The streets had a greener tinge and by lunchtime the Irish bars were humming - part of a global celebration of Ireland's national day.
At The Green Man in Wellington, Marion Thompson was enjoying a stout, having just arrived by train from Waikanae with her partner.
They were in for the long haul, staying in town for the night, to ensure they could enjoy as much of the St Patrick's Day fun as possible.
Everyone involved was happy and it was a good day to get out, Thompson said.
For Ciaran O'Kelly, owner of The Green Man, St Patrick's was the busiest day of the year.
"The Irish like to celebrate," he said
He was expecting a big demand for Irish stew, and said it was a day when people might drink some of the "black stuff" - stout - rather than their usual tipples.
At Irish bar D4 Alister Holden and his friends were dressed in green and having their usual St Patrick's Day get-together.
"It's a day not to be missed," Holden said.
He is not Irish, and bar manager Conor Moylan said that put him in the minority.
Wellington had a large and growing Irish community, and as many as three-quarters of those in the bar would be from Ireland, Moylan said.
"Everyone goes out and has a good time enjoying themselves." There were never any hassles on St Patrick's Day.
Among those from Ireland who now live in Wellington were Sean and Marian Lake.
"It's just a celebration of being Irish," Sean said.
After lunch at D4 they were heading to the Irish club in Lower Hutt, where celebrations had a family atmosphere.