Sunday, March 13, 2016

Family Friendly St. Patrick's Day?

We love holidays. Our family represents three different religions and twelve different ethnic backgrounds, so we have a lot to celebrate. Today we celebrated four Irish family members' March birthdays with an annual party including an amazing corned beef and cabbage feast, and homemade Irish soda bread. Great Grandpa Mick, who has an Irish brogue so thick that Tim does not always understand him, was sporting his shamrock suspenders.

Photo of Homemade Irish Soda Bread from Today's Celebration
Homemade Irish Soda Bread - Yum!
However, in spite of Boston's sizable population of Irish descent and the city consistently receiving publicity for its top-notch St. Patrick's Day celebration, the cultural components of the holiday are somewhat overshadowed by ludicrous drinking at the St. Patrick's Day parade and Boston-area pubs. See our post about the harmful effects of binge drinking on children and St. Patrick's Day from 2014.

This year, we were hopeful with the Boston Public Schools closed on St. Patrick's Day, (in observation of Evacuation Day, when the British high-tailed it out of the city on March 17th, 1776) and the parade on Sunday, March 20th, that there might actually be great rated-G Irish events in Boston for the kids. Surprisingly, while this past weekend had a few opportunities (e.g., Irish step-dancing at the JFK library on Saturday) and there are some events in the suburbs, Boston is still lacking a large Irish cultural festival appropriate for children. However, here is a run-down of our suggestions for making the most of this holiday week in the city.

Monday, March 14th

6:30PM Irish Folk Concert featuring local Boston group, Erin Og at the Jamaica Plain branch of the Boston Public Library. If you miss them there, they do have numerous other St. Patrick's gigs South of the city over the following days. FREE

Tuesday, March 15th

11:00AM Barnes and Nobles at The Prudential Center in the Back Bay is hosting a St. Patrick's Day story time including Happy St. Patrick's Day Curious George and The Night Before St. Patrick's Day, followed by coloring with green crayons. FREE

Wednesday, March 16th

4:00PM St. Patrick's Day story time and craft at the South Boston branch of the Boston Public Library. While in South Boston, Boston's St. Patrick's Day capital, you can shop across the street where Bringing Up Baby is decked out with St. Patrick's Day merchandise for babies and younger children. Further down West Broadway check out Southie's Own for adult St. Patrick's Day gear and MiamMiam Macaronerie for St. Patrick's Day macarons. Story time and craft are FREE

Thursday, March 17th

11:00AM The Children's Museum never fails to celebrate a holiday. Children can learn about Irish folktales and participate in arts and crafts including creating shamrocks and bracelets with Celtic designs until 1:30PM. At the same time, the museum will also be celebrating Japan's Hina-Matsuri or Girls' Day holiday creating origami dolls in the Japanese House. Two holidays for the price of one. But warning, do expect this to be very crowded with so many children off of school for the day. On the upside, Flour Bakery, around the corner usually features cupcakes and/or cookies with green frosting for the holiday. Museum Admission

10:00AM but go anytime of day. Go a different kind of green at the Boston Flower and Garden Show. Admittedly this has nothing to do with St. Patrick's Day or Ireland other than greenery fitting well with the theme. Still, two years ago we went and Akka loved it. The show's gardens and plants were beautiful and she loved looking at them. In the Little Sprouts Center for kids, activities included making crepe paper flowers and decorating visors to wear outside gardening. It was very well planned and organized. The show starts on Wednesday and ends Sunday. $20 per adult, free for children under 6

8:00AM onwards. Want to make a traditional Irish meal with your kids? The Boston Public Market has corned beef, cabbage and anything else you may need and several promotions in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Cost of your purchases

9:00AM Like the Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium is likely to be packed because of the school holiday, but it is near The Boston Public Market if you wanted to combine activities. While the aquarium doesn't have a specific St. Patrick's Day event, they do have a cute idea for a "green scavenger hunt" in honor of the holiday. It is also close enough to Faneuil Hall to swing by Kilvert and Forbes for their St Patrick's Day cupcakes and the Irish Eyes pushcart for merchandise. Aquarium Admission

7:00PM The Community Music Center of Boston is having a family-friendly St. Patrick's Day concert. This show is a bit too late for our little ones during the school week but for anyone who is interested, the details are hereFREE

ALL DAY Another option is to head to Legoland or just shopping at Assembly Row in Somerville. Just by visiting you can enter in their St. Patrick's Day raffle. While there check out JPLicks for an Irish themed treat like the Mint Irish Chipwich or Irish Lace Frappe.

ALL DAY Many other local businesses will market kitschy but fun or yummy St. Patrick's Day specials such as green bagels at Bruegger's and Irish cream and Guinness flavored cupcakes at Sweet.

Friday, March 18th

10:00AM If you happen to live in one of South Boston's zip codes and you are a South Boston MOMS Club member or join before Friday, you can attend the club's St. Patrick's Day Party which includes a play date with snacks, activities and St. Patrick's Day goody bags. Join here. FREE FOR MEMBERS

SOLD OUT The Curious George Store in Cambridge is hosting a reading of Happy St. Patrick's Day Curious George and scavenger hunt but registration is required and it is already fully booked.

If you are determined to go to the parade with children this weekend, given the binge drinking of many attendees, please consider watching from one for the family friendly zones. Once information is available I will update it here and on social media. UPDATE: Seems there are no designated family friendly zones this year. However recommends some areas for family watching the parade if you are determined to go even with the crazy snow forecast!


  1. There is also a fun Irish Story Time at Chill on Park in Dorchester by the children's librarian at the Field's Corner branch! Ice cream and stories!

  2. Thanks Stefanie. I didn't know about this and after checking it out saw that in addition to the awesome that was Lucky Charms topping for St Paddy's Day ice cream - they also have Fomu (yay for milk allergic kid!) and other story hours. So glad you mentioned it.


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