New Orleans

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

From parades and block parties to museum exhibits to explore.

Suzanne C. Grim/Shutterstock
Suzanne C. Grim/Shutterstock
Suzanne C. Grim/Shutterstock

While it may feel like Mardi Gras season just wrapped up, it’s time for some hair of the dog when it comes to watching over-the-top floats and catching all kinds of throws. That’s because St. Patrick’s Day brings another opportunity to party in New Orleans.

There will be plenty of parade processions and block parties to attend (this is the Big Easy, after all), but you can also honour the holiday in a low-key way by hanging out at a local Irish pub or exploring New Orleans’ Irish heritage at a museum. However, you choose to partake, put on some green and keep your eyes peeled for a pot of gold. Here are the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans this year.

Soak in the history at the Irish Cultural Museum

Ongoing
French Quarter
Check out historic items and learn how Irish immigrants helped build the city we know today at the Irish Cultural Museum in New Orleans. The year-round venue is home to photographs, letters, and other historic archives, plus the museum boasts a gorgeous courtyard and its own coffee and alcohol bar for Irish- and NOLA-themed refreshments.
Cost: Free

Party at Gennaro’s Irish Fest

Friday, March 10
Metairie
Gennaro’s Bar will kick off its Irish Fest with food, drinks, and plenty of tunes to get you in the holiday spirit a full week before the big day. The event will have Fat Boy’s Pizza and Bear’s Po Boys on hand, plus beers starting at $2.50 to keep the party going. Several bands will provide the soundtrack for the party, with The Dead End Band rocking from 5 to 8 pm before making way for Contraflow to take the stage until 11:30 pm.
Cost: Free

eloresnorwood/Shutterstock
eloresnorwood/Shutterstock
eloresnorwood/Shutterstock

Cheer on the main event

Saturday, March 11
Irish Channel
You can’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans without catching the Irish Channel Parade. For more than 75 years, folks have gathered to watch the procession. The group starts at Magazine and Felicity streets at 1 pm, led by grand marshall Jeff Hand. Floats include Finn McCool’s and a Streetcar float (though no cabbages will be coming from this one this year), plus handsome marchers donning tuxedos will hand out flowers. Reconnect with the group on St. Patrick’s Day for its annual block party in Annunciation Square Recreation Center complete with Irish food, drinks and entertainment.
Cost: Free

Go block party hopping

Saturday, March 11
Irish Channel
The weekend before St. Patrick’s Day as the Irish Channel Parade rolls through town, you can spend every hour at different block parties around the city. Parasol’s will be dishing out crawfish and green beer since the neighbourhood joint is close to the parade route. Or you can park it at Tracey’s, a neighbourhood favourite that will hold two consecutive block parties starting at 11 am the next two Saturdays.
Cost: Varies

Eat soda bread and watch dance performances at Deutsches Haus

Sunday, March 12
Mid-City
Deutsches Haus of New Orleans will open its doors starting at 11 am in recognition of Irish-German households of New Orleans to fellow fans of Irish culture. Expect performances from dance groups like The Ryan School of Irish Dance, Muggavin School of Irish Dance, and Beth Patterson, plus traditional dishes like cabbage, cottage pie, and soda bread.
Cost: Free

Photo courtesy of Higgins Hotel & Conference Center
Photo courtesy of Higgins Hotel & Conference Center
Photo courtesy of Higgins Hotel & Conference Center

Make it a week-long party at the Higgins Hotel

Monday, March 13 ‚Äď Sunday, March 19
Arts District
The Higgins Hotel is going all in with holiday-themed activities for the entire week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. The hotel’s lobby bar, Kilroy’s Bar and Lounge, and Rosie’s on the Roof will both have menu specials to help you celebrate. Executive chef Virgile Brandel is offering up Irish delicacies like Shepherd’s Pie and a Corned Beef Sandwich all week long. And the bar will have St. Patrick’s Day specials like five for $20 bottled beer and $6 pours of Tullamore Dew and Jameson. Head to the hotel on the actual holiday, and your festivities can play out to the tune of music by The Four Leaf Clovers.
Cost: Varies

Catch throws at the Downtown Irish Club Parade

Friday, March 17
Marigny
While the Irish Channel Parade may be the main draw leading up to St. Paddy’s Day, the Downtown Irish Club will host its own march the following weekend. Musicians, dancers, and other marchers will head from Washington Park to the Ugly Dog Saloon starting at 6:30 pm, so you can spend the holiday parading and catching cool throws.
Cost: Free

William A. Morgan/Shutterstock
William A. Morgan/Shutterstock
William A. Morgan/Shutterstock

Learn about Irish-American restaurant royalty at Commander’s Palace

Friday, March 17
Garden District
New Orleans’ grand dame of restaurants, Commander’s Palace, was founded by the Brennans, an Irish immigrant family helmed by Ella Brennan. The famed restaurant is hosting a Leprechaun Lunch in honour of the holiday, with specialty menu items by chef Meg Bickford and her team. Green martinis for just 25 cents are the event’s biggest draw, but expect other holiday-themed dishes as well.
Cost: Varies

Suzanne C. Grim/Shutterstock
Suzanne C. Grim/Shutterstock
Suzanne C. Grim/Shutterstock

Celebrate the melding of two cultures at the Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade

Sunday, March 19
Metairie
This is a cross-cultural event you won’t want to miss. The Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade kicks off at noon, with two Grand Marshals-John Blancher, the Irish leader, and Deano Bonano, representing the Italians. The procession kicks off in front of the Clearview City Center before heading down Veterans Memorial Boulevard, so grab a spot along the route and get ready to party. If you want to start celebrating a few days early, the group is hosting a Toasting Party on March 15 with Irish food staples and muffaletta sandwiches.
Cost: Free

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Thuc Doan Nguyen is a contributor to Thrillist.

New Orleans

Where to Go on a Perfect Date in New Orleans This Spring

Woo that special someone with sultry live music and inviting outdoor date ideas.

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel

Whether you’re searching for the perfect spot for a first date or looking to spend some time with your longtime love, you should have no problem planning a romantic outing in New Orleans. Our amazing restaurants and bars are classic settings for some quality time, but think outside the date night box and literally get outside. Spring is the most gorgeous time of year here, so you can score some serious romance points. From strolls in the park and outdoor music to cozy wine bars and sultry jazz nights, here are some can’t-miss ideas for the perfect date in New Orleans.

Spend an afternoon in City Park

Mid-City
One could spend hours strolling beneath City Park’s moss-drenched oaks, but combine this beautiful setting with the park’s other offerings and you’ve got yourself a date. Start with coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde to ease into things. Explore the collections at the New Orleans Museum of Art or stroll through the sculpture garden. Continue your romantic walk around the Big Lake, or rent a boat and paddle your way around. If things are going well, finish up with a well-earned drink and a bite at Ralph’s on the Park.

Grab bagels and bike on the Greenway

Mid-City
Bike the Lafitte Greenway and you’ll get moving while having plenty of time to connect. Fuel up at Flour Moon Bagels with coffee and stellar carbs before you hit the pavement. The Greenway’s linear path is 2.7 miles, but you can make it a longer ride by linking up with the Wisner Trail or the Norman C. Francis bike path. The Greenway goes all the way to the Quarter, but you can save that for another date. End up back where you started and cool down with a pint or two at Skeeta Hawk Brewing.

Create some Magazine Street magic

Uptown/Garden District
Magazine Street boasts six miles of unique, locally owned businesses. There are plenty of one-off date options along the street (like grabbing coffee and chocolate at Piety and Desire, having a romantic dinner at Coquette or Saffron, or ordering wine and small plates at Saba). But for a longer get-to-know-you date, the street is perfect for an all-day stroll. Browse esteemed art galleries and shops, have a well-made cocktail at Bouligny Tavern, stop for fresh oysters at Basin, taste a few wines at Spirit Wine, and admire the mix of architecture along the street. Why stop there? Shop for some vinyl at Peaches, grab a casual dinner at Picnic Provisions & Whiskey or Tito’s, then see who’s playing at Le Bon Temps.

Take in the West Bank nature and noodles

Marrero
Take the Crescent City Connection and head down to the Barataria Preserve to explore acres of secluded wetlands that’ll confirm you’re really in south Louisiana. A boardwalk winds through swampy land packed with all the best regional flora and fauna, including alligators. April is typically peak iris season, so check the bloom forecast. Before you head back across the river, stop by Tan Dinh or 9 Roses for excellent pho and other Vietnamese faves.

Nevbrown/Flickr
Nevbrown/Flickr
Nevbrown/Flickr

Go on a wine bar crawl

Various locations
A wine bar presents a perfect middle ground between grabbing casual beers and sipping superior cocktails. You’ve got chill environs, curated selections, and just enough nibbles to sustain your conversation. Second Vine Wines and Faubourg Wines are thoughtfully curated shops that serve wines by the glass, so you can start off with a couple of glasses then buy a bottle if the date moves to another location. Tell Me Bar and Pluck offer rotating selections of intriguing wines you’ll want to learn more about. And of course there’s Bacchanal, where you can enjoy wine, good vibes, and live music under the stars.

Cross the river by boat

Algiers Point
There’s something undeniably romantic about standing at the bow of a boat with wind blowing through your lover’s hair, so take the Algiers Ferry to behold the mighty Mississippi and gorgeous views of the city. Stroll charming Algiers Point, grab a drink with the locals at the Old Point Bar or Crown and Anchor, and then enjoy dinner at Tavolino, Tonti’s Hand, or Plume.

Saunter down St. Charles Ave

Uptown/French Quarter
The streetcar is an underrated date option-get to know each other while rolling past the majestic St. Charles Avenue mansions. Start with a late afternoon drink at The Chloe before hopping aboard. Once you’re in the Quarter, take a spin around the bar with a cocktail at Hotel Monteleone, take a stroll through Jackson Square, then pick from swoon-worthy dining options like St. John, Jewel of the South, Cane & Table, Doris Metropolitan, or MaMou.

Explore Lake Pontchartrain

Lakefront
Take a trip out to Lake Pontchartrain for some sun, fresh air, and seafood. Cruise Lakeshore Drive, check out the Mardi Gras Fountain, maybe take a roll down the levee to connect with your inner child, then sit and watch as the boats and birds go by. As the sun sets, head over to The Blue Crab for fresh seafood or JB’s Fuel Dock at West End Park for pizza and beers.

Photo courtesy of Three Keys NOLA
Photo courtesy of Three Keys NOLA
Photo courtesy of Three Keys NOLA

Let music and lounge vibes set the mood

Various locations
Let someone special know just how you feel by taking them out for a classy evening of fine cocktails and world-class jazz. Grab a prime spot to watch Jeremy Davenport do his thing at his namesake lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, listen to the smooth sounds of solo artists at the intimate Bayou Bar at the Pontchartrain Hotel, or pop into the Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta next time you do a French Quarter outing. For a new-school option, check out a performance at the Ace Hotel’s Three Keys.

Go the extra mile with a day trip

Covington/Abita Springs
Driving the Causeway’s 24 miles will give you plenty of time to go beyond small talk, making a nearby road trip the ideal activity for upping the ante on your relationship. Head to Covington to enjoy the boutiques and galleries of the quaint historic downtown before grabbing a bite at Lola or Tavi, or rent bikes and ride the Tammany Trace to the Abita Brewery where you can take a tour and sample some of the finest local beers. Even better, head over when the brewery is hosting one of its food truck roundups or live music.

Photo courtesy of Urban South Brewery
Photo courtesy of Urban South Brewery
Photo courtesy of Urban South Brewery

Peel crawfish and sip local beer

Various locations
Spring means crawfish boils, and the city is loaded with experts bringing their boil skills to some of the top local breweries. Crawfish and beer make a perfect pair, and what better way to gauge relationship potential than by observing peel technique and spice tolerance? Check their calendars, but breweries including Faubourg Brewing, Urban South, NOLA Brewing, Miel, and Parleaux usually host boils on weekends throughout the season.

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Gerrish Lopez is a Thrillist contributor.

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