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Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

The oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 1.4-mile 6ABC Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country and a true Philadelphia tradition. Credit: M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia


Date & Time
Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, November 24, 2016


The 1.4-mile 6ABC Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country and a true Philadelphia tradition. The city streets make way for massive floats and giant balloons, plus local performers from choirs, dance groups, marching bands and more. And Santa himself arrives in grand fashion, ushering Philadelphia into the holiday season.

Now in its 97th year, the annual Thanksgiving Day parade promises another visual and celebratory feast. So bundle up, grab the kids or a group of friends and head out for an early holiday treat.

Floats and Balloons

The eye-catching highlight of the Thanksgiving Day Parade are the festive floats and massive balloons. The decorative floats come in all shapes and sizes, often featuring family friendly characters including a special visit from Santa.

It wouldn’t be the Thanksgiving Day Parade without gargantuan balloons. In past years, families were delighted as Frosty the Snowman, Mr. Potato Head, My Little Pony, “Plex” from Yo Gabba Gabba, Strawberry Shortcake, Clifford the Big Red Dog, beloved Dr. Seuss characters including the Cat in the Hat, Horton, the Lorax and the Grinch and many more floated down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Special Guests

The annual parade features appearances from special guests and performers from around the region and beyond. Performances from local choirs, recording artists, dance groups and more also take place. Appearances this year will include those from Mickey and Minnie, Disney’s newest princess Elena of Avalor, several members of the Toy Story cast from Disney on Ice, Mamma Mia, Re King and I from Dirty Dancing at the Kimmel Center, Wizard of Oz characters from the Walnut Street Theatre performance and Ginger Zee from Good Morning America.

Photo Tour: Top 10 Reasons to See the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade in Person

Check out our photo tour of the Thanksgiving Day Parade to see why it’s more than worth it to bundle up, grab the kids or a group of friends and head out for an early holiday treat.

Photo Tour of Thanksgiving Day Parade

Best Places to Watch

1. One of the best places to watch is at the parade’s finish at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

2. The south side of Eakins Oval (in front of the Art Museum) is also recommended.

3. Other locations along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, like Logan Circle, are also good bets.

4. If you need to warm up, head to the nearby Comcast Building and catch the Comcast Holiday Spectacular on the massive Comcast Experience Video Wall.

Sleep Over In A Hotel

Stay downtown on Wednesday night so you can wake up and be right next to the parade. Check out hotel rates at Center City hotels for Wednesday night here.

Stay downtown on Thursday night and you’ll be perfectly positioned to kick off the holiday shopping season on Friday in Center City Philadelphia with a visit to the Macy’s Holiday Light Show, the Love Park Christmas Village, the Rittenhouse Square Tree Lighting and more. Rates on Thursday night at Center City hotels are available here.

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Closest Hotels To The Parade Route

Getting to the parade early is key if you want to get a great spot to watch. One of the best ways to get to the parade early: stay downtown on Wednesday night at a hotel close to the parade route so you’ll wake up right next to the parade on Thursday morning.

  1. Embassy Suites Center City
  2. Sheraton Philadelphia City Center
  3. The Windsor Suites Philadelphia
  4. Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia
  5. Le Meridien Philadelphia
  6. Best Western Center City

Book The Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Another option is to book the Philly Overnight® Hotel Package which includes two nights accommodations — so come for Wednesday and Thursday nights or Thursday and Friday nights, etc. — and your car stays FREE. With free hotel parking included in the price of the package, you’re getting $75+ in added value over your two-night stay. Click the button below to check rates at participating hotels.

Get Two Nights & Your Car Stays Free

Parade History

Dating back to 1920, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving parade. The annual tradition announces the arrival of the holiday season with beautiful floats, marching bands, musical guests, dance teams and ample amounts of cheer.

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