The Emerald Square

Irish eyes will be smiling around the Square this St. Paddy's Day when all of Pittsburgh goes green on March 12 to celebrate the Emerald Isle's favorite son. Especially since this year's parade — the biggest march between New York City and Chicago — will kick off what event organizers are calling a "New School St. Patrick's Day" with a special "Family Friendly" zone in the Square from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Now we think the Square is family friendly just about anytime of the day. But just to make sure that parents and their wee ones can search for lucky shamrock cookies and ribbeting frog cakes at Prantl's and yummy green icing donuts at Dunkin Donuts, the center of the Square will be an alcohol-free zone from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. Along with tasty treats, many parade performers will bring their acts to the Square to entertain all the little sons and daughters of Erin.

Parade organizers  partnered with city officials and the many merchants in the Square to add a little more structure — and a lot more fun — to this year's parade and post-parade activities. So while the youngsters enjoy themselves in the Square in the morning and early afternoon, the grownups can join the party from 2-6 p.m. when the fun gets a little more "spirited" as local country rockers the Stickers take to the stage. We can't promise that they'll sing "Danny Boy" with a twang, but these slick guitar pickers will have the crowd doing their own version of a river dance. Sponsored by Coors Light, the Pickers show will be just one of the attractions in the Square.

Of course, a big part of any event in the Square is just being there — and enjoying the sights and sounds. But we want to make sure you enjoy some of the many tastes of the Square. If dancing a jig or two works up an appetite and a thirst, there are plenty of choices in the Square to satisfy both.

Already a big favorite, Square newcomer Winghart's Burger & Whiskey Bar recently was voted one of the top three hamburger joints in the Burgh by discerning diners in a WPXI poll. Traditionalists might favor a sky-high sandwich from Primanti's or the catch of the day at the Oyster House. For a bit of south of the border flavor, Moe's Southwest and Chipotle serve up some of the best Mexican flavored dishes around. And for a to-die-for pie, La Gondola will serve you up a little slice of heaven. When it comes to food for the soul, A&J Ribs is always finger lickin' good. For some Old World goodness and New World brews, check out the Italian eats and microbrews at Bella Sera. For some super subs and salads, drop in at DiBella's Old Fashioned Subs, one of the newest eatery's on the block. By the way, don't forget the bounty of bagel eats at Bruegger's. And if you need a bit of a pick me up, order a cup of caffeinated joe or frothy latte from Nicholas Brothers, which will serving until 2 p.m.

So mark your calendar for March 12, when everyone is Irish for a day and kicking it new school for St. Patrick's Day in the Square.


  1. I was SOOOO looking forward to finally be able to get back to " The Square" for the celebration as in years gone by. It closed last year for construction & couldn't wait to come back. Well with the "Family Friendly" celebration I WON'T be coming back down. As I'm sure numerous other people won't either. It was the only time of the year it was exceptable to not worry about the Open container law & Enjoy all the fellow Pittsburghers & Irish friends..I guess I'll take all my Money & stay out in Westmoreland county & support the local clubs & not have to pay the alcohol tax. That I GLADLY would have paid in Market Square...

  2. Dear Anonymous and other readers,
    There will be open containers in Market Square from 2 - 6pm. It is during the parade from 10am - 2pm that open containers are not allowed but you can enjoy the day inside one of the many Downtown venues until 2pm.

  3. I'm new to the area and will be bringing my 3 yr old to enjoy the festivities...we have money to spend too, thanks for having the family friendly zone!!

  4. Why would I go to the parade, leave to go to station square or the new events happening at the northshore THEN travel all the way back to market square. DUMB! They are loosing a crapload of money this year!