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Go green at the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade

March 17, St. Patrick's Day, marks the green holiday that most Americans celebrate regardless of their heritage. While you'll find celebrations around the country during this festive spring tradition, New York does it best. Since 1762, the city has hosted a proud Irish tradition, the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade! Visitors from around the globe arrive at one of the local airports and drive their New York City rental cars downtown for the excitement. In fact, this parade was the first of its kind - the tradition didn't even begin in Ireland.

History of the holiday

St. Patrick's Day has Irish and religious roots that reach more than 1,000 years ago. It all dates back to St. Patrick himself, a patron saint and the national apostle of Ireland who lived during the 5th century. As a boy of 16, it is said that he worked as a slave but took Christianity back to his people upon escaping. What started as a Lenten tradition has grown into an American holiday when residents from coast to coast celebrate their Irish heritage, whether they have it or not.

Basic parade guide

Every year, the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade takes place on 44th Street and Fifth Avenue at 11 a.m. on March 17. The route includes a pass by St. Patrick's Cathedral on 50th Street and ends at 79th Street in the late afternoon. Guests who are driving their New York car rentals to the festivities can park in one of the many Midtown garages; however, due to traffic and drinking it might be best to leave the vehicle behind and hitch a ride via public transportation. Depending on how deep in the crowd you want to get, you may want to find a close-up view on 79th Street or head to Fifth Avenue for a better view from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Although, may attendees choose to belly up at one of the local restaurants or bars and watch the action from the comfort of a cozy bar stool.

Tips and safety precautions

It's important to remember that the parade is a family-friendly event, and you'll want to following guidelines set up the NYPD. So, that means no animals can make the trip with you. If you're watching from the street, you are not permitted to bring any booze with you. Additionally, no green beads, costume dress or hats are allowed by those sitting in the Reviewing Stands. The city urges all guests to reach out to a police officer if any drunken or unruly conduct is witnessed along the parade route.

Parents visiting the Big Apple with children will want to make sure that they keep an eye on their little ones at all times. As no surprise, the parade route gets rather crowded, and it can be easy to lose those you are with. You might also want to swing by Bryant Park before the festivities begin, as this is the closes public restroom to the standing area. However, if you're lucky, you might be able to stop in a local establishment to use their facilities.

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