Things to Do

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (and Celebrating)

Looking for something to help your Irish spirit get going this Saint Patrick's Day? Check out our selection of events, from parades to an authentic Irish breakfast to our guide about which area bar is most Irish.

Before we get to the good stuff, if you're simply looking to spend St. Paddy's having a pint at a pub, check out our guide to the area's most authentically Irish bars from the March issue of The Washingtonian. Are the Irish pub owners actually Irish? Are Irish senators customers? Find out! 

Run to the Rainbow
For families and anyone looking for an alcohol-free way to celebrate, there’s the Capital Running Company’s 19th Annual St. Patrick’s Day 8K Race and 1K Leprechaun Leap. Both races start at DC’s Freedom Plaza, where spectators can enjoy Irish music and dancing, refreshments, and prize giveaways. Special Olympics DC is the charitable partner in the race. Register online or pick up a registration packet on Friday, March 16, or Saturday, March 17, from 11 am to 3 pm at the Old Post Office Pavilion, 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. You can also register on race day beginning at 7 am at a tent on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the race’s starting line.
Time: Sunday, March 18. Race begins at 9 am.
Location: Freedom Plaza (Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th Street, NW)
Contact: 301-871-0400
Cost: $30 until Friday through online; $35 after Friday

Make Like a Leprechaun and Jig
The Boys of the Lough rock the National Geographic stage with intricate Celtic folk music. The band, playing acoustic instruments designed to produce natural tones, pride itself on the authenticity of its sound.
Time: Friday, March 16, at 6 pm and 8:30 pm.
Location: Grosvenor Auditorium, National Geographic Society Headquarters, 1600 M Street, NW
Contact: 202-857-7700
Cost: $24 for National Geographic Society members in advance, $28 nonmembers

Top of Both Mornings to You
Start Saturday morning and end Sunday morning at Lucky Bar, which will use its 22 TVs and 3 giant screens to air E.P.L. International Soccer, with some breaks for March Madness college basketball. An Irish music-pumping DJ will pump beats between games. Irish breakfast, including blood sausage (mmm), will be served all day and all night.
Time: Saturday, March 17, 9:30 am–3 am
Location: 1221 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Contact: 202-331-3733
Cost: No cover

Parade the Day Away
Going seven years strong, Gaithersburg’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday will commemorate the holiday with performers such as the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance and the MacMillan Pipe Band.  Leprechauns will give all festival-goers good luck.
Time: 10 am–noon
Location: Washington Center, at the corner of I-370 and Washingtonian Boulevard, Gaithersburg
Contact: 301-258-6350
Cost: Free

The Friendship Heights Urban Network hosts La Festa San Patrizio, puting a characteristically unique (and Italian!) twist on an otherwise traditional holiday.  Compete for a gift certificate to Friendship Heights restaurants in a "Name That Drink" contest or simply enjoy the many appetizers available.
When: Friday, March 16
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: The M Cafe and Bar, 5471 Wisconsin Avenue
Contact: (301) 657-4584
Cost: $5