Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Butte, Montana
St. Patrick’s Day in Southwest Montana is kind of a big deal. According to an article published in the Los Angeles Times, Butte, Montana is America’s most Irish city – at least per capita. Arguably, and yes we are a little biased, that makes Butte the perfect place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!
Now St. Patricks Day, for many, is one of those “in between” holidays … you don’t have work or school off, you likely don’t have family coming into town, but in Butte it is different. St. Paddy’s Day is one of the most popular and anticipated holidays for the entire community. If you are ready to take your St. Patrick’s Day celebration to the next level, it might be time to start planning a trip to Butte!
The Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Uptown Butte
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the kick-off to the day’s festivities. The parade starts at noon and follows a path from the corner of Granite Street and Arizona west to Montana Street and east down Park Street, continuing to the dispersal area at Park and Arizona. In addition to floats, firetrucks, and classic cars, the parade features Irish Dancing and Bagpipes! Make sure to arrive early to mark out the perfect viewing spot for the parade!
Places to Eat
As we sat along Granite Street, we struck up a conversation with a couple of locals who were happy to point us in the right direction for some food. We assumed we would be pointed in the direction of traditional Irish fare, maybe a little corned beef and cabbage with a hearty side of potatoes, but their recommendations weren’t quite what we had anticipated. Here’s a few suggestions, this list is by no means exhaustive:
- Terminal Meat Market
- Pekin Noodle Parlor
- Pork Chop Johns
- Christina’s Cocina
- The Uptown Cafe
There are quite a few bars in Uptown Butte, but we set our sites on a green beer and for that there was no better place than Quarry Brewing. Each year, Quarry offers an Emerald Isle Green Beer specifically for St. Patrick’s Day! If you want the quintessential St. Patrick’s Day photo, it better be with a green beer in hand.
As you continue to explore Uptown Butte throughout the day, here are a couple of the bars you may find yourself wandering through:
- M&M Bar and Cafe
- Maloney’s Bar
- Mac’s Tavern
- Metals Sports Bar and Grill
- The Dublin
- Slainte Butte American Pub
As we pursued the local offerings, a sign caught our eyes … it was in the window of a number of establishments and we finally took a minute to read it – turns out nearly every bar in Butte is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day!
A Shoutout to the Historic M&M Bar
A hot spot for locals and visitors alike is the historic M&M bar, while always a favorite, it is in the perfect location (on Main Street between Granite and Park streets) to act as your St. Patrick’s Day headquarters. The bar first opened its door in 1890 and has long been a favorite watering hole of St. Patrick’s Day patrons in Butte.
In a fire on May 7 of 2021 the world-famous M&M Bar burned to the ground. The historic bar had been in operation since 1890, opening under the ownership of Sam Martin and William F. Mosby – it was their initials that gave the bar its name.
The bar catered to the miners of the community and was open 24 hours a day for the shift workers who would come down from the hill at 6am. During prohibition the bar turned, like many of the era, to selling cigars … which of course was a front for the speakeasy in the back room where the alcohol continued to flow. Over the years, the bar has had a number of owners and served countless patrons, many of whom grew fond of the establishment and returned time and again as an honored tradition.
While it will be quite the undertaking, the owner plans to rebuild the M&M and that picturesque neon sign will once again adorn Main Street.
The Butte community is unlike any other and when they come together there is nothing that cannot be accomplished. With an outpouring of support from the community, owner Selina Pankovich bought the neighboring building (with plans to one day merge it with the original location of the M&M). That being said, the M&M was back for one day only on St. Patrick’s Day! This was no small feat to accomplish, and by doing so, the M&M continued it’s legacy of never missing a St. Patrick’s Day in Butte since opening in 1890.
In 2022, the street was littered by folks who had purchased “Long Live the M&M” merchandise to support the rebuilding of this historic bar. The official ribbon cutting for the re-opened M&M Bar will take place on Thursday, March 16, 2023! Check out their Facebook Page for more information.
While Butte is known for getting a little wild on St. Paddy’s day, there is plenty going on in the community! After taking in the parade and maybe grabbing a bite to eat in Uptown, check out the color run and carousel for some family friendly activity! Butte Cares hosts a color run, registration costs just $10, and the race begins 30 minutes after the parade ends. The event is held at the Maroon Activities Center. Make sure to register for the race ahead of time – the deadline to entire is 11:59pm on the 16th!
In addition, the Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel definitely gets in the spirit. For St. Patrick’s Day the carousel decorated for the holiday, sold green popcorn and of course played a variety of Irish music! The carousel is located at Stodden park which is the perfect place for a picnic and has ample space for kids to run and play! The Columbia Gardens were a center piece off the Butte community until they closed in 1973. The carousel opened in 2018 to “reclaim, restore, and preserve an important part of Butte’s history.”
Where to Find More Information:
While the locals love St. Patrick’s Day, the event draws tens of thousands to Butte each year. If you are from out of town or even out of state, you may be wondering where to find a list of all the local festivities. Each year, there is a group that updates this Facebook page with the upcoming activities, whether that is a special from a restaurant, parade information, or events throughout the community.
This is the page you will want to follow! The Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festivities in Butte, MT
Butte is known far and wide for the celebration, and even the Montana Department of Transportation gets in the spirit, changing their highway signs near Butte to read: Shamrocked? Find a sober ride home. But in all seriousness, please enjoy the holiday and your time in Butte and make sure to drink responsibly and have a sober ride.
We’ll see you in Butte for the annual St. Paddy’s Day Celebrations!