2022’s Most Irish Cities in America

Image showing a group of friends wearing St. Patrick's day-themed attire to celebrate the holiday

Finding corned beef and green beer throughout the year can be like searching for a four-leaf clover. Not now. For those of Irish ancestry — and everyone else — a green March Madness is already in full swing.

Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but which cities have the greenest Irish roots?

LawnStarter ranked the 200 biggest U.S. cities to find the ones where the most Irish eyes are smiling. 

We looked beyond green bloodlines — we searched for cities where the locals know how to celebrate the Celtic spirit, too. Our metrics include:

  • The percentage of the Irish population
  • The number of Irish restaurants and pubs
  • The number of St. Patrick’s Day and other Irish cultural events
  • The number of Irish cultural groups and organizations

Find out how much luck your city carries in our ranking below, followed by some highlights and lowlights. You’ll also find a few notes on why the Irish immigrated to the U.S. and why everyone wears green on St. Pat’s Day.

Table of Contents

  1. City Rankings
  2. Highlights and Lowlights
  3. Ask the Experts
  4. Methodology
  5. Everyone Wears Green on St. Patrick’s Day

City Rankings

Which cities are wearing the green?

OVERALL RANKCityOverall ScorePopulation RankCommunity RankCuisine RankEvents Rank
1Boston, MA54.667633
2Chicago, IL54.0192521
3New York, NY52.22153112
4Pittsburgh, PA48.553143315
5Naperville, IL46.981538563
6Philadelphia, PA44.7240348
7Denver, CO44.05512166
8Spokane, WA42.3521195992
9Syracuse, NY41.6652933103
10Worcester, MA40.8041195983
11Buffalo, NY40.202592121
12Fort Collins, CO39.61111685103
13Omaha, NE39.3081075941
14Overland Park, KS38.74611985103
15Colorado Springs, CO37.7129164624
16Seattle, WA37.4523351124
17Eugene, OR37.24115313392
18Scottsdale, AZ37.15101195968
19Olathe, KS36.678119133142
20Madison, WI36.05131195959
21Lakewood, CO35.981816133166
22San Francisco, CA35.73874512
23Arlington, VA35.0617532177
24Lexington, KY34.90151074659
25Virginia Beach, VA34.8029454636
26Joliet, IL34.72145385125
27Portland, OR34.3928532845
28Louisville, KY33.98211192851
29Cape Coral, FL33.9021538592
30Kansas City, MO33.8538454631
31Boise, ID33.83151198577
32Des Moines, IA33.671811913359
33Port St. Lucie, FL33.56185385166
34Columbus, OH33.0844333332
35St. Petersburg, FL33.0533533348
36Reno, NV32.9131535954
37Alexandria, VA32.60402446103
38Lincoln, NE32.41241198577
39Sioux Falls, SD32.37251075992
40Cary, NC31.82353785103
41St. Louis, MO31.725945627
42Minneapolis, MN31.3244531154
43Springfield, MO31.31355346103
44Cincinnati, OH31.30471075929
45Peoria, AZ31.1425119133166
46Yonkers, NY31.11502611103
47Tacoma, WA31.00311198577
48Huntington Beach, CA30.92331195968
49Knoxville, TN30.50431194645
50Fort Lauderdale, FL30.246984651
51Toledo, OH30.12351198592
52Henderson, NV29.94495313363
53St. Paul, MN29.6253533354
54Metairie, LA29.4738119133125
55Indianapolis, IN29.2766373321
56Vancouver, WA28.934011985166
57Akron, OH28.89471198568
58Salem, OR28.86534585103
59Wichita, KS28.71561198536
60San Diego, CA28.7010314217
61Raleigh, NC28.6692133319
62Santa Rosa, CA28.554411985103
63Thornton, CO28.336116133166
64Tulsa, OK28.1860454668
65Cleveland, OH27.9669331141
66Anchorage, AK27.78511195983
67Nashville, TN27.7082374613
68Tampa, FL27.687953719
69Rochester, NY27.4382262136
70Washington, DC27.2811310913
71Fort Wayne, IN27.22561195983
72Murfreesboro, TN26.9253119133125
73Gilbert, AZ26.7956119133103
74Austin, TX26.5294213336
75Dayton, OH26.27621198548
76Rockford, IL26.16625359103
77Huntsville, AL26.14621078563
78Las Vegas, NV25.688753832
79Phoenix, AZ25.66101282129
80Tucson, AZ25.53731078536
81Norfolk, VA25.2985538532
82Grand Rapids, MI25.21651198568
83Chesapeake, VA25.206853133103
84Oklahoma City, OK25.1175535959
85Jacksonville, FL25.0485535941
86Tempe, AZ24.2566119133103
87Aurora, CO24.04991685103
88Tallahassee, FL23.97755385125
89McKinney, TX23.7782535992
90Chattanooga, TN23.66751198563
91Frisco, TX23.637953133125
92Springfield, MA23.567310759125
93Charlotte, NC23.401031071824
94Chandler, AZ23.206911959142
95Clarksville, TN23.146911985142
96Richmond, VA22.94120213348
97Savannah, GA22.761131194610
98Oceanside, CA22.737511985125
99Aurora, IL22.6397538563
100Amarillo, TX22.628753133142
101Santa Clarita, CA22.5579119133103
102Houston, TX22.461667188
103Newport News, VA22.089453133103
104Orlando, FL21.87137241015
105Providence, RI21.84911195983
106New Orleans, LA21.50136102841
107Glendale, AZ21.448711985142
108Milwaukee, WI21.33131352115
109Dallas, TX21.1016121184
110Plano, TX20.821095313392
111Mesa, AZ20.78971198592
112Kansas City, KS20.5494119133142
113Salt Lake City, UT20.52113535983
114Albuquerque, NM20.4910310728103
115Atlanta, GA20.38131511127
116Los Angeles, CA20.3316710165
117Mobile, AL20.041031194692
118Modesto, CA20.039911985142
119Little Rock, AR19.911111075992
120Elk Grove, CA19.6911837133166
120Baltimore, MD19.691341062821
122Enterprise, NV19.6411353133166
123Torrance, CA19.56103119133125
123Sacramento, CA19.56121373383
125Rancho Cucamonga, CA19.53101119133166
126Bellevue, WA19.4610311985142
127Fayetteville, NC19.43109119133103
128Spring Valley, NV19.3511753133166
129Lubbock, TX19.1011953133125
130Winston-Salem, NC19.0511111985125
131Fort Worth, TX18.85125535968
132Paradise, NV17.9412153133166
133Midland, TX17.8112553133142
134San Antonio, TX17.76155453310
135Columbus, GA17.0712111985125
136Orange, CA17.01121119133125
137Durham, NC16.901281195977
138Arlington, TX16.731315385142
139Fullerton, CA16.5012711985125
140Greensboro, NC16.151341198568
141Pasadena, CA15.88129119133125
142Long Beach, CA15.851441192132
143Irvine, CA15.7113911913354
144Garland, TX15.6713753133166
145Escondido, CA15.6312911985166
146Oakland, CA15.371433785142
147Killeen, TX15.2614153133142
148Baton Rouge, LA15.1414211913354
149San Jose, CA14.74161375945
150Jersey City, NJ14.681532946142
151North Las Vegas, NV14.311445385166
152Corona, CA14.15139119133166
153Hollywood, FL13.901465385142
154Corpus Christi, TX13.8714853133103
155Fresno, CA13.2614811913368
156Sunnyvale, CA13.001603759166
157Bakersfield, CA12.9514811913383
158Riverside, CA12.92146119133103
159Mesquite, TX12.8415553133166
159Sunrise Manor, NV12.8415553133166
161Memphis, TN12.641591193368
162Shreveport, LA12.17148119133166
162Macon, GA12.17148119133166
164Fremont, CA11.76155119133142
165Lancaster, CA10.76161119133166
166Augusta, GA10.6816411913383
167Pasadena, TX10.4516953133142
168Pembroke Pines, FL10.381725385125
169Irving, TX10.351775313392
170Anaheim, CA9.9616411985166
170Honolulu, HI9.9617210733103
172Birmingham, AL9.761721198577
173Grand Prairie, TX9.7317753133166
174Stockton, CA9.34167119133166
175Glendale, CA9.27172107133166
175Montgomery, AL9.2716911985142
177Hayward, CA9.21169119133142
178Bridgeport, CT8.8617711985125
179Garden Grove, CA8.78172119133166
180Detroit, MI8.72192515915
181Palmdale, CA8.49177119133166
182Chula Vista, CA7.93181119133166
183El Paso, TX7.3318653133142
184San Bernardino, CA7.23182119133142
185Ontario, CA6.95183119133142
186Fontana, CA6.79183119133166
187Jackson, MS6.5918511985125
188Miami, FL5.771955313351
189McAllen, TX5.691905385142
190Oxnard, CA5.53187119133142
191Salinas, CA5.10188119133166
192Moreno Valley, CA4.81189119133166
193Pomona, CA4.7419111913383
194Miramar, FL4.3519353133166
195Paterson, NJ4.3219629133142
196Newark, NJ4.281962959166
197Santa Ana, CA3.58193119133103
198Brownsville, TX2.421985385166
199Laredo, TX2.0819953133166
200Hialeah, FL1.2320053133166
Infographic showing the most Irish U.S. cities, a ranking based on the share of the Irish-American population and Irish businesses, organizations, and events
Note: We ranked 200 cities in the metrics shown above. However, the lowest ranking position for some metrics may not be 200 due to a significant tie among cities.

Highlights and Lowlights

Buckled in Boston

It’s not surprising that Boston continues to rank as the No. 1 Irish city in America. The Irish masses started arriving in Massachusetts after a blight hit the Emerald Isle’s potato crop in 1845. They came here searching for food and land — and fellow Irishmen.

Census data shows nearly 4,000 Irish-born immigrants (23% of the city’s population) lived in East Boston in 1855. Today, Irish-Americans still make up over 20% — or nearly 1 million — of the metro area’s population.

(Green) Bean Town and the surrounding suburbs remain the metro area with the most concentrated Irish population with huge Celtic celebrations, including the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. You’ll also find plenty of restaurants and pubs where the Guinness is flowing and big screens featuring the latest Irish soccer game.

The Windy City Wearing the Green

Chicago riverdances to the No. 2 spot in our ranking for holding the most Irish community events, 143 total. That’s nearly three times as many as in New York, the city with the second-highest number.

Of course, Chicago’s events calendar wouldn’t be complete without Irish step dancing classes. The McNulty School of Irish Dance traces its humble beginnings to the Windy City, more specifically its suburb Naperville, which has the highest share of Irish residents. The school has since spawned a number of similar schools in Chicago and across the country.

Chicago also gets points for its green spirit. Few other cities dye their rivers green for St. Paddy’s Day.

It’s Paddy and Parade Time

The Big (Green) Apple ranks No. 3 in our study — no surprise since New York holds the country’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Expect to see a six-hour-long line of Irish dancers, bagpipers, and jugglers marching down the streets with more than 2 million spectators on the sidelines.

Other big cities parading their Irish heritage include Philadelphia at No. 6 and Denver at No. 7. Philly’s parade is the second-oldest in the country. If you plan on watching the Mile High City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, bring a green blanket and a lawn chair: This parade lasts five hours.

Ask The Experts

We all could think a little more “green” by understanding one of the biggest ethnic groups in America and its traditions. To help our readers with their “Irishification,” LawnStarter reached out to researchers who study Irish culture. See what they had to say below.

  1. What are the three best ways to learn about Irish culture?
  2. What’s the best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year?
  3. What effects of Irish immigration linger in contemporary American culture?
Karen Sonnelitter
Assistant Professor of History
Mary C. Kelly
Historian and Director of the Global Irish Studies Certificate Program
Karen Sonnelitter
Assistant Professor of History
Siena College

What are the three best ways to learn about Irish culture?

1. Depending on your city, there may be an Irish cultural center or a branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Cultural centers are great ways to learn about Irish music, arts, dancing, and sports. Many of them also offer Irish language classes.

There might even be an annual Irish festival in your community.

2. Even if your city doesn’t have an Irish cultural center, it probably has an Irish pub. Irish pubs started appearing in the U.S. in the 19th century during a huge wave of Irish immigration. Lots of pubs put on traditional Irish music sessions, so that’s a great way to experience Irish culture.

3. You can also learn about Irish culture without leaving your home. You can start learning the Irish language (Gaelic) using apps like Duolingo, and there are plenty of online communities where people connect to learn the Irish language.

Increasingly, many Irish cultural events are also available online. The Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany, New York, now livestreams most of its events via its Facebook page.

What’s the best way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day this year?

Many cities are reinstating their annual St. Patrick’s Day parades this year, so attending one of those is always a good way to celebrate. Heading to an Irish pub for a pint of Guinness is always a great way to celebrate.

The traditional Irish-American celebration is to make corned beef and cabbage. This isn’t a common celebration in Ireland. Instead, this meal became popular with 19th-century Irish immigrants. But for many Irish American families, a St. Patrick’s Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage, along with Irish soda bread, is a cherished tradition.

So, you can always choose to stay in with a good meal and try your hand at baking your own soda bread. Soda bread is quick bread that was being made in Ireland as far back as 1836.

What effects of Irish immigration linger in contemporary American culture?

The Irish have been coming to the United States since before we were the United States. But the 19th century saw a huge wave of immigration beginning with the Great Famine in Ireland.

It was this wave of emigration that transformed many American cities, and chances are most of the cities on this list began to be seen as Irish cities during that era. This wave of Irish immigrants helped to build massive infrastructure projects such as the Erie Canal or the transcontinental railway.

There are tons of lingering effects from the ubiquity of Irish surnames to the presence of Irish pubs everywhere. Thirty-one and a half million Americans claim some Irish descent.

One of the biggest ways the effects of this immigration lingers is through our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Back in the 19th century, Irish immigrants faced considerable discrimination, but these days everyone is a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

Mary C. Kelly
Historian and Director of the Global Irish Studies Certificate Program
Franklin Pierce University

What are the three best ways to learn about Irish culture?

1. Visit Ireland. May to September is an ideal timeframe to plan a visit, with May to June and September offering good possibilities of fine weather, shorter queues at popular historical sites and attractions, cheaper fares and accommodations, and greater choice in flight options and hotels, B&Bs, and Airbnb availability.

Travel around the coast, across the midlands, around Ulster — the country is travel-friendly in terms of public transportation or car hire, and you will learn so much about Irish culture.

2. Read Irish history, fiction, and poetry. The breadth of focus stretches from studies of monastic centers of learning in the Middle Ages to post Celtic-Tiger Ireland today, and the wealth of historical and literary offerings will engage you deeply with the national culture.

Irish literature is world-renowned, from canonical writers and poets such as Swift, Joyce, Yeats, Wilde, Shaw, and Heaney to newer stars like Sally Rooney and Donal Ryan — reading Irish authors will educate you on Ireland in deep and satisfying ways.

3. Identify a cultural theme to explore and pursue it by means of online, film, and published sources. Such themes might include Irish folklore, traditional crafts, pilgrimage sites, or sports played in Ireland. Your selected focus will draw you in to an Irish cultural cornerstone and assuredly educate you on what it means to be Irish.

What’s the best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year?

Watch one of the recent historical or cultural documentaries on a selected aspect of Ireland (for example, “The Hunger, The Story of the Irish Famine of the 1840s” or “The Burren: Heart of Stone”). And offer a greeting for the big day in Irish: La Fhéile Phadraig shona dhuitse!

What effects of Irish immigration linger in contemporary American culture?

The legacy of Irish arrival and settlement in America is a rich incorporation of a broad spectrum of influences and effects.

From historic neighborhoods where Irish Famine refugees settled, such as the Five Points and Bowery in New York or the old North End in Boston, to the ethnic foundations they established in spheres of politics, education, and business, the Irish imprint is deep and enduring.

The range of Irish Studies academic programs, Irish-themed dramatic-arts outlets, Irish clothing and crafts, and general interest in all things Irish across the United States continues to expand, and the reach is extraordinary.

And celebration of immigrant Irish achievement in these forms has become as much a part of the deeper meaning of St. Patrick’s Day as the more visible forms of engagement we witness on the day.

Methodology

We ranked 200 of the biggest U.S. cities from the most Irish (No. 1) to the least (No. 200) based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across all the weighted metrics listed below. 

“Local” and “State Irish organizations” include, among others, Irish cultural and heritage centers and clubs; museums; dance schools; libraries; immigration, legal, and welfare support centers; and networking associations.

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Population
Share of Irish Population60.20%15.90%Max. Value
Community
Number of Irish Cultural Meetup Groups208Max. Value
Number of Local Irish Organizations1015Max. Value
Number of State Irish Organizations0.503Max. Value
Cuisine
Number of Irish Restaurants and Bars10132Max. Value
Events
Number of St. Patrick's Day and Other Irish Cultural Events30143Max. Value

Sources: Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers, Global Irish, Google Events, The Ireland Funds, Irish-American Heritage Museum, Irish Network USA, Mark Holan’s Irish-American Blog, Meetup, Transceltic, TripAdvisor, and U.S. Census Bureau

Everyone Wears Green on St. Patrick’s Day

If you’re lucky enough to be Irish — you’re lucky enough! And one in every 10 Americans is lucky enough to claim Irish ancestry. The U.S. Census Bureau puts the latest number of Irish-Americans at 31.5 million. That’s more than six times the current population of the Emerald Isle. Why should we care? Two reasons: land and property.

Originally, many of the Irish came to the U.S. searching for land. The Census Bureau’s 2021 community survey shows that nearly 69% of Irish-Americans are homeowners, the highest for any ethnic group. Many Irish-Americans say they’re looking to duplicate the green space they enjoyed in the old country.

Pittsburgh and Chicago suburb Naperville rank No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, due to the fact that property was plentiful when the Irish started arriving in the U.S. It’s the same reason many Irish headed to Spokane, Syracuse, and Buffalo, looking for greener pastures. Speaking of greener pastures, if you want grass that makes your neighbors green with envy, hire a LawnStarter pro.

Whether you’re looking for green or that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, we’ll forgive you this St. Paddy’s Day for wearing the green if you’re not Irish. 

After all, St. Patrick wasn’t Irish, either. He was an Englishman who migrated to Ireland to convert the country to Christianity. And don’t get us started on whether he chased the snakes from the Emerald Isle.

Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Brenda Stuart Ryan

Brenda Stuart Ryan

Brenda Stuart-Ryan is a journalist and the proud mother of two girls who spent years competing in Irish step-dancing competitions. She spent years driving them back and forth to lessons and competitions.