Just one look at what’s happening at this year’s Thanksgiving parades and you know there is a lot to be thankful for. Indeed, after two years of cancellations or crowd restrictions, people are eager to return to the streets to celebrate the season. Equally important are the return of rousing marching bands, floats and balloons, along with some new additions and surprises this year. Without any further delay, here is a look at 10 of the best Thanksgiving parades in America.

Large Daniel Tiger balloon on the Thanksgiving parade route in Philadelphia
6abc Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Parade (credit: Visit Philadelphia)

6abc Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade

Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA  19103
www.abclocal.go.com

Date: November 24, 2022
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

It’s fitting that the 6abc Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Parade is the first of this alphabetical list. After all, it’s the grandaddy of all Thanksgiving parades in America, first held in 1920. What’s more it’s been an exciting year in Philadelphia, with tourism doing very well. Of course, Philly has also had a great year in sports, particularly the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles and Union all doing well. With so much to celebrate, this year’s parade will be among the best in recent years. Dunkin’ (Donuts) and local ABC television affiliate channel 6 are your primary hosts. Several special guests will be on hand, including C+C Music Factory, Debbie Gibson, The Spinners and Mickey & Minnie Mouse.

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade Route

The parade starts at the intersection of 20th Street and JFK Boulevard. From there, the procession continues onto JFK then 16th Street to Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The parade will end in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. While admission to the parade is free, the reserved seating is only for sponsors and VIPs. Because of this, you should plan on wearing something warm and getting to the Art Museum early for a good spot.

What To See

Among of the clear highlights of Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving parade are the floats and balloons. For instance, make sure to see the Visit Philadelphia float as well as the Bountiful Harvest and Gingerbread floats. That’s not to mention the Santa Claus float and Dunkin’ Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen. Among the giant balloons you will see are the Turkey, Thomas the Train, Eva Green Tree and Smurfette.

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Ameren Thanks-For-Giving Parade

Market St.
St. Louis, MO
www.holidaysinstl.com

Date: November 24, 2022

Time: 8:45 a.m.

The Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights and Winterfest kicks off the holiday season on Saturday November 19 at Kiener Plaza. Held on Fridays and weekends through January 1, Winterfest will feature a 5K run, Winter Market and New Year’s Eve event. But one of the biggest highlights of the season will be the 38th annual Ameren Thanks-For-Giving Parade. Held on Thanksgiving morning, you can enjoy a tremendous parade with marching bands, colorful floats and more. Details on the Thanksgiving Day parade route are not yet available. However, in previous years, you would see the parade traveling either east or west along Market Street. This lively event will be broadcast live via the local CBS affiliate KMOV channel 4.

Ameren Charitable Donations

In efforts to spread joy across St. Louis, the host power company Ameren makes donations to community groups. This includes the St. Louis Area Foodbank, with Ameren matching donations up to $200,000. If you wish to make a donation, you can visit the Click to Donate link in the parade’s website.

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Thanksgiving float with male Pilgrim made of paper-mache
Pilgrim Float in America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade (credit: usathanksgiving.com)

America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade

79 Water St.
Plymouth, MA  02360
www.usathanksgiving.com

Date: Saturday, November 19, 2022
Time: 10 a.m.

In the historic city of Plymouth, you won’t have to wait until Thanksgiving Day to enjoy their spectacular parade. Instead, you can watch the parade the weekend before, as part of the city’s three-day Thanksgiving Celebration. Taking place in one of America’s oldest cities, the parade begins at Plymouth Rock right after the opening ceremonies. From there, it continues along Main Street before ending at the intersection of Nelson and Court streets. First held in 1996, this parade is said to be one of America’s most “historically accurate chronological parades”. In further detail, the parade features important events in American history by chronological order. For instance, you will see people dressed as Mayflower Pilgrims and Native Americans, followed later by Revolutionary War soldiers and so on.

What To See

In addition to marching bands, America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade features floats with a wild turkey, bounty of food and Express Train. That’s not to mention new floats, like a Lincoln Memorial Centennial and Great Women of History. If that’s not enough, you can visit the Historic Village at Brewster Gardens or the Mayflower II replica ship.

America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Woodward Ave. at E. Kirby St.
Detroit, MI  48202
(313) 923-7400
www.theparade.org

Date: November 24, 2022
Time: 8:45 a.m.

When it comes to America’s best Thanksgiving parades, the Macy’s parade in New York gets plenty of attention. Although this may be true, don’t overlook America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit. For one, it’s tied with the Macy’s parade as the second oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country. That’s not to mention that the Detroit parade has been named America’s best for holidays by USA Today. So, you might be wondering why Motown’s parade is as good as it gets. As with any major November Turkey Day parade, there are floats, giant balloons, marching bands and Santa and his reindeer. But the real answer why it’s so good is simply the city’s arts and culture, along with its Motown vibe. This year’s Grand Marshalls will be Jalen rose and Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony. America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade presented by Gardner White will air live on WDIV channel 4.

Bayou Classic Parade

Elysian Fields Ave. at N. Peters St.
New Orleans, LA  70116
www.mybayouclassic.com

Date: November 26, 2022
Time: 9 a.m.

The Bayou Classic Parade is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But if you’re like most people attending, it doesn’t really matter. After all, it’s in New Orleans and is part of one of the city’s biggest holiday events. In further detail, it’s part of the Bayou Classic, an annual football game between Grambling State Tigers and Southern Jaguars. First held in 1974, the Bayou Classic is the most famous football game between two historically Black colleges or universities. In addition, the Bayou Classic is a weeklong celebration, with other events leading up to the annual football game. If you go, you may also want to attend the Battle of the Bands and Greek Show featuring the marching bands from each university. Then there is the annual Bayou Classic Fan Festival at Champions Square at the Caesars Superdome.

Parade Route

The Bayou Classic Parade begins at the intersection of Elysian Fields Avenue and N. Peters Street. From there, the procession travels along N. Peters to Decatur then onto Canal Street. After passing through St. Charles Avenue, Poydras Street and Loyola Avenue, the parade ends at Duncan Plaza. Among the participants you can see in the Mardi Gras-style parade are dancers, marching bands and floats. Of course, you can also expect some folks to pass out necklaces, coins and other Mardi Gras-style trinkets.

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Giant balloon of Garfield the Cat in a Pilgrim outfit at the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade
Garfield the Cat (credit: Choose Chicago)

Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

State Street
Chicago, IL  60602
www.chicagothanksgivingparade.com

Date: November 24, 2022
Time: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

What could be better in November than Chicago’s Grand Holiday Tradition? First and foremost, the Windy City has been named America’s Best Big City for sixth consecutive years by Conde Nast Traveler. As a matter of fact, this gigantic parade is a clear indication why the city is as good as it is. This year, the Second City is pulling out all the stops with a bigger and better parade up State Street. This year, more than a million spectators will flock the parade route to see marching bands, floats, giant balloons and of course Teddy Turkey. There may be still time for you to apply to be a participant in the parade. In addition, there may be time to get tickets to the VIP area.

H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade

MckInney St. at Smith St.
Houston, TX  77002
www.houstontx.gov/thanksgivingparade

Date: November 24, 2022
Time: 9 a.m.

Set in the heart of downtown Houston, the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of America’s oldest holiday parades. Now in its 73rd year, the festive parade will draw hundreds of thousands of people across its 20-block route. As a result, this will be the largest in-person event in the city in recent memory. What’s more, there is a lot to celebrate this year, with the Houston Astros winning the 2022 World Series. During the procession, you will be able to see marching bands, dancers and about 30 giant balloons and floats. This year’s Grand Marshall is the popular rapper and actor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. According to a local television station, the event will also feature a performance by rapper and Texas native Bun B. Premium seating is still available through Etix.com. If you can’t make it to the parade, you can watch it live on several television stations across Texas.

The Astronaut Snoopy balloon will return for this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City
Astronaut Snoopy (credit: Macy’s, Inc.)

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

West 77th St. & Central Park West
www.macys.com/parade

Date: November 24, 2022
Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Set to be bigger and better than ever, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the world’s most famous parades. What’s more, it may be the largest, with millions on people watching along the route and 50 million more watching it on television or streaming. First held in 1924, it’s America’s second oldest Thanksgiving parade and tied with Detroit’s America’s Thanksgiving Parade. Covering 2.5 miles, the Macy’s Parade is best known for its giant balloons featuring well known characters like Astronaut Snoopy and Pikachu.

Parade Route Viewing Restrictions

Please note that there will be no public view of the parade at the starting point at West 77th and Central Park West. In addition, there will be no (or limited) public viewing on Central Park West between West 59th and West 60th Streets. Moreover, there is no public viewing in Columbus Circle and at Macy’s Herald Square. Please refer to the Route link on the official website for viewing restrictions.

Where To Watch The Parade

According to Macy’s, the best spots at the beginning of the route are on Central Park West from West 75th to West 61st Streets. However, in order to get a good viewing spot, you should get there early. Further down the route, you will find great viewing spots along Sixth Avenue between West 59th to 38th Streets.

What To See

This year’s parade will feature 16 helium balloons and 28 floats. Of the 16 giant balloons, there will be new balloons, including Bluey by BBC and Stuart the Minion by Illumination. Returning is Goku, the tallest and longest balloon at 56 feet tall and 70 feet long. Of the 28 floats will be newcomers like Baby Shark by Pingfong and Nicklelodeon and Macy’s People of First Light. The largest float is Santa’s Sleigh, at 60 feet long and 3.5 stories tall. The Macy’s Parade will also feature the Radio City Rockettes, cast members from Broadway shows and more. Returning as hosts of the parade of NBC’s Today Show anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker.

Novant Health Thanksgiving Parade

Ninth and Tryon Streets
Charlotte, NC  28202
www.novanthealththanksgivingparade.com

Date: November 23, 2022
Time: 5:30 p.m. to approximately 8:30 p.m.

Unlike most Thanksgiving parades, Charlotte’s grand procession is held on the eve of this national holiday. What’s more, the parade starts at 5:30 p.m. whereas most others tend to start on Thanksgiving morning. First held in 1947, it was originally known as the Carousel Parade and today ranks among the largest and best in the country. Last year, the parade drew 100,000 spectators. However, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a record-breaking attendance this time around. Although the event is free to watch, you can have better seating by purchasing a VIP for $25. At this time, some VIP seating sections are already sold out. During the parade, you will get to see marching bands, dancers, floats and colorful balloons. Prior to the step off, you can visit Santa’s Winter Wonderland inside the Wells Fargo Atrium from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event will also be televised live on WBTV beginning at 6 p.m

Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular

Summer Street at Hoyt Street
Stamford, CT  06901
www.stamford-downtown.com

Date: November 20, 2022
Time: 12 p.m.

Like Plymouth, you can get a head start on the holiday season with the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Now in its 29th year, the Stamford Parade is known to be one of the largest in the country, with about 200,000 spectators. However, as with every other parade, there is a good chance that attendance will be even larger this year. A main part of the attraction are the 14 giant balloons appearing this year, including Mr. Potato Head. In fact, Stamford’s parade is host to one of America’s largest helium balloon parades. That’s not to mention the clowns, marching bands, the arrival of Santa Claus and more. If that’s not enough, there will be a Balloon Inflation Party the day before from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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About The Author

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.