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12 rules for surviving Saint Patrick's Day in Boston

Get ready to go hard on March 17.

Olivia Vanni
JQ Louise
Written by
Olivia Vanni
JQ Louise

It is no secret that Massachusetts is filled with people of Irish American heritage. But whether you have Irish blood in your veins or not, we are all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. And it is also no secret that there are lots of shenanigans every March 17. From the Southie Parade to saying sl​​áinte from sunup to sun, there are some rules that all Bostonians can follow if they want to have a fun, safe and successful St. Patrick’s Day each year. Whether you’re shipping down to Southie or posting up at your neighborhood bar, these 12 rules should help you survive St. Patrick’s Day in Boston. And for maximum fun, check out our list of the best Irish pubs in town and the best St. Patrick’s Day events going on this year.

1) Don’t drink anything dyed green.

It may feel festive going down, but it’s like a scene from The Exorcist when it comes back up.

2) Don’t carry around open containers.

The cops probably know that the soccer mom thermos you’re clutching doesn’t contain coffee, but it’s much less conspicuous than flagrantly taking a swig straight from the bottle.

3) If you want to party at an Irish pub, be ready to arrive as soon as the doors open and stay all day.

Most places almost immediately reach capacity, and you don’t want to spend your St. Paddy’s Day waiting in line, staring longingly through the windows. Instead, plan ahead and pick a place to hunker down and plan to drink your Guinness in one location only.

4) Don’t fight with the bouncer.

Nor that guy at the bar you didn’t like, nor anyone else for that matter. No one thinks you’re a tough guy. Trust us kid, you’ll only spoil your friends’ fun by getting kicked out. 

5) Befriend anyone who has an apartment on the parade route.

You’ll feel like a king as you lounge around inside, comfortably drinking above the crowd of peasants that pack the streets like sardines.

6) Watch out for small children, whose innocence is in no way ready to handle Saint Patrick’s Day.

This rule especially applies to the parents who think it is a good idea to bring kids to Boston for the parade, this is not a kid-friendly environment.

7) Take the T.

This is not a day to drive anywhere in the city. Walk or take the T everywhere.

8) Prepare to throw some elbows when you take the T.

Honestly, it's every person for themselves on March 17.             

9) Beware the packs of drunken men (and people in general) around town.

While everyone is “Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, not everyone has the alcohol tolerance of the Irish, so behavior will be erratic.

10) Keep your eyes on where you’re stepping.

Avoid getting any luck of the Irish as you stroll through Southie, you won’t want it on your shoes.

11) Saint Patrick’s Day is a marathon, not a sprint.

No one wants to see you sloppy before noon, so remember to pause for food and water between pints, shots and Car Bombs.

12) Wear your green in layers.

You never know what the New England weather will bring in March. So, come prepared, because even if the wind is at you backs, it will most likely be howling.

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