Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade
The oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country
Date & Time
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Note: The information below is from 2015. Stay tuned for more information about this year’s event as it becomes available.
The parade broadcast begins at 8:30 a.m and ends at approximately 12 noon.
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 96th 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 including the patriotic Dunkin’ Donuts opening float, the Campbell’s Thanksgiving Harvest float, Verizon’s colorful Under the Sea float and, of course, a special visit from Santa.
It wouldn’t be the Thanksgiving Day Parade without gargantuan balloons. Last year, families were delighted as they watched 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 float down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The annual parade features appearances from special guests and performers from around the region and beyond. The 2014 parade included Anna and Elsa from Disney on Ice presents Frozen, American Idol Season 12 winner Candice Glover, former N’Sync member Lance Bass, Miss America 2015 and many more during the Thanksgiving Day celebration.
Performances from local choirs, recording artists, dance groups and more also take place.
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.
Interactive Map of Parade Route
With so much to see, we want to help you get the best spot to watch with our interactive map of the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. Click the button below to see our top spots to watch the parade.
1. Start point: 20th Street and JFK Boulevard. From there, the parade proceeds east on JFK Boulevard to 16th Street.
2. The Parade turns left onto 16th Street, marching towards Arch Street and making a left onto the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
3. The Parade continues on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway until reaching Logan Circle.
4. The Parade loops around the south side of Logan Circle and then continues on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Eakins Oval.
5. The Parade proceeds along the south side of Eakins Oval finishing in front of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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. Campbell’s Soup sponsors a tent there where there’s hot food, warm drinks and entertainment for kids.
3. Other locations along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, like Logan Circle, are also good bets.
4. You can also watch the parade begin at 20th and JFK Boulevard and then take a shortcut on foot heading north on 20th Street five blocks to the Parkway and catch the parade again as it goes by. 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.
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.
- Embassy Suites Center City
- Sheraton Philadelphia City Center
- The Windsor Suites Philadelphia
- Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia
- Le Meridien Philadelphia
- 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.
6ABC Thanksgiving Day Zone on The Oval
Don’t miss the return of the A.C. Moore Parade Zone at The Oval, the seasonal pop-up park at Eakins Oval. Look forward to live music, face painting, balloon sculptures and more all morning long.
Another facet of 6abc and Dunkin’ Donuts partnership is a Holiday Food Drive you can contribute to in a number of ways. Parade goers are urged to gather their cans, and toss them into provided carts as Boy Scouts and Campbell Soup Company volunteers wind their way along the parade route.
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.
In the neighborhood
1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103
- AKA Rittenhouse Square
- The Inn at Penn, A Hilton Hotel
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Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia
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Museums & Attractions
N 15th Street and Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Schuylkill River Trail
- Washington Monument
- Three-Way Piece Number 1: Points
- Arch Street United Methodist Church
- Dilworth Park
- Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs
- Free Library of Philadelphia
- Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center
- Fairmount Park
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Restaurants & Dining
16th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Dilworth Park
- Campus Philly CollegeFest
- Sabrina’s Café & Spencer’s Too
- Assembly Rooftop Lounge
- West Tavern
- McCrossen’s Tavern
- Granite Hill
- Made In America Music Festival
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