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Top 5 US Thanksgiving
Parade Cities



Thanksgiving is a massive part of the culture in the US and it dates back all the way to the American Civil War in 1863. It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a time for giving thanks but it is also a time for families to come together and celebrate.

Falling on the 27th November this year, this holiday is a fantastic time to visit the United States due to the party atmosphere and general festive feeling.

Huge parades are also a popular feature of Thanksgiving and during these events brilliantly coloured, audaciously decorated floats are marched through the streets, much to the delight of onlookers.

Of course, some cities do it better than others and here are a few of the absolute best!

New York City, New York State

You weren't really surprised to see the 'greatest city of them all' top this list were you? When there is a celebration to be had, you can always count on the Big Apple to take it to the next level and Thanksgiving is no different.

When the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place, the city's streets are packed with 3 million plus spectators who all want to join in the fun and pageantry of this epic event.

The parade contains massive balloon likenesses of popular cartoons and incredibly intricate floats which are all accompanied by a chaperone of costumed clowns and colourful characters.

It really is a must see - where else will you see a 20ft Sponge Bob Square Pants floating gracefully down the street?

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The City of Brotherly Love is home to the longest-standing Thanksgiving Day Parade in all of the US, and boy is it a cracker!

Indeed, the 6abc Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade is all singing, all dancing, brass bands and, yes, you guessed it, ridiculous floats and balloons.

Although most of the parades do have a lot of similarities, the fun in Philly is definitely all about the music. Expect an impressive array of live performers making their way down the city streets, marching along to the same beat!

Philadelphia Skyline

Chicago, Iliinois

A city famous for its contribution to the arts, Chicago is no stranger to putting on a big show.

Starting at Congress, The McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade has its own unique twist with elephants from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey taking the lead.

Similar to the New York parade, there will be a lots of family favourites floating in the sky. Keep an eye out for Cookie Monster, Kermit the Frog and a whole host of other anthropomorphic creatures.

Of course, being sponsored by McDonald's, you would expect to see old Ronald himself making an appearance and you'll not be disappointed! The red-haired icon can be seen strutting his stuff flanked by a troupe of other clowns.


Detroit, Michigan

America's Thanksgiving Parade is a big hit and one that turns downtown Detroit into a festival of fun every year.

A particular highlight from this event is 'The Big Heads', a group of large papiermache figures that represent everything from jungle animals to famous celebrities.

You will see these big headed buffoons marching along the parade route in numbers surpassing 300, something you won't see at any other Thanksgiving Day events.

A nice little added feature for this parade is that you can actually walk some of it yourself, providing you sign up for it in advance. You and the family have the option of taking on the delightfully-named Mashed Potato Mile, the Stuffing Strut (5K) or the Turkey Trot (10K).

As well as the Big Head Corps, there are also giant balloons and silly floats to keep you occupied.

Detroit Skyline

Austin, Texas

The only parade to appear on our list outside of America's north-east, Austin's Annual H-E-B Holiday Parade is another big hitter when it comes to Thanksgiving celebrations.

Expect the streets to be lined with some 400,000 (almost half the city's population) happy Texans as floats, marching bands and cheerleaders make their way through the sun-scorched streets.

The city itself has a lot to offer outside of the parade with a growing foodie scene becoming more and more prevalent in recent years.

Spongebob Squarepants Balloon