Des Moines is full of plenty of actual Irish residents as well as those who are Irish just for St. Patrick’s Day. The following are the best places in the Des Moines area to celebrate your Irish heritage, even if it only lasts 24 hours on March 17. (Events held on dates other than St. Patrick’s day are indicated)
- Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Parade-12pm- The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick is a privately funded group who raises money for charities throughout the year and hold this annual parade to help celebrate their heritage. Candy and beads are handed out by those walking the path so this is a great family event. Be sure to get there early since parking will get tricky the closer you get to starting time and many streets will be blocked off.
- Friendly Sons Run-11am, March 26- The Friendly Sons are also holding a 5k and a 10k race for those who would like the chance to run off some of the beer they’re planning on drinking later on in the day. This is a fun way to celebrate St. Patrick’s without having to go to a bar and you’ll get some health benefits to boot. The race is open to everyone from under the age of 19 to age 70+.
- Sully’s Wild Irish Ride-March 3rd, 12pm-6pm- Sully’s is having a special bike ride to help get everyone in the Irish spirit. You can choose to start at either Mickey Finn’s on Douglas Avenue or at Sully’s on 1st St. in West Des Moines and follow the route by visiting local bars like Groucho’s Lounge and Ducktail Lounge and finally end up at Sully’s. Prizes will be awarded for top 3 costumes once everyone reaches the final stop at Sully’s so wear your most extravagantly Irish bike riding outfit to make sure you win.
- Leprechaun Chase– March 10th, 10am for lasses and 5 minutes later for lads- This 10k race starts at Principal Park and goes through Gray’s Lake and Water Works Park. Be sure to wear green or you’re going to spend most of the race avoiding everyone trying to pinch you. Whoever comes in first for their respective gender’s race will get a free beer as their prize. Try to dress to impress since they have a Best Dressed award to compete for.
- The Royal Mile-10am- Though this pub is an English style pub the rest of the year, on St. Patrick’s day they’ll change up their menu and serve corned beef and cabbage. They’ll have the Iowa Scottish Pipes and Drums perform authentic Irish bag pipe music to really get you in the Irish mood.
- Annie’s Irish Pub Block Party-11am-2:30am March 18th –This event brings in an average of 10,000 people to help start the festivities of St. Patrick’s day before the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Parade starts at noon and then continues the celebration well into the next day. They’ll have live entertainment and plenty of green beer to help you celebrate your Irish (even if just for the day) heritage.
For the top free things to do in Des Moines, click here.