Top 5 Thanksgiving Day Parades Around the Nation

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Tony Maples Photography


Thanksgiving is around the corner and with that some of the most beloved parades to enjoy with the family are scattered across the globe. The Travel Channel put together a great list of parade headliners not to miss including one in the great state of Texas. Spectacular performances, gigantic balloons in the shape of some of our favorite cartoon and TV characters, marching bands, singers, dancers, actors and more await each and every unique parade below for you to enjoy this Thanksgiving season.

1. Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (New York)

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Photo: Facebook.com/ABCNews

Probably, the most famous and beloved parade of all is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Complete with award-winning performances of the latest hits on Broadway. Familiar gigantic balloons such as the Pillsbury Doughboy™, Snoopy, Hello Kitty®, The Elf On The Shelf®, The Grinch and plenty more!

It’s like a gigantic present waiting to unwrap Thanksgiving morning as we put the Turkey in the oven, and have the TV going delighting us with the sights and sounds of the holiday season ringing in with each and every beautiful float going by. There’s even a beloved Santa at the end that signals the start of the holidays.

“The parade steps off at 77th Street and Central Park West at 9 a.m., but spectators start lining up for prime spots at daybreak to watch the parade march through the Upper West Side for 2.5 miles until it ends at 34th Street and 7th Avenue,” shares the travelchannel.com.

A long-standing tradition not only among New Yorkers but folks across the globe as family members are chosen to participate as a part of their marching bands, dance and cheer groups, theater groups and more. As this reporter can vouch for, a definite bucket list if you haven’t been. You will feel like a kid again getting to watch it go by in person or watching your kids get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dance in the parade like my daughter.

2. McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade (Chicago)

McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Photo: Facebook.com/mcdonaldsthanksgivingparade

Chicago may be one of the coldest places during the winter season but it also is home to one of the best parades around – The Mcdonalds Thanksgiving Day Parade. “It marches down State Street from Congress to Randolph beginning at 8 a.m. with the crew, including elephants from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey leading the way,” shares travelchannel.com.

This year’s line-up includes talented marching bands from across varies states, floats such as the McDonald’s Flatbed Shoe Float, the Chicago Park District float, Santa’s Village Azoosment Park float, and more! “The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade is more than just a collection of balloons, bands and floats marching up State Street. It symbolizes a tradition of family celebration,” shares its website.

3. America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade (Plymouth, Mass.)

America's Hometown Parade

Photo: Facebook.com/usathanksgiving

Looking for a downhome, traditional Thanksgiving Day parade? Then America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade in Plymouth, Mass. is just the ticket. “The parade is ranked the #1 Thanksgiving parade in the nation by AOL. It features beautifully decorated floats, nationally recognized Drum and Bugle Corps, re-enactment units from every period of American history and military marching units,” shares its website.

There’s no better place to take in a Thanksgiving parade then the place where the holiday originated, according to travelchannel.com, “This is one of America’s only historically accurate chronological parades, visually bringing to life America’s rich heritage representing each century from the 17th through the 21st,” shares its website.

The bugle corps honoring those who served, the marching bands, historical reenactments taking you back through America’s colonial history days, vintage cars, and beautiful floats all take you along a one-of-kind journey while celebrating the start of the holiday season with a traditional Thanksgiving Day Parade you won’t soon forget. Unlike most, this parade takes place Saturday, November 18, 2017.

4. America’s Thanksgiving Parade (Detroit)

America's Thanksgiving Parade

Photo: Facebook.com/TheParadeCo

Detroit, home to historic Woodward Avenue, and a Thanksgiving Parade that is a holiday tradition that dates back to 1924.

Each year, thousands of spectators line the streets of this historic avenue to set their sites on some of the “larger than life floats, colorful helium-filled balloons, thunderous marching bands, and exciting specialty acts!” shares its website.

The streets of historic Woodward Avenue come to life with beloved costume characters that come to life, bands that are sure to inspire a kick in your step, but the favorite, according to travelchannel.com, is “the paper-mache artifacts known simply as the “Big Heads.” They look like walking bobbleheads that honor world cultures, legendary singers, actors, and historical figures of the past.

5. Annual H-E-B Holiday Parade (Houston)

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Photo: Facebook.com/Thegreensheet

Everything is bigger in Texas, so it’s fitting that one the best parades to catch in person or on TV is the traditional HEB Thanksgiving Day Parade. According to the City of Houston’s website,”The Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1949 when Santa arrived at Union Station and rode his sleigh to the downtown Foley’s.” The parade has gone through a few names over the course of its history, with the Foley’s Thanksgiving Day Parade being among one of them.

Even though the name has changed over the years, the tradition and excitement the parade brings are unlike no other. The floats, marching bands, clowns, costume characters, are bigger and better in Texas, most would agree. Tom the Turkey is a favorite among the floats along with Santa making his way along the route to welcome the start of the holiday season. It’s a 68-year-old tradition that marches through the streets of downtown Houston with generations of young and old alike taking in the sights and sounds. The broadcast can be seen live throughout Texas Thanksgiving morning.