The Family Guide to the Philly Thanksgiving Day Parade
Turn off the TV and check out the country's oldest Thanksgiving parade in person this year.
Ever wanted to check out the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country — that’s right, we were first! — but been daunted by the logistics? Yes, it can be crowded, but it’s also a spectacle most kids will never forget. So this year, turn off the TV and check out this fun-filled holiday tradition in person. Here’s how.
November 23 (Thanksgiving Day), 8:30 am — noon
Begins at 20th Street and JFK Boulevard, then heads east on JFK Boulevard, left on 16th Street, then down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before ending at the Art Museum
How to Get There:
First, decide where you want to watch. Is it important to you to be near the beginning of the parade? Head for Suburban Station/City Hall transit hub, or park on that end of the parkway. If you’re more interested in the middle or the end of the route, be prepared to walk a little, since getting around that area of the city can get tricky.
If you’re thinking of driving, get there early — road closures mean traffic, so build in that extra time. Uber and cab services are also a good option to get you closest to the parade route without having to worry about parking.
Metered parking is FREE in the city on Thanksgiving Day. But there are multiple street closures for the parade (click here for details), so plan carefully.
Some garage suggestions:
• Patriot Parking-Sterling Garage, 1850 Cuthbert St.
• Sheraton City Center, 201 N. 17th St.
• Love Park, 1500 Arch St.
• Logan Square Parking, 1815 Cherry St.
Where to Watch:
The front of the Art Museum, or the Eakins Oval, is a great spot to watch, as are the Art Museum steps. There are several great spots to watch along the parkway as well. Some of these places include the Barnes Foundation, Logan Circle, the Franklin Institute’s grand steps, and Love Park.
The Comcast Tower is a great place to watch, and gives you a place to warm up. If you’re there early and in a large group, a few members can stand your ground while a few others head inside to warm up and watch the Comcast Holiday Spectacular. This 15-minute-long giant LED display is one of the biggest in the world!
Where to Eat:
Warm up during the parade, or grab a bite to eat after at one of the many restaurants close by. There are plenty to choose from along the parkway so you won’t have to move your car!
Logan Square Café is quick and easy, and has something for the whole family. Con Murphy’s Irish Pub and restaurant is on 17th Street along the parkway. Capriccio Café and Espresso Bar is on 16th Street and is the perfect place to grab something warm to drink during the parade. If you just need a Starbucks, you can grab your favorite holiday latte on Arch Street right where it meets the parkway.
What to Expect:
Philadelphia’s rich history looms large in this parade. With a bigger crowd each year, this parade is not something you want to miss. Dress warmly and remember that you won’t be moving around much while you wait, so that extra layer is worth it. There will be record numbers of floats and balloons as well as local choirs, bands, and dancers. This wonderful parade brings together the community to kick off the holiday season with gratitude and fun.
Still not convinced you want to brace to cold and crowds? Watch live on 6ABC starting at 8:30 am.
Photograph by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.