Organizers are expecting 1 million people at this year’s 118th St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston, a beloved city tradition for more than a century.
“It’s about St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s also about service,” said Bryan Bishop, director of parade operations. “It’s also about our veterans, our military, and the people who serve our nation to keep us safe.”
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 17.
How long is the parade?
The 3.6-mile parade will last about 4 hours and 30 minutes, according to Bishop.
Who’s participating this year?
Musicians from around the world will take part in the parade, Bishop said. There will be 122 groups taking part, including 24 floats and 27 bands, he said. The Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums and other local bands will perform, as well as musicians from Ireland, Spain, Germany, and elsewhere.
New England firefighters, as well as firefighters from as far away as Ireland and California, will be a part of this year’s festivities. Others marching will include members of the military, veterans, the New England Revolution, the Connacht rugby team from Ireland, and roaming characters such as Spider Man and Ghostbusters. Sailors from the U.S. navy destroyer USS Jason Dunham, which arrived in Boston on Thursday, will also take to the streets.
You can follow the parade on Twitter at @ParadeBoston.
How do I get there if I’m driving?
Public transportation is the best bet, said Bishop. The 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Road Race, which benefits the South Boston Boys & Girls Club, begins at 11 a.m. and will result in several street closures in the area. If you still want to drive, you can use your GPS to direct you to streets along the parade route such as West Broadway or G Street. The City of Boston posts traffic and parking advisories during the days leading up to the event. It’s also a good idea to follow @bostonpolice on Twitter.
How do I get there if I’m taking the T?
The MBTA is selling pre-loaded CharlieCards ahead of the parade and has posted a St. Patrick’s Day guide to help customers map out their transportation for Sunday. The MBTA warns that the Red Line, which offers stops along the parade route at Broadway and Andrew stations, will be very crowded the day of the parade. Red Line trains will run every five minutes between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday, but may bypass Broadway Station when crowds are heavy, according to the MBTA.
A free shuttle service will be available between 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. between South Station and East 1st Street in South Boston.
Where exactly does the route run?
The parade will begin outside of the Broadway MBTA station at 1 p.m. and then go down West Broadway to Perkins Square, and along East Broadway to P Street. From there, it will follow East Fourth Street to K Street, then East Fifth Street to G Street. Then it will go past Excel High School to Thomas Park to Telegraph Street. Then it will head to Dorchester Street and continue through the intersection at Old Colony Avenue to Andrew Square and finish on Dorchester Avenue. You can view a parade map here.
What are the parade rules?
The Parade Code of Conduct includes no protesting, nudity, or foul language.