With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, it’s a good idea to know where you and your little leprechauns can go to celebrate your inner (or outer) Irish. From parades and festivals to gold hunts and corned beef, there are lots of options for everyone to have a sham-rocking good time! Read on to discover the merriment you’ll definitely find at the end of this rainbow!


photo: jpmpinmontreal via Flickr

Seaside St. Patrick’s Day Parade
In true small-town, parade-by-the-beach fashion, this Hermosa Beach annual event certainly brings on the Irish with school marching bands, bagpipers, floats, horses and Irish Setters. Grab a curbside seat with your wee ones, throw on some green and prepare to watch the revelry unfold. Afterward, march yourselves over to Hennessey’s Tavern to refuel the family (and to keep the St. Patrick’s Day fun going!). Sat. Mar. 17. Event details.

County Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Bring the family for a scenic drive up the coast and celebrate St. Patty’s Day with true California heroes at this festively grand parade. Not only will there be bands, Irish dancers, fire trucks, antique vehicles and four-legged pets to entertain the masses, but this year’s parade theme is “Ventura Strong” honoring the Thomas Fire first responders making this parade is truly worth its weight in gold. Sat. Mar. 17. Event details.


photo: Claudia M Eastman via Flickr

Can You Find Lucky the Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold?
On the Friday morning before St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy a story with the Malibu Public Library’s Children’s librarian, create holiday-inspired art, hunt for gold, win a prize and eat a snack fit for a leprechaun (or two). Be sure to keep your Irish eyes peeled for the special surprise guest scheduled to make an appearance! Fri. Mar. 16. Event details.

St. Patrick’s Day at the Original Farmer’s Market
Frolicking fun is in full Irish effect with live music, corned beef and cabbage, green beer and lots o’ cheer at the Original Farmers Market on St. Patrick’s Day. A bagpiper strolls the Market in the afternoon and a traditional Irish folk singer plays in the evening. It’s the perfect place to get a little shopping done while you and the family get your green on! Sat. Mar. 17.  Event details.

Head For The Hills!
Valley families can stay local and check out this event, hosted by the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center on St. Patrick’s Day, which features Irish bands, festive food, jumpers, rock climbing, a silent raffle basket auction, and plenty more live entertainment. Did we mention it’s free? Sat. Mar. 12. Event details.

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

Emerald Isle Merriment in Thousand Oaks
Give your wee lads and lassies a taste of what it truly means to be Irish with this spectacular event celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Prepare to be whisked away to the shores of County Kerry with performances by a traditional Irish orchestra, champion dancers and festive songs that will have everyone dancing in the aisles! Takes place Sun. Mar.11. Event Details.

Pretend City St. Patrick’s Day Festivities
If you’re looking to really knock the sham-socks off your little people on St. Patrick’s Day, then a drive to Pretend City Children’s Museum is the perfect mini day-trip. Celebrate the season with an end-of-the-rainbow treasure hunt, sensational storytelling and a Pretend City-wide search for leprechauns hiding in the exhibits! Don’t forget to wear your greenest of green for an Irish inspired heading home parade. Sat. Mar. 17. Event details. 

photo: Village Runner St. Patrick Day 5K via Facebook

St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Redondo Beach
What better way to kick off St. Patrick’s Day festivities then with a bright-and-early South Bay run for the whole family? Sign up for the 5K course if you’re feeling sprightly or kids (ages 4 – 9) can enter the shorter “Little Leprechaun Dash For the Gold” race. All participants get a St. Patrick’s Day run t-shirt and children participants receive a “gold” medal upon crossing the finish line! Advance registration required. Sat. Mar. 17. Event details. 

Irish Eats and Treats

photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bring the Irish Home
Field Trip! Bring the kids to wander through a treasure trove of Irish delights from the typical “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirts to food that would be at home in any Irish chalet: 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 more things made in Ireland than you can shake a shillelagh at, so you can stock up for an authentic celebration at home.

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Make Their Own Shamrock Shakes!
Turns out the younger set might not be on board with traditional Irish dining so if the thought of kidney stew or blood sausage turns them a non-festive shade of green, sign them up for a kids cooking class at BLVD Kitchen before St. Patrick’s Day for a special taste of Ireland. Here they will learn to make soda bread, Irish meatballs, and mashed potatoes all under the careful supervision of professional cooking instructors. Throw in a shamrock shake nightcap and your sweet sprouts will be dancing a jig the whole way home. Space is limited so sign up online in advance. Ages 6 – 10. Sat. Mar. 10. Event details.

The Irish Times in West LA, Casey’s DowntownBergin’s in Mid-CityAuld Dubliner in Long Beach, Irelands 32 in Van Nuys, Finn McCools and O’Brien’s in Santa Monica all serve up hearty portions of Irish food, like corned beef & cabbage or bangers & mash, and beer with a heaping side of Irish music, accents, football on the TVs and more to set the mood. While most of these pub-style spots welcome kids during the day, you should call ahead to confirm as St. Patty’s day crowds can be a bit too rowdy for the young ones. Instead, we recommend wetting your whistles the weekend before or after, where you can get all the atmosphere and none of the crazy.

Irish Dancing

photo: Celtic Irish Dance Academy via Facebook

Dance Like The Irish Are Watching
Michael Flatley’s Riverdance may have hoisted Irish performance into the world spotlight, but 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 tiny dancers (or yourself) in a class to explore your Irish side, at Celtic Dance Academy, one of our favorite Irish Dance studios in town.

Where are you and your family going to be seen in green? Let us know in the comments below!

—Meghan Rose & Jenifer Scott


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