St. Patrick’s Day in Kansas City: Irish For a Day

It’s no wonder that Kansas City has been listed as one of the top 10 cities in the United States to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! With more than 250,000 Kansas Citians claiming Irish heritage, March is a big month in this city with options ranging from the celebration of green beer with tens of thousands of your best friends, to family-friendly parades and a festival celebrating … snakes?
The Kansas City Moms Blog team is here to help you choose the best event for your family. Whichever one you attend, don’t forget your green!
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45th Annual Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Midtown/Westport

If you want the official March of the Irish and the single largest one-day celebration in KC, this is your day. Held every St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), this two-hour event with an estimated crowd of 200,000 starts at 11 a.m. and winds its way through Midtown and Westport.

  • Bring your own food, drink, beads and hats – otherwise, you’ll find yourself battling the crowds and shelling out more money than you anticipated.
  • Arrive early to get a good spot. All the main intersections (39th & Main, 43rd & Main, etc.) are very crowded so allow time to walk around and secure a place to set your blanket and chairs down (which you brought with you, of course).

Shawnee St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The Shawnee Irish community will be rocking for another year as they celebrate “The Shawnee Irish Rock.” The parade begins at 1 p.m. and proceeds down Johnson Drive from Monrovia east to Nieman Road.

Super-friendly for families and held on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, the Brookside Warm-up Parade begins at 2 p.m. with a theme of “Shamrockin’ It.” The parade begins at 65th and Wornall, continues on Wornall to 63rd, east on 63rd to Main, south on Main to Meyer Boulevard and heads west on Meyer toward Brookside Boulevard. Though a smaller event than the craziness you might experience in Midtown, you still need to come prepared with a strategy.
  • Parking is challenging, so arriving early or parking your vehicle overnight and taking the bus/carpool will help you start your day off right.
  • Consider arriving early for breakfast and doing some shopping to beat the crowds. Our favorites for kid-friendly fare are Waldo Pizza, Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard and Bella Napoli. For all restaurant and shopping options, view the Brookside area map.

Emerald Isle Parade – Lee’s Summit

The annual Emerald Isle Parade features floats, walking groups, Irish dancers, musicians and more. Other activities include an Irish breakfast, a pub crawl and a gold coin hunt for the kids. The parade begins at 12 p.m. in downtown Lee’s Summit on 8th Street, heads north on Green Street, west on 3rd Street, then north on SE Main Street.

Snake Saturday Parade and Festival – North Kansas City

For a parade that started in 1983 with four floats in a motel parking lot, this North Kansas City celebration has come a long way. A day-long festival includes a children’s area, carnival, a theater stage and car show. Non-profits and charities compete for cash prizes with the event having given away more than $1 million to date. Check out a full schedule here.

Why the snakes, you ask? Well, legend has it that St. Patrick banished snakes (to some, representing the devil or paganism) from Ireland … thus, we drink green beer, throw green beads and have parades to celebrate his life. Of course! 🙂

Sarah grew up in Manhattan, Kansas (Go Cats!), she moved to Minnesota where she met her husband, Shea. Realizing how much she hated snow in May, she convinced him to move to Kansas City in 2010. Together they have lived in Midtown, Waldo, the Plaza, and now Overland Park. Sarah is mom to 10-year-old, Henry, 7-year-old Clark and 5-year-old Lucy. She has her master’s in urban administration and is passionate about making Kansas City a more equitable and supportive community. In between the crazy, she likes to drink coffee, run, hike, travel as much as possible, and experience all things Kansas City!