You don’t need to be Irish to celebrate the luck and the lore of the Emerald Isle. From fun runs to the 165th annual parade to small town celebrations, the Bay Area has a pot of gold’s worth of activities to keep your little leprechauns happy. There’s something here to please even the wee ones in your family and leave you all shouting Erin go bragh!

St Patricks Day Parade Kids_via flickr creative commons jmpminmontreal

Photo credit  jpmpinmontreal via Flickr Creative Commons

San Francisco

Crossroads Irish-American Festival Children’s Hour 
Celebrate the heritage of the Emerald Isle at this special children’s hour, part of the month long Crossroads Irish-American Festival, featuring dancers from the Brosnan School of Irish Dance. Jigs, reels and other high-kicking dance steps, and traditional music on fiddle, Irish flute concertina and tin whistle.
Sunday, Mar. 7, Fisher Children’s Center, San Francisco Public Library, 11 a.m. All Ages. Event details.

St. Patrick’s Day 5k
This race has a kid’s category, and kids 12 and under can race for free along the scenic waterfront starting (and ending) at Crissy Field East Beach, with views of the Golden Gate Bridge the whole time. No jogging strollers allowed, but lots of kids take part every year so get those green t-shirts on and enjoy a healthy St. Patrick’s event. Sun., 9 a.m. Crissy Field.  $5/adults; $3/children 13-17; children 12 and under are free. All ages. Event details.

Irish parade dancers steven damron flickr

 Photo credit: Steven Damron via Flickr Creative Commons

St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival
With more than 100 colorful floats, Irish dance troupes, and marching bands making their way from Second and Market to Civic Center Plaza, there’s lots of places to see and to celebrate the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in San Francisco. The after-parade-party at Civic Center Plaza/City Hall is almost as much fun as the parade, with live performances, lots of arts and crafts for kids food vendors, and cultural displays make this a celebration for all! Sat., 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Civic Center. Free. All ages. Event details.

St. Patrick's Girl 

Annual Greenfest Block Party
Go green with Java Beach Cafe and the United Irish Cultural Center for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration the kids will love. Irish music and traditional dance, face painting, food, and more family friendly activities not to miss. Call 415-661-2700 for more info.
Sun., Mar. 13, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free. All Ages. Event details.

East Bay

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in Dublin
The city of Dublin does its Irish namesake proud with a weekend of celebration that rivals those anywhere in the Bay Area. This two day festival includes a pancake breakfast at the local firehouse (woo!) from 7–10 a.m. on Sat., Mar. 15, followed by the annual parade down Dublin Boulevard, beginning at 9:30 a.m. You can celebrate all day both days at the Civic Center Plaza, and on Sunday work off those pancakes and pints at the Shamrock 5k Fun Run & Walk, starting at 8:30 a.m. Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dublin. Free. All ages. Event details.

City of Dublin St. Patrick's Day Festival Ride from facebook (1)

Photo credit: City of Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Facebook page

Little Green Men Weekend at Playland
Leprechauns and martians, the little green men are everywhere. You can dare to go a-hunting and win Playland prizes as this twist on St. Patrick’s day themed fun at Playland-Not-at-the-Beach. Plus all the carnival games, pinball, and other penny arcade games you can handle! Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. El Cerrito. $15/adult; $10/child. All ages. Event details.

The Leprechaun’s Nature Hunt
Grab a camera or a sketch book, and come by the Big Break Visitor Center to join in the Leprechaun’s nature treasure hunt. Groups, individuals, and families will explore the park, seeking clues and items that the local leprechaun left to find. Thurs., March 17. 10 a.m.–noon.Free. All ages. Event Details. 

AtlStPatParade2014-0259

South Bay/Peninsula

St. Paddy’s Day in the Village of Saratoga
The village of Saratoga will be celebrating Irish heritage all all things green with an afternoon of city-wide entertainment for families, including contests and prizes. Hunt for the hidden green rocks, enjoy green cotton candy, popcorn, balloons, face painting and lots of fun. Start at the Bank of America parking lot to pick up a program and bag for collecting pennies. Sat., March 12,  2-4 p.m. Saratoga. Free. All ages. Event details.

Flying Leprechaun: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
The Luck ‘o the Irish meets the Hiller Aviation Museum for a special aerial celebration in honor of St. Patrick himself! Join the morning festivities including free face painting and a jump house. Scour the Museum’s Gallery for hidden Leprechauns and earn a treat from his pot’o’gold. Sat., March 12,Hiller Aviation Museum. 10am-noon.  $15/adults, $10/youth 5-17, under 5/free. Event Details. 

Go Green St. Patrick’s Day Run
With a 5k, 10k, and half marathon, this run throughout Vasona Park is great for runners of all skill levels, plus it benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Jogging strollers are permitted, and the entire race is a paved surface, so swaddle those babes in green and get going! Register in advance here, as the race is limited to 1500 participants and usually sells out. Sun., Mar. 13, 8 a.m. $35-$70. All Ages. Event details.

 

Kids st patty

Marin County

St. Patrick’s Day Art
Artists ages 5-10 can make St. Patrick’s Day masterpieces with Ms. Chris. Space is limited, so arrive at 4:30 to get your ticket, and wear clothes that you don’t mind getting messy. Mon., March 14. 5-6 p.m.. Free. Ages 5-10 Newark Library. Event Details. 

St. Patrick’s Day at the Starry Plough
Live like the Irish and take the whole family to the pub—the Starry Plough is open to all ages on this special day from 11 a.m.–10 p.m., with music, dance and a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner. Thurs., March 17. $10 cover. Event Details. 

Lucky Run 5K/10K
On the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day you can pre-emptively work off those Guinness and corned beef calories at the Lucky Run, a mixed-level running event through Novato’s beautiful old Spanish style housing area and the picturesque Hamilton wetlands.While not obligatory, runners typically wear a touch of green, and there may be leprechaun mischief and Irish revelry along the route. Sun., March 13, 7 a.m., $20-40. All ages. Event Details. 

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What will you be doing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your little ones?

–Erin Feher and Amber Guetebier