We’ve found plenty of ways to treasure St. Patrick’s Day with your little leprechauns! Listed below is a gold mine of festive, kid-friendly St. Patrick’s Day activities and celebrations where you can revel in Irish culture. From a fabulous parade and festival to toe-tapping Celtic music, amazing Irish dancing, fun runs and yummy Irish-themed cooking classes for young lads and lasses, put on your green attire and read on for where to find your St. Patrick’s Day magic somewhere over the rainbow in San Diego.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Irish Festival
You and your crew can get dressed up and enjoy the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade west of the Mississippi! You’ll see over 120 parade entries including colorful floats, dance troupes and high school marching bands, police and fire department units, beginning at Fifth Ave. at Laurel St. After the Parade, head over to the Irish Festival in Balboa Park for more live entertainment on three stages, Irish Step dancers and Irish folk singers, craft booths, a Celtic Food Village, a Beer Garden and a Kids Zone. What a fun-filled cultural experience for your whole clan!

When: March 16th, Parade starts at 10:30 a.m.; Irish Festival 1-6 p.m.

Balboa Park
Fifth Avenue at Laurel St.
San Diego, CA 92102
Online: stpatsparade.org


St. Patrick’s Family Festival
Bring the crew and get your green on at the Welk Resorts San Diego. From an infinite obstacle course, two leprechaun wipeout challenges to a flying trapeze, you’ll find something for everyone. Even more, little ones can search for (and find!) the pot of gold at the fun scavenger hunt. You’ll find food and drinks too!

When: March 16th and March 17th, 1-7 p.m.
Cost: $15/adult; $10/child

Welk Resorts
8845 Lawrence Welk Dr.
Escondido, CA 92026
Online: eventbrite.com/spring-fling-st-patricks-family-festival

photo: Pretend City

St. Patrick’s Day at Pretend City
It’s the luck of the Irish! Make your way to Pretend City for super festive ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with story time, art and fun activities! Wear your greenest outfit for their Irish heading home parade at the end of the day. Themed activities include the Shamrock Stamping play, create and decorate shamrocks (of all sizes!) and How to Trap a Leprechaun storybook reading followed by End of the Rainbow Treasure Hunt.

When: March 17th, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Pretend City
29 Hubble
Irvine, CA 92618
Online: pretendcity.org/event/celebrate-st-patricks-day

Lazy Acres Green Cooking Class
Come dressed in green with your little leprechaun (good for ages 2-5 years!) and cook up a storm. From stuffing twice-baked potatoes with delicious ingredients like kale and cheddar cheese to making fresh fruit kabobs, skewered with all of your favorite chopped green fruits. Finally, top it off with green batter mini pancakes and you’re sure to have a fun day cooking with your little lucky charm.

When: March 14th, 9 a.m.-10 a.m.
Cost: $30/adult; $7.50/child

Lazy Acres
150 Encinitas Blvd.
Encinitas, CA 92024
Online: eventbrite.com/mini-chef-me-great-day-green

Celtic Adventures at Carlsbad Library Learning Center
Meet giants, fairies, and brave heroes through stories from the Highlands of Scotland and the Hills of Ireland. These stories are geared for grades K-5.

When: March 7th, 3:30 p.m.

Library Learning Center
3368 Eureka Pl.
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Online: carlsbadca.gov

photo: Kate Gardiner via flickr

Leprechaun Run
The team that brings you San Diego Santa Run is excited to bring the Leprechaun Run this St. Patrick’s Day to Pacific Beach! Get ready to wear your green and take over Garnet Ave. and Cass St.! The Kids 1K Fun Run will take place after the Leprechaun Run 5K. The run will start at 10 a.m. and will run on Garnet Ave. Parents are welcome to run alongside their kids during the run. All Kids 1K Fun Run participants will receive sunglasses and a finisher prize!

When: March 16th, 7:30 a.m.-Noon

912 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, CA 92109
Online: sandiegorunningco.com/leprechaunrun

House of Ireland
Grab the fam and immerse yourselves in Irish culture. Dine on traditional Irish food, non-alcoholic Irish Coffee and delectable baked goods. Once you’ve had your fill, sit back and enjoy live music and traditional Irish dancing performances.  All that’s missing is the pot of gold!

When: March 17th, 11 a.m.
-4 p.m. (Dancing and music start at 2 p.m.)

Balboa Park
House of Pacific Relations
House of Ireland
Online: houseofireland.org

2019 St. Patrick’s Day 10K / 2 & 4 Mile Fun Run
Every year San Diegans gather for this fast and flat run (or walk) around Mission Bay. If you’re running with the littles in tow, you can choose between a 2 mile, 4 mile, or 10K course. All finishers will receive a medal and a dri-release shirt. After the race, nosh on Domino’s pizza and those 21 and older can enjoy a beer garden sponsored by Stone Brewery, Ballast Point and Coronado Brewery.

When: March 16th, 4 & 2 Mile starts at 7:45 a.m.; 10K starts at 7:50 a.m.

Mission Bay Park
2688 E. Mission Bay Dr.
San Diego, CA 92109
Online: stpatrick10K.com

featured photo: Jeffrey via Flickr

––Nikki Walsh & Beth Shea


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