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Boston 1By April Cafiso

Massachusetts is known as Ireland’s 6th county. So if you want to really get into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, book a Boston hotel room and be there for the big event: Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Southie (South Boston) hosts one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the nation, with more than 60,000 people attending each year. This year’s parade is Sunday, March 14, starting at 1 p.m. The parade winds through the neighborhoods where you’ll see every house trying to out-decorate the next. Residents take their place on the stoop with relatives and friends, while passers-by stroll the streets with baby carriages decked out in green and their babies in Aran sweaters, hats, mittens and blankets. People prepare for months for St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate Irish heritage — even if they’re not Irish.

irish_sweatersIf you want to get a good seat at Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, you have to get there very early — the locals stake out their spots with chairs in the wee hours of the morning. I think you can grab a spot any place along Broadway for a great view. We like to take the T to the end of the parade route (Andrew Square) and walk toward the starting line so we get a feel for the neighborhoods and see the whole parade. When we do stop along the route, we usually plant ourselves in front of an Irish pub along Broadway so we can have a bite and a cold pint or two.

Irish events are scheduled throughout Boston during the entire month of March — not just on St. Patrick’s Day, so you can book a Boston hotel room anytime and celebrate. You can find top entertainment acts from Ireland, Boston’s own band, Dropkick Murphys, Irish movies and story tellers, Irish bread bake-offs, and a cornbeef and cabbage dinner at nearly every corner restaurant. Don’t miss the Harpoon Brewery Festival, JFK Library, the Irish Cultural Centre, and Irish Heritage Trail.

Inside tip: If you coming to Boston for St. Patrick’s Day, make sure to keep the orange at home and sport your best green attire!

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April Cafiso is Orbitz’s New England market manager.

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