Uncovering St. Patrick’s Day
Traditions Across America


St. Patrick’s Day may have originated in Ireland, but many traditions associated with the holiday started in America. Many Irish Catholics immigrated to America in the 1800s and began celebrating their heritage in St. Patrick’s Day parades. What was once a religious holiday became one of celebration, green-tinted food and drink, and, of course, wearing green. 

We wanted to know how Americans are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in 2024, so we surveyed 2,000 Americans to find out. Businesses, communities, people planning events, and marketers can make the best of the day by understanding these trends.     

Key Takeaways

  • Despite high levels of participation and engagement, the majority of Americans spend less than $50 on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. 
  • The primary reason for celebrating is having fun and socializing, more than cultural or heritage pride. 
  • Alcohol consumption and participation levels vary significantly by state, reflecting regional differences in celebrating the holiday. 
  • Despite the holiday’s reputation for drinking, a significant portion of the population prefers non-alcoholic beverages.

Participating in St. Paddy’s Day

Our results reveal a range of participation among respondents, with 11% celebrating every year, 15% never celebrating, 40% rarely celebrating, and 34% celebrating sometimes. Many factors, including age, local engagement, social circles, and personal preference, may influence such varying levels of participation. 

When asked if they would participate in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year, 44% said yes, and 56% said no. This notable division in interest could indicate many reasons on either side. However, one significant reason for the division could be that St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, just before the start of the work week, which may deter people from doing little more than prepping for the week ahead. 

Luck of the Draught

Drinking is one activity most associated with St. Patrick’s Day, so we asked Americans how many drinks they typically enjoy. Americans in Alabama, Kansas, and Oklahoma enjoy up to five drinks, and Pennsylvania and Georgia enjoy up to four. The rest of the country averaged three. These states may have stronger cultural ties to St. Patrick’s Day and access to local celebrations, such as local bars and restaurants offering specials and discounts for St. Patrick’s Day.   

Non-alcoholic drinks surprisingly emerged as the most favored option, with 39%. Given the rapid rise in popularity of non-alcoholic beverages over the last few years, Americans may be reaching for NA options on St. Patrick’s Day as well. Irish beer, such as Guinness, ranked second, with 23%, indicating it as the favorite for alcoholic options, especially being a traditional Irish beverage. Fourteen percent of respondents prefer Irish whiskey, and another 14% like other alcoholic options, including cider, cocktails, and green tea shots. Green-dyed beer was the least preferred, with 11%. Americans may like less alcohol than before, but many people still value Ireland’s rich brewing heritage.

Americans Are Saving Their Pots o’ Gold

Most respondents (81%) typically spend less than $50 on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, suggesting that Americans may take a more frugal approach to the holiday, such as not running up an expensive bar tab. However, 16% spend between $51 to $100, indicating that some are still spending a little extra, while only a minority, 2%, spend between $101 to $200. Interestingly, none of the respondents reported spending more than $200 on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. When St. Patrick’s Day can be celebrated by simply wearing green and attending a parade, it’s fairly easy to celebrate without breaking the bank.

Getting into Shamrock Shenanigans 

We asked respondents to tell us all the ways they celebrate. Not surprisingly, wearing green is the most popular, with 84%, which may or may not be due to the threat of being pinched. Significant portions reported other activities, with 37% going to bars and pubs, 25% hosting or attending parties, 24% cooking traditional Irish food, and 18% attending parades. These findings show us that there are many ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and people often engage in several of them—from socializing at a pub to enjoying Irish cooking at home. 

Reasons Americans Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Much like the other results from the survey, Americans’ reasons for celebrating are diverse as well: 44% cited their primary reason as St. Patrick’s Day being a fun holiday, followed by 30% who celebrate by socializing with friends and family. Cultural or heritage pride motivates 17%, while 9% celebrate by enjoying food and drinks. These findings highlight that most people celebrate for social reasons more than cultural heritage.

Traveling for St. Patrick’s Day

According to our survey, the vast majority of respondents (79%) either celebrate St. Patrick’s Day locally or do not observe the holiday, indicating that, for most, local celebrations are best, especially considering that the holiday has gained more of an emphasis on socializing. However, 16% would consider traveling for a special occasion, suggesting some openness to the idea under certain circumstances. Only 5% have traveled for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, which indicates it may be a minor driver of tourism compared to other events or holidays. Nonetheless, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in cities like Dublin, New York City, or Chicago can attract tourists with their events.

Unique Traditions Across America

Ninety-four percent of respondents said their town, family, or friend group does not have a unique St. Patrick’s Day tradition. However, the 6% who do have a tradition offered examples of how they celebrate each year. Some make corned beef and cabbage and wear green. Others go to Savannah, Georgia, which has one of the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parades. Chicago even dyes their river green every year. And one respondent’s mom makes a new Irish dish every year. Only a minority may have annual traditions, but they help communities and families come together to celebrate.  

A Shift from Cultural Heritage to Social Occasion 

Our survey reveals a shift in America’s St. Patrick’s Day traditions from strictly cultural celebrations to a more inclusive day of fun and socialization. Easy activities like wearing green attire, socializing with friends and family, and enjoying food and drinks highlight the holiday’s appeal as both a social occasion and a cultural celebration that brings communities together. 


The survey was conducted in February 2024, targeting 2,000 American residents with a median age of 32, of whom 30% identify as men, 67% as women, and 3% as other.