5 things to know about the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh

Every year, the city of Pittsburgh transforms into a sea of green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the highlight of the festivities, attracting thousands of spectators from near and far.

If you’re planning to join the celebration this year, here are five things you need to know.

History of the Parade

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh has a rich history dating back to 1869, making it one of the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States.

The parade is a celebration of Pittsburgh’s Irish heritage and a tribute to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. 

Over the years, the parade has grown in size and popularity, with an estimated 200,000 spectators lining the streets of downtown Pittsburgh to enjoy the spectacle.

Parade Route

The parade route is approximately 1.5 miles long, starting at the intersection of Liberty Avenue and 11th Street. From there, it proceeds along Grant Street and Boulevard of the Allies, before ending at the reviewing stand on Stanwix Street.

The route offers plenty of viewing spots, but it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a good location. The parade typically starts at 10 a.m., but the streets start filling up with spectators as early as 8 a.m.

Parade Participants

The parade features a diverse array of participants, including marching bands, dance schools, veterans groups, fire departments, and police units. Local celebrities and politicians also make appearances, adding to the excitement.

The highlight of the parade is the Grand Marshal, a person of Irish descent who has made significant contributions to the Pittsburgh community.

In addition to the Grand Marshal, the parade also features a Miss Smiling Irish Eyes, a young woman of Irish descent who is selected for her community involvement and academic achievements.

What to Wear

Wearing green is a must at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Whether it’s a green hat, shirt, or even green socks, showing your Irish spirit is part of the fun. 

Many attendees also wear costumes or accessories like shamrock-shaped glasses or leprechaun hats to add to the festive atmosphere. 

Face painting is also popular, with many spectators sporting Irish flags or shamrocks on their cheeks.

Other Activities

The parade is just one part of Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The city hosts numerous Irish-themed parties and events throughout the day. 

Local pubs often have live traditional Irish music and dance performances, and many restaurants offer special St. Patrick’s Day menus featuring Irish food like corned beef and cabbage or a hearty Irish stew. 

There are also family-friendly activities like face painting and balloon art for the kids.


The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh is more than just a parade; it’s a celebration of Irish culture and a chance to share in the city’s rich heritage. Whether you’re Irish or just Irish at heart, it’s an event you won’t want to miss. 

So, put on your best green outfit, grab your friends and family, and come join the fun at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh.