Travel

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Atlanta This Year

Drink green beer, try some corned beef, and take in one of the country's best St. Patrick's Day parades.

alans1948/Flickr
alans1948/Flickr
alans1948/Flickr

Break out those green threads and eat a full breakfast-it’s time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Atlanta. Atlanta’s Irish community dates back to the earliest days of the city, making our celebrations some of the best in the country. The parade and some parties have become more of a rowdy affair, but you can still find a wide variety of activities including beer specials, traditional Irish fare, and live music both ITP and OTP. No matter how you want to honor the holiday, here are eight ways to do St. Patrick’s Day, Atlanta-style.

alans1948/Flickr
alans1948/Flickr
alans1948/Flickr

Watch one of America’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day parades

Saturday, March 11
Midtown
Founded by the Hibernian Benevolent Society in 1858, the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a staple of the spring season and one of the city’s oldest events. Running from Arts Center to Cypress Street through Midtown, along the way you’ll see floats, dancers, and drum and bagpipe corps, all led by the grand marshals, who are usually Irish dignitaries or local figures. Head over there early to grab a spot with a view or go straight to the after party at Fado Irish Pub, which opens at 8 am.
Cost: Free

Party in the park

Saturday, March 11
Midtown
Park Tavern in Piedmont Park is an essential part of most Atlanta holidays, so you won’t want to miss Shamrock Fest. The beloved watering hole will have a DJ and dancing, as well as food and drink specials. Purchase tickets to fill up on fried oysters and shrimp to go with your beer and cocktails.
Cost: Tickets start at $20

Photo courtesy of Red Hare Brewing & Distilling
Photo courtesy of Red Hare Brewing & Distilling
Photo courtesy of Red Hare Brewing & Distilling

Drink the quintessential green beer

Ongoing
Various locations
Let’s be honest: This isn’t exactly authentic, but you can find green beer at most bars around town on St. Patrick’s Day. Reformation Brewing‘s locations in Woodstock, Canton, and Smyrna will have a Kiwi Strawberry Kool Aid Sour for an upscale take on the hued brew. You’ll also find green-dyed craft beer at the Wild Leap taproom in South Downtown, Red Hare Brewing in Marietta, Eventide Brewing in Grant Park, and Fire Maker Brewing on the Westside.
Cost: Varies

Sample Ireland’s finest whiskeys

Saturday, March 11–Saturday, March 18
Buckhead
If you’d rather celebrate the Irish holiday sans beer, head to The Americano, the Italian steakhouse at the Intercontinental Hotel Buckhead helmed by Chef Scott Conant. The restaurant is bringing the best spirits from the Emerald Isle. Diners will be able to enjoy a New York Strip with two sides and a flight of carefully selected Irish whiskeys, perfectly paired.
Cost: $75 for dinner, $125 with flight

Drink your way through Midtown

Friday, March 17
Midtown
Colony Square will be transformed for St. Patrick’s Day with a wild Friday night block party around the trendy Politan Row food hall and surrounding businesses. More than 25 participating bars will offer themed Irish beverages and shots, food and drink specials, and live music and DJs. Don’t miss the fish and chips at McCray’s Tavern and the $4 Guinness pints at Taco Mac.
Cost: Tickets start at $17

Photo courtesy of Ponce City Roof
Photo courtesy of Ponce City Roof
Photo courtesy of Ponce City Roof

Take green Jello shots on a rooftop

Friday, March 17
Old Fourth Ward
The Roof at Ponce City Market will host a St. Patrick’s Day party complete with epic views of the city. Enjoy a DJ spinning tunes alongside specialty cocktails, Irish beers, and pub bites. Admission will include access to the roof’s games and rides at Skyline Park. Nine Mile Station will also offer an Irish-inspired menu for dinner, with Irish whiskey cocktails and entrees like Corned Beef Hash and Shepherd’s Pie.
Cost: Tickets start at $30

Brunch it up, Irish style

Saturday, March 18
Virginia Highland
Start St. Patrick’s Day off early (and right!) at the annual Kegs and Eggs Block Party at seven of VaHi’s most beloved bars, including Neighbor’s Pub, Dark Horse Tavern, and Moe’s & Joe’s. Tickets include Irish-inspired dishes like corned beef sliders and drink specials on pints, shots, and cocktails to keep you in the festive spirit all day long.
Cost: Tickets start at $15

Road trip to Savannah for an over-the-top celebration

Ongoing
Savannah
There’s a reason Savannah has one of the country’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, when the river is dyed green and the revelry spills out of the River Street bars. You’ll probably wish you’d booked your hotel and travel earlier, but making the impromptu four-hour trip for a top-notch parade and Irish pubs aplenty is possible-just remember to find a designated driver!
Cost: Varies

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Caroline Eubanks is an award-winning writer and author of This Is My South: The Essential Travel Guide to the Southern States. You can find her work in Garden & Gun, Hemispheres, and Architectural Digest, as well as at carolineeubanks.com.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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