There’s a good bit o’ Irish pride in LA, and you can find it at activities that are fit for the whole fam (no river of Green Beer here). Catch a parade, eat Irish food, dance a jig or search for gold: here are our favorite LA activities that will put a little “Erin Go Bragh” into the holiday for you and your little leprechauns.

Girl Smiling on St. Patricks Dayphoto: Jeffrey via flickr

Parades

Seaside St. Patrick’s Day Parade
It’s a true small town parade by the beach at the Hermosa Beach annual event, with school marching bands, bagpipers, floats, vintage autos, step dancers and Irish setters all taking part. Grab a curbside seat and prepare to watch the revelers, bands and floats march by. Takes place the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. Event details.

County Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Nothing says holiday like a parade, and the Ventura St. Patty’s Day is a grand one, worth the drive up the coast. Bands, Irish dancers, fire trucks, antique vehicles, four-legged pets and more take to the streets. Also taking place the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. Event details.

6933612815_f7f6539861_bphoto: Chris Christian via flickr

Events & Activities

Can You Find Lucky the Leprechaun?
On the morning before St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy a story with the Malibu Public Library’s Children’s librarian, create a small craft, find Lucky’s pot of gold, win a prize and eat a leprechaun snack. Maybe you’ll even see a rainbow over the ocean when you visit Malibu. Event details.

St. Patrick’s Day at the Original Farmers Market
Live music, corned beef and cabbage, green beer and lots of fun are on tap at the Original Farmers Market on St. Patrick’s Day. A bagpiper strolls the Market in the afternoon and traditional Irish folk singer plays in the evening. Event details.

A Leprechaun’s Gold Hunt in Thousand Oaks
Feelin’ the luck o’ the Irish? Help your kids search for gold coins hidden around the park, then turn your pot o’ gold in for fun prizes. The search takes place on St. Patrick’s Day after school, and is a fun way to end the day. Event details.

Kids in St Patricks Day paradephoto: City of Greeley via flickr

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Valley families can check out this event the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, which features live Irish music, food, jumpers, rock climbing, silent auction, and plenty more live entertainment. Event details.

Barnsdall Art Park Celebrates Ireland: Book of Kells
Do Irish art with your whole family at the Barnsdall Family Art afternoon. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, make letters with composite animals like in the Book of Kells. If you’ve never been to this free family art afternoon, this is a perfect time to discover it! Event details.

An Irish Hooley
An Irish Hooley is a “boisterous party” and this performance is in that tradition of celebrating the joys of being Irish, moving from older Irish times to modern Ireland through traditional music, song and (of course) Irish dance. It’s a crash course for kids in real Irish performances, taking place the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day. Event details.

Green is the color to wear on this fun filled day! Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day through a treasure hunt, Irish art, and leprechaun visits. Today everyone will have the opportunity to participate in: Smart Art: Visit the art studio for a variety of Irish and St. Patrick’s themed art activities for your child to create. Good to Go Activity: Visit the Farm to participate in the Irish Potato Hop. Children will learn a traditional rhyme while working on counting and gross motor skills. Let’s Move: Play the Lucky Leprechaun Game to see if you’re the lucky leprechaun of the day. Participate in this fun St. Patti’s Day group game. Partner In Play: See if you can bring out the Lucky Leprechaun to share his magic during a fun story time. Don’t forget to wear your favorite green costume for an Irish inspired heading home parade!photo: Pretend City

Another Way to Go Green: Arbor Day Celebration
Don’t just wear green, go green. Help Tree Musketeers celebrate Arbor Day in El Segundo by planting trees together. Helping the environment and making our city greener is a great way to honor the Emerald Isle. Event details.

Pretend City St. Patrick’s Day Festivities
If your little people aren’t in school, a drive to Pretend City is the perfect mini day-trip. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a treasure hunt, Irish art, live music and leprechaun visits. Don’t forget to wear a green costume for an Irish inspired heading home parade. Event details.

2338810354_d7390771b2_zphoto: Garry Knight via flickr

Eat Like the Irish

Casey’s Downtown, Bergin’s in Mid-City, Auld Dubliner & Gallagher’s in Long Beach and O’Brien’s in Santa Monica all serve up giant does of Irish food, like corned beef & cabbage or bangers & mash, and beer with a giant side of Irish music, accents, football on the TVs and more to get you in the mood. While at most of these spots kids are welcome during the day, you should call to confirm, especially if you plan on visiting on St. Patrick’s Day, when crowds can be a bit too big and wild for wee ones. Instead, we recommend a brunch the weekend before or after, where you can get all the atmosphere and none of the crush.

4483749319_94e558744f_zphoto: Celtic Dance Academy

Dance Like the Irish

Remember Riverdance?  Irish Dancing isn’t just a stage show – it’s an ancient Celtic art form.  And if you thought tutus and buns were cute, wait till you get a load of gillies and ringlets. Enroll your wee ones (or yourself) in a class to explore your Irish side, at Celtic Dance Academy, one of our favorite Irish Dance studios in town.

Bring the Irish Home

Time to stock up! Bring the kids to wander through a treasure trove of Irish delights form the typical “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirts to food that would be at home in any Irish home: crazy flavored crisps, Irish bangers, PG tips, spotted dick and puddings in cans, real English baked beans, biscuits, scone and soda bread mixes and chocolates you can’t get in the US that will delight any child (and adult – seriously, their Cadbury is a whole different animal from what’s made here!). Tucked into a tiny, and truthfully, slightly dingy, strip mall in Hollywood, the Irish Import Shop is well worth a trip, even if it’s just to meet the Irish-to-the-core owner. You’ll also find cookbooks, clothes and other things made in Ireland, so you can stock up for an authentic celebration at home. Get the details about the store (you can also order online) at their website.
Online: irishimportshop.com

Where do you and your family have planned to get your green on? Let us know in the comments below!

—Meghan Rose