Skip Navigation

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in San Diego Style at the Sofia Hotel

It’s that time of year again when Americans of Irish ancestry and not come together to celebrate the Emerald Isle. As it happens, San Diego is one of the best places in the country to mark St. Patrick’s Day: In fact, the city lays claim to the biggest St. Paddy’s parade west of the Mississippi!

Join us at the Sofia Hotel for a San Diego St. Patrick’s Day, and enjoy the finest Downtown accommodations within easy reach of the green-swept parade and its associated festival, and the big-time holiday block party that goes down just a stone’s throw away in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Kicking Things Off With a Snapshot History of St. Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, was born not on that island but in Roman Great Britain (Britannia) in the late 4th century. At the age of 16, he was captured by Irish raiders and brought in bondage to Ireland, where for six years he worked as a shepherd. He managed to escape back to Britain—apparently following a message from God—where he devoted himself to studying for the priesthood. 

Around 432, Patrick returned to Ireland to proselytize. Legend says he not only drove snakes from the island (which, in point of fact, never supported any native serpents) and used the shamrock—the three-leaf clover—to illustrate the concept of the Holy Trinity, but also combined the Irish symbol of the sun to the Christian cross to create the Celtic cross.

Patrick died (it’s said) on March 17, 761, after which this date became an important religious feast day in Ireland. But St. Patrick’s Day as we know it owes much of its traditions to America: Irish immigrants used the occasion to celebrate their heritage, with Boston holding its first St. Patrick’s Day parade all the way back in 1737. 

The more secular and widespread St. Patrick’s Day holiday—with its showcases of Irish music, dancing, food (corned beef and cabbage, anyone?), and drink (how about a Guinness or some Irish whisky?)—stems mostly from those New World festivities.

San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival

The all-volunteer Irish Congress of Southern California will once again put on the San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival on Saturday, March 14. The Parade steps off at 10:30 AM on Fifth Avenue and Laurel Street, heads north on Fifth to Upas Street, hops over to Sixth Avenue, and follows Sixth south to Juniper. That route will see more than 120 entries, from equestrian units and high school marching bands to floats, vintage cars, and some silken-coated Irish setters.

The St. Patrick’s Day Irish Festival, meanwhile, goes down in Balboa Park from 9 AM to 6 PM. It’ll feature three stages of live entertainment, including Irish music from the likes of Highland Way, Shamrockers, and Séal Eile as well as Irish step dancing. There’ll be a Celtic Food Village and a beer garden on hand, plus craft vendors and a Kids Zone. 

And a very big heads-up: At 5 PM at the Festival’s Main Stage, there’ll be a raffle drawing for two prizes of plane tickets for two to Ireland.

San Diego shamROCK in the Gaslamp Quarter

If you’d like to extend your St. Patrick’s Day revelry into the evening, look no further than the great big green-hearted block party of San Diego shamROCK, which goes down in the historic Gaslamp Quarter within easy walking distance of the Sofia. Marking more than a quarter-century this year, shamROCK features multiple stages of live music, Irish dancing, and DJ sets, plus all kinds of food and drink specials for no cover charge at many participating Gaslamp venues. You’ll also get to compete for prizes and bragging rights in all sorts of free “ShamROCK Shenanigans” games.

San Diego shamROCK goes down on Saturday from 2 PM till midnight.

Go Green at the Sofia Hotel This Weekend

We hope you’ll join us here at the Sofia for St. Patrick’s Day 2020 in San Diego, where the holiday gets some world-class treatment!