Work Up an Appetite
Themed fun runs are prevalent all over the West on St. Paddy’s Day weekend, but the Shamrock Run Portland (March 15) dwarfs them all by drawing upwards of 25,000 participants, many of them in green costume, to make it the third largest run/walk event in the West.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
See the lucky little green guy parachute in at the Flying Leprechaun Skydive (March 15, 10 a.m.–noon) at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California. Irish snacks and live Celtic music by Leaping LuLu are part of the St. Paddy's Train (March 13), a two-hour, family-friendly ride on a real-deal steam locomotive operated by Heber Valley Railroad outside Salt Lake City. Don’t miss the Saturday car show from noon to 5 p.m., part of three days of St. Patrick’s Day festivities (March 15–17) in Henderson, Nevada, outside of Las Vegas.
Make a Quilt
The Irish have a long tradition of quilting and the day before St. Patrick’s Day happens to be National Quilting Day (March 16). Bulk up on green fabric at your local quilting shop or better yet, check out the 19th annual Sacramento Quilt, Craft, and Sewing Festival at CalExpo, March 19–21.
Ireland battles France at 1 p.m. PST on Saturday, March 14 in the final leg of the annual 6 Nations Championship rugby tournament. For optimal viewing pleasure, watch at your local pub with a pint of Guinness (coincidentally, the tournament’s chief sponsor).
Take a Hike
Ireland is renowned for its green, grassy landscape. The Bay Area isn’t lacking in that department, especially in the early spring after the rainy season. June Huber of Bay Area Hiker recommends a walk along Chimney Rock coastline at Point Reyes north of San Francisco, which promises spectacular coastal views and and verdant hillsides blooming with wildflowers in the spring. "It may be the closest to the Irish coast you can get in the Bay Area," says Huber. She also recommends Briones Regional Park in Contra Costa County or Windy Hill Open Space Preserve in San Mateo County.