Of course there’s a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in a city as fun, carefree and lively as San Diego.
In fact, there are two, a parade on the Saturday prior to St. Paddy’s Day (March 12 in 2022) and a block party in the Gaslamp, plus a lot of lively Irish bars on the actual St. Patrick’s Day, whenever it’s not on a Saturday. In 2022, St. Patrick’s Day is on a Thursday.
SAN DIEGO ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
There’s a huge parade that lasts for hours on 5th and 6th Avenues in Balboa Park. It starts at 10:30 a.m., and tens of thousands of people line up on both sides of the street. The savvy ones arrive well equipped for the event; they bring food and beverages. Red plastic cups are a big part of the scene.
It’s good to have beverages to put into those red cups because the parade itself is really kind of boring. If you didn’t know better you would think it’s a Memorial Day parade because at least half the entrants are police, fire and military. There are a couple of trucks with bands on them and they are in the back of the parade.
There’s plenty of spaces to walk up and see the parade at any time during the event.
In other words, there’s no reason to cut short your Friday night just to be there at the start of the parade.
The parade route starts at Fifth Avenue and Laurel St. and proceeds north up Fifth Avenue to Upas Street, over to Sixth Avenue and south on Sixth to Juniper.
THE BEER GARDEN
Adjacent to the parade route on 6th Ave., is a massive beer garden.
And when we say massive, we mean massive. It holds a couple of thousand people. Beers are sold for $6 – you buy tickets to get your beers – and has side-by-side stages where bands play right after each other.
The beer garden is open at 10 a.m., but it’s not until about 12:30-1 that it gets busy. The footprint is so large that it never get shoulder-to-shoulder crowded and there’s never a line to get into it.
It’s great for meeting and mingling, with most of that taking place by the stages. Plenty of room for dancing and a lot of people do it, cutting loose in good Irish St. Paddy’s Day tradition.
Unlike the Gaslamp block party, the beer garden is free.
There are food booths – including one with what has to be the World’s Largest Pizza Slice ($6) – outside the beer garden. Chips, water and sodas are sold in the beer garden for a buck.
SHAMROCK GASLAMP BLOCK PARTY
In the Gaslamp, also on the 14th, they roll out the green carpet (literally) for a block party called ShamROCK.
From 2 p.m.-midnight, there’s three stages of music, beer and participating bars. The block party takes place on 5th & 6th avenues between Market & E Street.
For 2022, the headline band is the Young Dubliners, with several other bands playing throughout the day and night; click here for the full lineup – as well as Irish step dancers and other entertainment.
Tickets are not super-cheap, but they do include discounts at participating bars. And of course you can’t get into the bars within the event – such as The Field – without being at the block party. Here’s the rundown on prices.
Shamrock San Diego ticket prices are $45 for GA and $89 for VIP, which includes 5 drinks at the Lucky Leprechaun VIP Pub Bar within shamROCK (redeemable all day/night) | $1 off all drinks at the Lucky Leprechaun VIP Bar, 16-oz ShamROCK stein, chips & curry small bites, among other things.
Website & Tickets: www.sandiegoshamrock.com
THE GASLAMP ST. PATRICK’S DAY IRISH BARS
The Gaslamp has some good Irish bars, The Field and Harry’s Pub among them.