Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Wisconsin
Last Updated: 3/3/2017
Where will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year? When you hear “Wisconsin,” the first thing that comes to mind may not be “That is so Irish!” But the Irish roots run deep in the Badger State.
We've brought to you a roundup of Irish festivals you must check out, and be sure to hit up the biggie at the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee – Irish Fest is a great way to end your summer.
But for St. Patrick’s Day you’ve got a number of parades to choose from as well as pubs, inns and restaurants. Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig! Blessings of St. Patrick to you!
Typically held the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, gives revelers a chance to celebrate twice. The day begins with mass at – where else – St. Patrick's Church. Grab a seat at one of Wisconsin's grandest parades – the first held outside the 13 colonies back in 1843 – which starts off downtown near The Shops of Grand Avenue at noon.
Head to the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, which occupies the historic Grand Avenue Congregational Church. Events at the cultural center do not just happen in March – concerts and more are sprinkled throughout the year.
The town may really be New London but for a week in March you can visit New Dublin, Wisconsin. They feature a number of events – music, dancing, corned beef and cabbage eating – but the week culminates in a day long Irish fest complete with downtown New London, er, Dublin parade – Wisconsin's largest. Be sure not to miss a mock up of a traditional Irish funeral: Finnegan’s Wake.
Keep the festivities going when you pop into Pup’s Irish Pub, just outside of town.
Madison once hosted a St. Paddy’s Day parade rivalry between the engineering and law schools at the University of Wisconsin. In fact, the UW banned them in 1940! But today it’s all good fun again and Mad City hosts its annual parade each year. Events kick off at the Overture Center on State Street, not with a pub crawl, but with 5K and 10K runs (and a 2K walk) called the Shamrock Shuffle. Then the flag of Ireland is hoisted in the Capitol Rotunda followed by a parade around the Capitol Square.
Like Milwaukee, La Crosse hosts an Irish Fest in August, but for St. Patrick’s Day you can expect a parade filled with dancing, singing and plenty of Reuben sandwiches. As you make your way downtown, stop into Dublin Square for Irish music and brews.
Pubs, Inns and Brews
Wisconsin is home to Irish pubs spread out across the state to get your fix of corned beef, cabbage and a good Irish ale. Additionally, several Wisconsin brewers are producing Irish-inspired ales:
Milwaukee and Southeast
Two locations to enjoy a modern, stand-alone version of an Irish public house.