The 15 Best Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Iowa!

Whether your Irish heritage runs deep or you’d just like to celebrate along with them, don’t just sit on the couch this St. Patrick’s Day. Instead check out a nearby St. Patrick’s Day party or parade. If you are in the state of Iowa come March, you won’t have to travel far thanks to the different celebrations happening all over. Family-friendly parades, authentic Irish cuisine and perhaps a green beer or two, whatever your flavor of celebration is, you’re sure to find something to like at these 15 places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Iowa.

1. The Grand Parade, Davenport, IA

Spanning two miles, two states and thousands of participants, the Grand Parade hosted by the St. Patrick Society is not only one of the biggest St. Patty’s Day celebrations in Iowa, it’s one of the biggest events in the nation. Beginning in Rock Island, Illinois, this parade takes off and crosses the Mississippi River via the Centennial Bridge to end in Davenport where the festivities continue throughout the day. Thousands upon thousands of spectators will be witnessing this event, and for a family-friendly good time, it’s worth checking out The Grand Parade yourself.

2. Gaelic Gallop, Dyersville, IA

For over 35 years the Gaelic Gallop St. Patrick’s Day Race, presented by Total Fitness, has been providing a healthy way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day throughout the streets of Dyersville. Featuring either an 8K or two-mile race to compete in, this family-friendly event draws quite the crowd, which is the perfect way to work off some of that corn beef and cabbage you might be inclined to eat come St. Patrick’s Day.

3. Mickey’s Irish Pub Annual Block Party, Des Moines, IA

If green beer is more your flavor come St. Patrick’s Day, than no party outdoes the annual block party in Downtown Des Moines hosted by Mickey’s Irish Pub. This pub does it right, and blocks off more than one square block of Court Avenue in Des Moines to host this exuberant St. Patty’s Day festival. Featuring live music, plenty of good cheer and enough people to fill the streets of downtown Des Moines, if you are looking for a good spot to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, look no further than Mickey’s Irish Pub’s Annual Block Party in Des Moines.

4. SaPaDaPaSo Parade, Cedar Rapids, IA

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society of Cedar Rapids is more than just a mouthful, it’s a non-profit, volunteer-run organization that puts on one of the best St. Patrick’s Day parades in the state. With attendance well into the tens of thousands, be sure to line up on the streets of Cedar Rapids early for this festive event, and don’t forget to cast your vote for this year’s Irish Colleen, the Irish equivalent of homecoming queen, chosen each year from a large pool or Irish-descendant candidates. 

5. Jameson’s Public House, Waterloo, IA

Touted as the Cedar Valley’s Authentic Irish Pub, the Jameson’s Public House in Waterloo is your one-stop shop for Irish food, drink and culture. While the Gaelic script written on the walls and the extensive list of Irish whiskeys on the menu are appealing year-round for any Irish enthusiasts to enjoy, the real celebration kicks off on St. Patrick’s Day each year with day-long festivities and specials to really enjoy the holiday.

6. Leprechaun Chase 10K, Des Moines, IA

If you are feeling lucky this St. Patrick’s Day in Des Moines, why not hop on down to the Leprechaun Chase 10K in Principal Park? If you do check out this festive running event, be sure to deck yourself out head to toe in green to have a chance to win the “best dressed lad and lassie” award, and even if you don’t get recognized for your fashionable attire, every legal drinking age participant can share the fun at race end with a complimentary green beer to celebrate. 

7. Famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Emmetsburg, IA

For a true touch of the Irish spirit this St. Patrick’s Day, head on down to Emmetsburg for not only their worlds-famous parade, but also the culture that’s brimming from the streets of the small Iowa town throughout the entire week. Featuring a Miss Shamrock Pageant, an Irish Potato Bar and even a talent show, Emmetsburg really comes to life with its Irish ancestry for their week-long festivities celebrating the patron saint of Ireland. 

8. Triple Crown Buffet, Altoona, IA

For a delicious, Irish-authentic meal this St. Patrick’s Day be sure to head on down to Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino for their state-famous Triple Crown Buffet. Featuring Irish favorites like corned beef brisket, baked cabbage and onion soup, you can top off your meal with a Guinness if you’d like, but if one thing is guaranteed at the Triple Crown Buffet is that you won’t leave your seat unsatisfied with the Irish food selection. 

9. Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill, Ames, IA

Located on the outskirts of the Iowa State University Campus, Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill is often packed with students and Ames residents alike anytime of the year, but come St. Patrick’s Day you can expect a line out the door. Featuring an authentic Irish breakfast to start the day, followed by bagpipe players and Irish dancers throughout the afternoon, the party will hit its peak in the evening when Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill will come to life with masses of people enjoying the late-night St. Patrick’s Day festivities. 

10. St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration, Elkader, IA

For a family-friendly parade and following St. Patrick’s Day festivities, Elkader has spent the last 25 years building quite the reputation for an Irish-themed fun time. The parade begins in the late afternoon in downtown Elkader, and leads into an evening of family-fun concerts and sing-alongs at Johnson’s Reception Hall on High Street. Whether you have a bit of Irish descent in you or not, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration in Elkader is a great spot to spectate and engage with a friendly community.

11. The Englert Theater, Iowa City, IA

The Englert Theater in Iowa City hosts cultural performances year-round in the old capital city, and come St. Patrick’s Day, they are bringing in the Celtic-inspired music group Gaelic Storm. Get your tickets now or at the door, and be prepared for a foot-stomping, fully engaging musical experience with this Irish inspired band who promises to rock the house and bring a little authentic Irish music to the stage.

12. Founder’s Irish Pub, Bondurant, IA

Featuring a large and lively patio, even if the weather isn’t right for outdoor seating, Founder’s Irish Pub in Bondurant is guaranteed to be a lively place this St. Patrick’s Day. Featuring a full menu of Irish and American cuisine, including an ample selection of Irish authentic and Irish-inspired libations, anytime of the year is a fun time to visit Founder’s Irish Pub, and come St. Patrick’s Day this will be one pub that is packed full of lively entertainment. 

13. Sioux City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Sioux City, IA

If you happen to be on the Western edge of Iowa this St. Patrick’s Day, then the Sioux City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is your best bet for something fun to do for the whole family. Featuring floats, live music and plenty of treats for younger spectators on the streets, the Sioux City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is not the biggest parade in the state, but alongside the community of Sioux City, it doesn’t disappoint in terms of good old fashioned family fun. 

14. We Run Lucky Run, North Liberty, IA

While an entry into the We Run Lucky Run 10K gets you a chance to win some fantastic door prizes, anyone who runs this Irish-inspired race can be considered a winner after crossing the finish line. Family friendly and green clothing recommended, the We Run Lucky Run can be a healthy alternative, or at least healthy start to your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and with all proceeds going toward charitable causes, there are truly a lot of winners involved with this annual lucky run.

15. Stout’s Irish Pub, Clinton, IA

Providing green beer all day long on St. Patrick’s Day, plus Guinness that’s always on tap, it’s easy to wash down all the corn beef and cabbage to be found at Stout’s Irish Pub in Clinton. Featuring free Blarney Stones, plus Irish music playing all day, Stout’s is already the No. 1 Irish Pub in Clinton and the surrounding county throughout the year, so you better believe they will be throwing quite the party come St. Patrick’s Day. Head on over to Stout’s yourself to see what all the fun is about.  

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