News & History

2023’s top Thanksgiving Day parades: Everything you need to know

By CELINE JERLY

A line of costumed Civil War era drummers walking in a Thanksgiving Day Parade

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2023’s top Thanksgiving Day parades: Everything you need to know

Everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving Day parades are back in 2023 after a rough couple of years. If you’re in a festive mood and looking to catch up on the parade fun, Way.com gives you the details on this year’s most popular parades—how to get there, what you can expect to see, and how you can watch them from the comfort of your own home.

Parades have been an essential part of holiday festivities since time immemorial. Thousands of people across the country brave the weather and crowds to watch their favorite Thanksgiving Day parades each year. This year, you can expect all the massive floats, festive holiday balloons, and marching bands you’ve come to expect. 

We break down the details of this year’s most famous Thanksgiving parades with information on where they’ll take place, what routes they’ll follow, and, if you can’t be there in person, where you can watch them from your very own living room. The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade along Avenue of Americas with many balloons floating in the air. Manhattan, New York, USA - November 27, 2014.

NYC Russ / Shutterstock

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York City

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City is the most iconic and largest of them all. It has been used to mark the start of the holidays in America since 1924. The three-hour parade through Manhattan will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST.  

This year’s lineup will include an estimated 25 massive balloons of some of your favorite characters and pop culture icons, 30 floats, and a half-dozen “balloonicles” that will bring the enormity of one of the parade’s most famous aspects down to ground level. It will also feature performances from such popular artists as Jon Batiste, Pentatonix, and Brandy. As usual, the parade will feature multiple marching bands as well. 

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will kick off on Nov. 23, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. from W. 77th Street & Central Park West. It will then move toward Herald Square (Broadway & 34th) via Central Park West to Columbus Circle, then down Central Park South to 6th Avenue. For those planning to attend, make sure to park a decent distance away at a safe and convenient garage.

How to watch: It’s been estimated that more than 3.5 million people attend the parade annually. Another 50 million watch it at home on TV. This year, you can watch the parade on television on NBC or online through the NBC app. Many performers, High school Musical Marching Bands, and Dancers Participated and performed at the 2019 Chicago Thanksgiving Parade.

Aaron of L.A. Photography / Shutterstock

Thanksgiving Parade, Chicago

The first Chicago Thanksgiving Parade took place in 1934 and has been thrilling the Windy City crowds ever since. Over the years, it has evolved into an eagerly awaited Thanksgiving fixture for the entire family. The parade is overseen by its mascot, Teddy Turkey, who made his first appearance in the 2009 parade. It’s a Chicago Thanksgiving tradition to have Teddy appear across the city to meet people and spread holiday cheer. 

The Chicago Thanksgiving Parade 2023 will start at 8:00 a.m. on Nov 23, 2023. It will start at State Street and Ida B. Wells Drive in the city’s Loop and move north along State, through the city’s theatre and business district, ending at Randolph Street. If you want to spectate from the sidelines, be sure to book a convenient parking spot near vantage points.

But don’t worry if you can’t make it there in person. The parade will be streaming live on local CW26 and PlutoTV. The Chemical Bank and Transformers float come down Woodward Ave during the Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday November 22, 2018, in Detroit, MI.

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America’s Thanksgiving Parade, Detroit

America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit is the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country. It was first held in 1924 by the J.L. Hudson Company department store. In 2023, it is being presented by furniture retail chain Gardner White, and organized by The Parade Company. Thousands of viewers will line up along Woodward Avenue to watch energetic marching bands, colorful floats, and soaring gigantic balloons.

A bit of trivia: America’s Thanksgiving Parade was declared the Best Holiday Parade in America by USA Today (Reader’s Choice) in 2018.

America’s Thanksgiving Parade will begin at the corner of Kirby and Woodward at 8:45 a.m. CST. It will continue south on Woodward Avenue via the TV Zone at Grand River and Woodward. The parade will end at Woodward and Congress. Look for easy parking at a nearby garage if you want to take part in the fun.

How to watch: If you aren’t able to make it to the parade, you can watch the live broadcast on WDIV Local 4 beginning at  10 a.m. or catch the livestream at  www.clickondetroit.comPilgrims march alongside a turkey float in the annual Thanksgiving Day parade in the City of Brotherly Love.

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6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade, Philadelphia

With a rich history dating back to 1920, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the U.S. It was started by the now-defunct Gimbel Brothers Department Store for the people of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade prides itself on being the most band-friendly parade in the country. High school, university, and specialty marching bands participate in this event. The parade also hosts colorful floats, humongous balloons, and celebrity appearances. Among this year’s performers are R&B legends The Commodores, 70s pop hit-makers the Village People, and the casts of Broadway hits “Beauty and the Beast” and “Company.” The parade will have balloons representing characters from pop culture, including children’s books, comic books, animated movies, and TV series such as My Little Pony and the Smurfs.

This year, the parade will start at 8.30 a.m. with a 30-minute pre-show followed by a 3-hour parade. The route starts at the intersection of 20th Street and JFK Boulevard, moving eastbound to 16th Street, where it will hang a left and head north toward Ben Franklin Parkway before reaching Logan Circle. The parade then loops around the southern part of Logan Circle and travels on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway till it reaches Eakins Oval. From there, the parade proceeds along South Eakins Oval and will finish in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Book a Philadelphia parking spot near the start or the end depending on where you want to view it from.

How to watch: The parade will be broadcast by local affiliates and streamed live on 6abc.com, as well as Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV. The H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade in Houston on Nov. 23, 2017

Roberto Galan / Shutterstock

H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade, Houston

The HEB Thanksgiving parade was started in 1949. Since then, it has enthralled and entertained the Houston community every year on Turkey Day morning. It boasts a variety of floats, high-flying balloons, lively marching bands, dance performances, and other live entertainment – all in the lovely Texas Fall weather! The parade is produced by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. This year, attendees and viewers can expect to see a pair of basketball legends—former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich and Rockets Hall of Fame point guard, Calvin Murphy.

The parade will start at 9 a.m. at Lamar and Smith Streets, head north to Walker Street, then east to Milam Street. From there, it will move south to Pease Street and then north onto Louisiana Street before ending at Dallas Street, just one block from where it began. The parade map can be downloaded here. Join in on the fun from the sideline after ensuring you have a safe Houston parking spot for your car to chill.

For those watching from home, the parade will be televised live on KHOU 11 and KHOU 11+ at 9 a.m., with replays at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. local time.

This story was produced by Way.com and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media. 

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