How to watch the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston

This year's big event takes place Sunday, March 19.

South Boston, MA - 3/17/2013 - The crowd watched the parade on East Broadway. The Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade makes its way through South Boston, MA on Sunday, March 17, 2013. The parade was followed by the Veterans for Peace parade. (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff) Slug: 18parade Reporter: n/a LOID: 5.1.1279310985
A crowd watched the St. Patrick's Day Parade on East Broadway in 2013. –Yoon S. Byun / The Boston Globe

Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is massive, historical, and no stranger to controversy. Here’s what you need to know if you plan to go.

What time does the St. Patrick’s Day Parade kick off?

The parade begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 19.

How long is the parade?

The parade lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes.

How many people are marching this year?

There are 128 groups marching in this year’s parade, according to Tim Duross, the parade’s organizer for the past three years. The parade will include 60 floats and 33 bands. The Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums and other local bands will perform, as well as musicians from Florida, Colorado, Texas, and Canada. Firefighters from Massachusetts to New Zealand will also take to the streets, as well as members of the military, veterans, and roaming characters (think Star Wars and Disney).

How do I get there if I’m driving?

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Duross said driving to the parade will be difficult on Sunday, because the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Road Race, benefiting the South Boston Boys & Girls Club, takes place on the parade route two hours before the parade. This means many streets are closed early, he said.

But if you still want to tackle the roads, drivers using a GPS should type in either “350 West Broadway, South Boston,” for the main route along Broadway, or “95 G Street, South Boston,” to be closer to the Dorchester Heights National Historic Site. The City of Boston posts traffic and parking advisories during the days leading up to the event, so it’s a good idea to follow @bostonpolice on Twitter. The Twitter account for the parade is @ParadeBoston.

How do I get there if I’m taking the T?

This is the best way to travel to the parade, Duross said. According to the MBTA, if you’re traveling to the parade, you should board any Red Line train to South Station, Broadway Station, or Andrew Station. Shuttle bus service will be provided for T riders from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The shuttle bus will operate to and from South Station, Summer Street, and East 1st Street in South Boston. Follow the MTBA on Twitter @MBTA for updates.

Where exactly does the route run?

The 3-mile-long parade has been shortened, due to the snow. The parade still begins outside the Broadway MBTA Station at 1 p.m. and follows West and East Broadway, but it will now finish at Farragut Road instead of at Old Colony Avenue. Here is a map of the parade route.

What are the parade rules?

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The Parade Code of Conduct includes no protesting, nudity, or foul language.

Got it. Now show me what it looked like in 2016:

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October 19, 2017 | 7:09 AM