It’s a city that knows how to have a good time—and that lays claim to some of the finest craft beer and most enthusiastic craft-beer fans in the nation. Given that, it’s no surprise San Diego’s a heck of a place to mark St. Patrick’s Day.
This past Saturday, Balboa Park hosted its annual Irish Festival—the kickoff to a whole slew of celebrations bringing some epic Emerald Isle spirit to America’s Greatest City. March 17, of course, sees the culmination of all this revelry. Treat yourself to the perfect St. Paddy’s Day home base with one of the finest Hotels in downtown San Diego, the Sofia, and go get your green on!
A Little Backstory
Turns out ol’ Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, wasn’t actually Irish: He was born (as Maewyn) in Roman-ruled Great Britain (aka Britannia) in the late 4th century C.E. He first arrived on the Emerald Isle as a kidnapped slave when he was a teenager. After six years of bondage, he escaped home, became a priest, and—following the instructions of a dream—returned to Ireland to spread Christianity among the Celtic population.
Stories abound concerning Patrick’s proselytizing in Ireland. He’s said to have used the shamrock (the three-leaved clover) to teach the Holy Trinity. And legend has it he rid the island of snakes—although, truth be told, the reptiles were never native to Ireland in the first place.
Saint Patrick died on March 17, 461 and was buried in Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. By the 17th century, Christians celebrated his death date as a feast day. The modern holiday as we know it—parades, beer, etc.—owes much to Irish-American celebrations in the U.S. that began in the 18th century.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in San Diego
A room at the Sofia—among the best and most history-rich Hotels in downtown San Diego—puts you within easy reach of some of the major St. Patrick’s Day action going down in the city. The biggest fete of all gets underway beginning at 6 PM on the 17th: San Diego shamROCK. This massive St. Paddy’s block party utilizes more than 50,000 square feet of clover-green astroturf to turn the Gaslamp Quarter the proper hue for the occasion.
At shamROCK, you’ll join thousands of other revelers grooving to Celtic rock, Irish punk, hip-hop, and DJ beats on three different stages. You’ll also get to toast some expertly performed Irish stepdance with a pint of green beer or an amber glass of whiskey.
Speaking of the Gaslamp, you can also take part in the St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl, which kicks off at Tin Roof and includes more than 10 different Gaslamp bars, lounges, and clubs in all.
Then there’s the Go Green! Beer Train Trolley Tour, getting you firmly in the holiday spirit with VIP tastings (and lunch) at four local craft breweries. Or hit the waters of San Diego Bay on the Saint Paddy’s Day on the Bay outing with San Diego Sailing Tours, or perhaps the Hops on the Harbor dinner cruise brought to you by Flagship Cruises and Duck Food Brewing Company.
Go Green at the Sofia
We’ve only scratched the surface in terms of the St. Paddy’s fun on tap in San Diego this week and weekend—and hey, nobody’s saying you can’t happily confine your celebrations to the Sofia Hotel and the Currant American Brasserie! We can’t wait to see your greenest green on display March 17…