Sure, St. Patrick's Day is a pretty good excuse to drink beer.
But why spend the entire holiday inside the four walls of a pub, when you could see a leprechaun, hunt for a pot of gold, stuff your face with corned beef and cabbage, and dance the night away to Irish music at these spirited events. (All happenings listed here take place on March 17th.)
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See all the cuteness at the St. Patrick's Day Dog Parade.
Grab your Irish Setter, Irish Terrier, or Irish Wolfhound and head to Patrick's Park for a free St. Patty's Day parade that'll make you howl as the city's fanciest canines strut their stuff for the holiday-themed costume contest. Dogs of all heritage are welcome—just register in advance to let them know you're coming. // 1-4pm; 43 Fort Mason 11 (Marina), eventbrite.com
See skydiving leprechauns.
Do you believe in leprechauns? You might once you see " The Flying Leprechaun" take his skydive, rain or shine, at the Hiller Aviation Museum. Event access is included with admission to the museum ($16/adults, $11/kids under 17, free for kids under 4). // 11am; Hiller Aviation Museum, 601 Skyway Rd (San Carlos), hiller.org
Make your own Irish whiskey glass.
Before you head to the pub with the rest of the emerald-clad celebrants, stop in for a 30-minute mini-workshop at San Francisco's Public Glass to create your own rocks glass using a blow mold by the furnace. Register in advance for time slots beginning at 9am. // $70 per two people, ages 14+; Public Glass, 1750 Armstrong Ave (Bayview), publicglass.org
Create Celtic knots.
Take a deep dive into Irish mythology and heritage with Castle in the Air's Celtic knot workshop on St. Patrick's Day. Calligrapher Bill Kemp will teach students to design and construct the intricate patterns, which date back to the 3rd and 4th centuries BCE, using pen and paint. Advanced registration required. // $135/person, 11am to 6pm; 1805 4th St (Berkeley), castleintheair.biz.
Build a leprechaun trap.
Join leprechaun hunters of all ages for a free treasure hunt for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow at Big Break Regional Shoreline. Starting at the visitor's center, park staff will lend you all the materials and expertise you'll need to build your own clever trap and then hit the trail, following clues left in the wetlands by the magical green-suited men. Capture one and he'll grant you three wishes. // 10:30am to 3:30pm; 5481 Big Break Regional Trail (Oakley), ebparks.org
Make a ceramic beer mug.
Beloved maker brand Annieglass is throwing a St. Patrick's Day party at their Craftbar, complete with acoustic music, a selection of beers from Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co., and, of course, crafts. With the help of the folks at Good Life Ceramics, you'll make your own ceramic beer stein and decorate it with a rainbow of textures, adornments, and glazes. The workshop (1:30 to 3pm) requires registration in advance, but you can drop in to enjoy the music and drinks anytime between 1 and 4pm. // Annieglass, 310 Harvest Dr (Watsonville); workshop tickets ($60) are available at annieglass.com.
Eat all the corned beef and cabbage.
Nothing says Ireland like a hearty dinner of corned beef and cabbage. Grab the family and head to the Sunset's United Irish Cultural Center to fill your belly at this annual supper ($18/adults, $12/kids), and then stick around for live Irish music and dancing. // 3:30pm; 2700 45th Ave (Outer Sunset), irishcentersf.org