The 15 Best Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Indiana!
If you're in Indiana on March 17, the day for the wearin' of the green, join Hoosiers across the state for top-o'-the-line shenanigans for one and all. Did your DNA test tell you you're not Irish? Here, have an “Honorary Irishman” button and bottoms up as you add your “Good on ya, Patty!” to the chorus.
First things first: If you really want to get into the spirit of this tradition-steeped holiday, you'll want to look the part. This store's section of relevant merchandise is admittedly more on the Scottish side of the awesomeness that is Celtic culture, but you’ll surely find some traditional garb in here. Add some Celtic knot work jewelry, maybe a leather worked wristband, and you're ready to go. Amid all the Kelly-green shirts, crazy shamrock sunglasses, and leprechaun wigs/hats, you'll be standing out in the crowd.
For all you honorary Irishmen and women over 21, nothing beats an excuse to get together and tip a glass to great music from the mother country. Downtown South Bend holds a tent party and pub tour for Hoosiers and guests to experience northwest Indiana's biggest shenanigans. Live music, green laser lights, and lots of Guinness make this one a Saint Pat's you'll not soon forget. Pubs on the tour take their place very seriously, and offer great deals on the most Irish of draughts and mixers. Transpo provides shuttling with live bagpipers to make the ride as fun as the destinations.
3. Craic at a pub
Parades and block parties are fun and wonderful, but honestly, for authentic St. Patrick's Day craic (pronounced “crack,” means fun and good conversation), it's hard to beat a night at the local pub. Indiana takes pride in her list of Irish pubs, and periodic publications have frequently listed the best in the state. Most of these tend to have St. Patrick's Day specials on their distinctly Irish fare, and those pubs with regularly scheduled live music will be sure to have goings-on for the Seventeenth of March. While there doesn't seem to be a comprehensive list of Irish pubs in Indiana to refer you to, the “lucky number” seven of the top statewide recommendations are: Mo's Irish Pub, Claddagh Irish Pub, Nine Irish Brothers, Rusty Dog Irish Pub, O'Reilly's Irish Pub and Restaurant, The Irish Lion Restaurant and Pub, and Kate O'Connor's Traditional Irish Pub.
The northwest corner of the state holds a nighttime treat every year for all true Irish folk (and honorary alike). The local firehouse hosts a corned beef and cabbage dinner before party-goers gather along the cordoned-off streets at dusk to cheer for the parade honoring all things Irish! After the parade, enjoy a drink at the local watering hole to cap off your St. Patty's Day craic.
Most people wouldn't think to go to a Bavarian establishment for a shamrockin' St. Pat's, but the Rathskeller does make sure to set aside their lederhosen for ghillies, their knockwurst for corned beef, their kraut for stewed cabbage, and their Heineken for Guinness. It is also a sort of recognition that many European-descent Americans share ancestry from both Ireland and Germany. For St. Patrick's Day, two cultures come together in America to celebrate. Slainte, jaa!
Interestingly enough, you can go to Ireland and never leave the state of Indiana. Not to be outdone by Santa Claus, Indiana's Christmas festival, the city of Ireland hosts an annual St. Patrick's Day bash that usually lasts a few days. Activities from years past include a 5K walk/run, live entertainment, craft and bake shows, duck races, and house lighting contests. Of course, there is a parade, so get out your noisemakers, put on your flashiest green outfit, and toast the mother country!
A favorite of the area, the St. Pat's Parade in Muncie sees young and old alike gathering the historic streets of Muncie and along the beautiful new bridge over the White River to celebrate everyone's inner Irish whether you're Irish or not. Join Ball State student, long-time denizens, and itty-bitty residents at this celebration of all things green and the saint who changed the world!
The South Bend Contra Dancers host classes and social contra dances from the elegant days of Regency, the great-great-grandmother of the square dance. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, their March gathering features ceili (kay-lee) dances as well to really get your Irish heart beating. Refreshments all bear a distinct Irish theme, and for the little kids who haven't quite mastered the art of dance yet, someone will be holding a St. Patrick's themed craft or other activity.
We could have listed this under “Craic at a pub,” but if USA Today has ranked McGinley's St. Patrick's Day bash as one of the top 10 in the country, then we think it deserves a spot of its own. For over 80 years, the Ace has hosted a March 17 party like no other, and has drawn some giant names for the live entertainment … in fact, the year they were getting ready to celebrate their 30,000th day in business, their shamrock-palooza featured “America's best Irish tenor,” the band whose regular gig is the Walt Disney World pub, and a contestant-turned-independent-artist from Ireland's version of the American hit show “The Voice.” McGinley's Golden Ace is Indy's oldest Irish bar, and after celebrating St. Pat's with them, you'll understand why.
Scotty's Brewhouse is a Village staple among Ball State students and the city of Muncie. Bearing the name of the Ball State alumnus and successful entrepreneur, the hometown franchise of Scotty's Brewhouse chain is home to the Shamrock Shuffle, a 5/10K near St. Patrick's Day, touring the Village and part of Muncie, all washed down with one brew on the house! Put on your most spirited green and/or Irish outfit—make sure it coordinates with your finisher's tee shirt and medal—and if you're among the first three hundred finishers, you'll get a commemorative glass that you can refill at your own St. Pat's bash.
Join the citizens of Broad Ripple to “crawl” from pub to pub in the area and enjoy no cover charge (at participating locations), some blarney bling, and other bits o' fun to help your shenanigating efforts. Your special Shamrock Stumble comes with a 22-ounce stadium cup as your “ticket” along with your lanyard that proves you've paid your ticket price and are ready to dance … or stumble … with everyone from pub to pub in search of the perfect pint.
No, you're not seeing double … yet. Broad Ripple this holiday very seriously, so hosts not one but two pub crawls in celebration of a saint. The St. Practice Day (yes you read that right) Pub Crawl is sponsored by Circle City Athletes, the adult social sports league for central Indiana. This pub crawl is a little different from the Shamrock Stumble. You can sign up for a color team, and if your friends are coming to, you can all sign up for the same color, allowing your “score of little leprechauns” to get into all sorts of bubbly mischief together throughout the night.
Quick note: This one is not in March! It's the Halfway-to-St.-Patrick's-Day party that gives attendees their emerald-and-gold fix at the other end of the year. Live bands playing traditional and contemporary Irish and Celtic music call to your heart with the song of your people (even if they're not your actual people). Indiana Irish dance studios share their art on the various stages throughout the festival grounds and share with you how to join their ranks for classes so that you can give your feet something to do half a year later at your own St. Pat's bash.
From the top o' the' mornin' to the last bong of the clock, party for St. Pat with the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters at the Get Green Fest. Bring the kids out for an entire day of Irish-themed fun from picking up the coins that the leprechaun dropped to turning the St. Mary's River green to rocking out to live music and sampling amazing themed foods. Start out in the morning with the 5-Kilt (if you run in a kilt, wear skivvies please...), and then refuel your tank with the Lucky Charms eating contest as if you needed an excuse to gobble up the beloved cereal.
If you're in the Hoosier Heartland for St. Patrick's Day, jig on down to Indy where even the river runs green! The Greening of the Canal is a beloved Indianapolis tradition in preparation for the parade and block party, where Hoosiers gather from all over to don the green, wish on a shamrock, sample some Irish comfort foods, and raise a glass to the “Irish Citizen of the Year,” before working off all those green calories with a run/walk. Both the parade and the block party are free to the public, as well as family-friendly. The Hoosier Lotto Imagine That stage features live music that is guaranteed to get your toes tappin' and your Irish heart a-reelin'.