17 affordable last-minute St. Patrick’s Day getaways

You don’t need the luck of the Irish to find affordable last-minute flights for St. Paddy’s weekend. March 17 falls on a Friday this year, making this an ideal year for a long weekend celebration. And it’s not too late to get in on the fun. Cheapflights.com looked at the average round-trip prices travelers are finding for flights departing for a long weekend (between Wednesday, March 15, and Friday, March 17) and rounded up 17 destinations where the celebrations are epic but the airfares are not.

So pack your bags, grab some festive garb and make your friends green with envy this St. Patrick’s Day.

Boston, Massachusetts – Average airfare $267

Whether you make Boston your solo stop for St. Paddy’s Day weekend or combine it with a side trip to nearby Providence, R.I., the main event is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston on Sunday, March 19. Weekend celebrations also include American Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys’ concert at the House of Blues on March 16 and walking Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail.

Chicago, Illinois – Average airfare $273

Image: Courtesy of Choose Chicago, ©Adam Alexander Photography

The Windy City is awash in green during the month of March. While the traditional dying of the Chicago River (eco-friendly vegetable dye, of course) happens the previous week (on March 11), there is plenty of green to be seen throughout the month. In fact, from March 10-19, iconic buildings, monuments and streets will be lit up with green. On March 15 and March 16, enjoy traditional Irish music at the Driehaus Museum featuring Irish tenors Paddy Homan and the Noble Call. Follow it up with a day-long celebration at the Irish American Heritage Center on March 17, or take part in Chicago’s largest St. Patrick’s Day party, Forever Green, now in its 42nd year. If you’re looking for something a bit different, head over to Metro, where local Chicago punk band The Tossers will be mixing traditional Celtic music with punk rock.

Cleveland, Ohio – Average airfare $281

Image: © Cody York for ThisisCleveland.com

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day CLE-style by attending the 175th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Downtown Cleveland‘s oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Beginning at 1:04 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 10,000 participants will march through the streets of Cleveland to the newly redeveloped city center park, Public Square. Hundreds of thousands of spectators sporting green gear flock to Downtown Cleveland for the festivities. Many start celebrating in the early morning hours with Irish food, drinks and live entertainment at establishments like Flannery’s Pub, Flat Iron Cafe and Parnell’s Pub in Downtown Cleveland. Further afield is Kamm’s Corner in West Park, the epicenter of Cleveland’s Irish heritage. From kegs and eggs at West Park Station to performances by bag pipers and Irish dancers at P.J. McIntyre’s Irish Pub, celebrations in Kamm’s Corner are not in short supply. A trip to Cleveland isn’t complete without eating the biggest, and arguably the best, corned beef sandwiches in Cleveland at Slyman’s, which has caught the attention of U.S. presidents and celebrities, and downing a pint of Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s Conway’s Irish Ale.

New York, New York – Average airfare $288

Image: Dominick Totino/nycstpatricksparade.org

The “City that Never Sleeps” is hosting St. Patrick’s Day celebrations throughout the five boroughs. From the iconic NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Midtown Manhattan on March 17, the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world (the parade was first held in 1762), to “Little Ireland” in the Woodlawn area of the Bronx, there is something for everyone looking to discover the luck of the Irish. Other options include an Irish walking tour from Big Onion Tours on March 18. This family friendly tour takes guests on a tour of the former “Little Ireland” district of the Lower East Side, between City Hall and Houston Street. Don’t miss the 42nd annual Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 19, making a loop from Prospect Park West to Seventh Avenue and back. The parade commemorates the Battle of Brooklyn and pays tribute to the Irish for their significant and historic contributions while marching through the neighborhoods of Prospect Park and Park Slope in Brooklyn.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Average airfare $315

Visitors can enjoy an all-things-Irish in Milwaukee, Wisc., by starting the week at the Irish Comedy Tour at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, then stay at the County Clare, Milwaukee’s only Irish B&B, right in the heart of downtown. Its Irish pub is actually one of the best in the state. And no St. Patrick’s Day is complete in the City of Festivals without a street party — Nomad Pub on Brady Street is hosting one all day March 17. Take time to indulge in the city’s legendary bar scene via a tour like the Milwaukee Food & City Tour Pre-Prohibition Bar Tour to learn all the secrets of Milwaukee’s oldest taverns. Close out the weekend by burning off the copious pints of green beer consumed at the city’s most popular bar streets (Water Street, Milwaukee Street, Brady Street and North Avenue) at the Lucky Leprechaun 7K in neighboring Wauwatosa, Wisc., on Saturday, March 18. Milwaukee is also home to the shortest and smallest St. Patrick’s Day Parade (the route is 280 feet!) in Catalano Square in the historic Third Ward at 4:30 p.m. on March 17. The festivities include free green beer and festive beads, the chance to kiss the Blarney Stone and try your luck at the pot-of-gold toss.

To learn about the next 12 destinations to make our list of last-minute affordable St. Patrick’s Day getaways, go here.

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