A Classier St. Patrick’s Day in NYC

You don’t have to drink yourself into a stupor to honor Ireland’s history this year—but, yes, whiskey will be served.

Photo courtesy of The Whisky Ward

St. Patrick’s Day in NYC is a bit like an Irish New Year’s Eve. And, just as on December 31, it’s easy to spot the amateur partygoers among the wiser imbibers on March 17. (Hint: They’re the ones passed out on the street.) But that doesn’t have to be you—there are lots of amazing places, events, and, yes, sensible whiskeys in NYC to commemorate the patron saint of Ireland. Below are a few of our favorite, off-the-pub-crawl ways to celebrate.

Explore Underground

It doesn’t get more culturally rich and relevant on St. Pat’s Day than a trip to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If you’ve never explored the glorious Neo-Gothic Catholic church, spend some time there gawking. Then head beneath the cathedral to discover tombs where some churchgoers have been buried since the early 19th century. Note that these subterranean strolls are not part of the normal church tour schedule, so contact the archdiocese to make it happen. Fifth Avenue (between 50th and 51st Streets), Midtown

Go Back in Time

At the Lower East Side’s Tenement Museum, a popular tour called Irish Outsiders illuminates the lives of the Moore family, who came to New York City in 1869. You’ll see the Moores’ restored home and learn how the family fought against the prejudices cast at Irish immigrants, while celebrating their heritage and their new life in America. 103 Orchard Street (between Broome and Delancey Streets), Lower East Side

St. Patrick's Day NYC
Photo by Battman Studios

Sip a Glass—Or Two

Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete St. Patty’s celebration without sampling the unofficial national beverage of Ireland: whiskey. With its crackling fireplace, billiards table, and flowing, peaty single-malt Connemara, the Kips Bay pub Fáilte”welcome” in Gaelic—is the perfect place to warm your toes and everything else with a few fingers’ full. For the true Irish whiskey connoisseur in your life, make a special trip to The Whiskey Ward, which features a long and global list of smooth operators. Fáilte, 531 Second Avenue (at East 30th Street), Kips Bay; The Whiskey Ward, 121 Essex Street (between Rivington and Delancey Streets), Lower East Side

Photo Courtesy of The Whisky Ward

Get Inspired

Irish-American writer and actor Patrick Dunning carries on the tradition of Irish storytelling in his show The Signature Project, which is part mural, part monologue. The signature in the title refers to those of some 300,000 audience members (and counting) who have contributed their John and Joan Hancocks to a real 76-by-36-foot mural. Many folks have also added their own stories to the massive tapestry of humanity, and it is these tales that Dunning uses to quite literally bring the mural to life. Sheen Center, 18 Bleecker Street (between Mott and Elizabeth Streets), NoHo

St. Patrick's Day NYC
Photo courtesy of The Signature Project

You don’t need the luck of the Irish to plan an epic St. Patrick’s Day weekend—you just need us.  Find more of our NYC recommendations in The Guide.