Many cities in the US begin the Thanksgiving season with colourful Thanksgiving parades. Bands, singers, floats, giant balloons and other entertainers march, walk and soar above wide streets and boulevards. New York City hosts the best-known and biggest parade, but visitors can find a celebration whether they are visiting the Pacific Northwest, the Southeast, the Northeast or somewhere in between. Below are several of the Thanksgiving festivities across the US.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (NYC)
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City has helped mark the start of the holiday season in the United States since 1924. Each year on Thanksgiving Day more than 3.5 million people in the city – and over 50 million people at home – watch floats, balloons up to five stories tall, broadway theatre performers, musical acts and others parade down Central Park West and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. It is considered the most famous Thanksgiving parade in the US. The route ends on 34th Street in front of the Macy’s in Herald Square.
Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Since 1920, Philadelphia has welcomed the holiday season with floats, marching bands, choirs and other performers. This is the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country. It begins at 8:30 am at 20th Street and JFK Boulevard, and concludes around 12:00 pm in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
America’s Thanksgiving Parade (Detroit, Michigan)
America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit started the same year as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. It may not be as famous, but it has similar traditions. Starting at 10:00 am, floats, marching bands and large balloons travel down historic Woodward Avenue, beginning at the Kirby Street intersection and concluding at Congress Street around 12:00 pm.
H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade (Houston, Texas)
The 66th annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade in Houston begins at 9:00 am at Smith and Lamar Streets, with live entertainment, giant balloons, marching bands and even an early-in-the-season appearance by Santa Claus. More than 200,000 parade-goers line the route along the Southwestern city’s streets. The event ends at Smith and Dallas Streets, just a block from where it began.
McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade (Chicago, Illinois)
Chicago’s McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade began in 1934 to lift the spirits of city residents during the Great Depression. Now it’s a holiday tradition in the Windy City. This year’s grand marshal, actor and director David Arquette, will lead a parade of floats, equestrian units, balloons and marching bands through the architectural wonders of downtown Chicago. The procession starts at 8:00 am at State Street and Congress Parkway, and concludes around 11:00 am, several blocks north at Randolph Street.
Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Since 1947, Charlotte has celebrated the holiday season in its own style at the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. The procession rolls along Tryon Street through Uptown Charlotte. One can join floats, marching bands, performances, dignitaries, celebrities and balloons starting at 9:30 am.
My Macy’s Holiday Parade (Seattle, Washington)
Not to be confused with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, My Macy’s Holiday Parade takes place about 4,600 kms west in Seattle on the day after Thanksgiving. This parade features 25 inflatable floats, 650 costumed characters, marching bands and more.