snakes on March 17. Legend has it that St. Patrick scared away all the snakes in Ireland, but we’ve still got them here!
See how many green butterflies and moths you can spot at the Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies are Blooming exhibit at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
Get Out & Celebrate
Ancient Celtic communities in Ireland viewed the shamrock as symbolic of the regenerative powers of nature – so getting out into nature as winter turns to spring is another great way to celebrate this shamrock-fueled holiday.
The RunGR Shamrock Shenanigans 5K is a socially distanced run through Millennium Park with age group awards from Gazelle Sports. There’s also a virtual run option. March 20.
Hike and bike on 60+ paved and natural trails throughout the area, and watch for signs of spring rebirth.
This is typically a great time to fish for steelhead in downtown’s Grand River – hauling in one of these feisty, chrome-colored fish would make for a memorable holiday!
Depending on the weather, we might see some golf courses opening – or maybe we’ll get more opportunities to ski, sled and snowboard. Flexibility is key!
Stay & Play
Since we’ve declared it St. Patrick’s Week, you may want to book a hotel for a few days. Select area hotels are offering 25% off a second night in March. Stay long enough and you can complete your Beer City Brewsader® journey – visit eight participating breweries and get a FREE t-shirt! (What a great St. Patrick’s Day gift to yourself.)
Search for St. Patrick's Day Events
Search our calendar for all the area St. Patrick's Day events! Events are added daily - so check back often! Are we missing your event? Add it to our calendar!