You don’t have to hop a flight to feel like you’ve crossed the pond this St. Patrick’s Day. Check out an authentic Irish pub in DC that features live music nightly or head to Baltimore for the only Guinness Brewery in the states (kids are welcome!). DC’s parade is canceled, but you can still check out bagpipers and Celtic dancers in near-by burbs. Want to skip the crowds? We’ve got green-themed science projects and St. Paddy Day crafts to do at home, too. Scroll down for the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your wee ones this side of the pond.
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In the City
The White House Fountain
Take a stroll past 1600 Penn. Ave. on Mar. 17 and you’ll find green fountains on both the North and South lawns. This tradition was started by President Obama and has been maintained by both President Trump and President Biden. Obama was most likely inspired by the Chicago River, which is dyed green on the morning of St. Paddy’s day. The White House fountains remain green until the non-toxic dye fades away.
Fun facts: That massive building behind the fountains was designed by an Irish architect, James Hoban (yup! We’re talking about the White House). Ireland is also the only country in the world guaranteed an annual invitation to 1600 Penn.
When: Mar. 17
Where: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Riverdance at the Kennedy Center
Every year, Riverdance graces the Kennedy Center stage in an immersive presentation of Irish song and dance. Now celebrating twenty-five years, this show featuring a Grammy award-winning soundtrack has been updated with new lighting, projections, costumes and staging. Make this event an annual family tradition.
When: Mar. 15-27
Where: 2700 F St NW, Washington, DC
There is no shortage of Irish pubs in the DC area, but The Dubliner is the only one that features live acts seven nights a week (acts hit the stage every night at 7:30 p.m.). It’s a family friendly pub with an authentic vibe that will make you feel like you’ve crossed the pond for a plate of fish and chips. They also have a kids’ menu for the wee ones that features typical kid-friendly fare like grilled cheese and chicken nuggets. Treat yourself to a house-made Irish whiskey when you stop in.
When: Live music every night
Where: 4 F St. NW
Cost: Entrees range from $13-22; Kids meals are $8 for kids 12 & up
2022 St. Patrick’s 5K, Half & Marathon
Benefiting Semper Fi & America’s Fund, this family-friendly race features a flat, even course along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal path. You don’t have to be a serious runner to participate–– strollers and walkers are welcome––but if you are eyeing the Boston Marathon, this event is a pre-qualifier.
When: Mar. 13, 8 a.m.
Where: 3530 Water St. NW, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Path, Georgetown
In the ‘Burbs
Guinness Open Gate Brewery
America’s only Guinness Brewery is bringing a wee bit of Ireland to the Baltimore area. The hour-long free tour is kid-friendly but spots disappear quickly so be sure to book your tickets in advance. After the tour, head outdoors where there is amble room for kids to run around the AstroTurf that encircles the Guinness logo. You can sample authentic Irish fare in the beer garden outdoors or in the indoor taproom.
Editor’s Note: This brewery is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day every weekend during the entire month of March with a The Irish Village featuring Irish-themed food tents, live music, specialty beers and more.
When: 3-10 p.m. Thurs., noon-10 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m-10 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.
Where: 5001 Washington Blvd,, Halethorpe, MD
Manassas St. Patrick’s Day Parade
This family-friendly tradition brings St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to the streets of Manassas. Enjoy local marching bands, Irish dancers, traditional bagpipers and more as they parade down Center Street in the historic Old Town section of this city. Be sure to wear green, dressing up in head-to-toe St. Paddy’s day flare is encouraged.
When: Mar. 12, 11 a.m.- noon
Where: Center Street, Historic Downtown Manassas, VA
Gaithersburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade
If you need a parade to get you into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, sadly the DC one is canceled. But head to this nearby ‘burb and you can celebrate a little early! This parade has Celtic dancers, bagpipers, fire trucks, horses and more. Following the parade, there will be live entertainment on the lakefront plaza.
When: Mar. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Rio Blvd. & Grand Corner Ave., Gaithersburg, MD
Make a Leprechaun Trap
Bust out your STEM hats and get to planning how you are going to catch your very own leprechaun. Start with a shoebox and see where the imagination takes you!
You can’t celebrate St. Paddy’s Day without a few shamrocks! This year, let science take the wheel and grow a few crystal shamrocks with a few easy steps from Little Bins for Little Hands. All you need is a few pipe cleaners and borax and you’ll be on your way in no time.
This messy but fun activity from Live Well Play Together lets kids see how baking soda and vinegar interact, in St. Patrick’s Day style. With minimal supplies, this is a perfect afternoon activity that involves basic household supplies you probably have already.
Magic Leprechaun Rocks
These homemade leprechaun rocks from Gift of Curiosity are a perfect blend of educational and fun! The “magic” rocks are made from green-dyed baking soda and water that conceal a gold coin. You’ll have the ultimate scavenger hunt when the kiddos “wash” this at the end!
Rainbow Density Experiment
Let rainbows do the talking with this educational experiment from 123 Homeschool 4 Me. Your littles will learn all about density and liquids with this simple activity that involves household supplies you probably already have!
This festive-colored experiment from A Dab of Glue Will Do is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Let your kiddos learn the science behind “capillary action” and how it plays into the real world.
Rainbow Shamrock Salt Painting
Learn all about the shapes of shamrocks and how colors travel down salt in this colorful project from Rhythms of Play. Little learns will exercise their fine motor skills and artistic prowess in this fun St. Patrick’s Day craft!
––Meghan Yudes Meyers, Karly Wood & Kate Loweth