When: Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 2011, 8:30 a.m.-noon
What: The Thanksgiving Day parade in Philadelphia is the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the nation. Its long legacy dates back to 1920. There are elaborate floats, marching bands, and dance teams, along with plenty of highlights for kids, including many favorite characters from Disney and Sesame Street.
Route: The Parade will begin at 8:30 a.m. at 20th and JFK Boulevard, travel down JFK Boulevard to City Hall and continue along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Art Museum. The parade ends at the Art Museum around noon. The route covers approximately 1.4 miles.
Where to Watch: Grab a spot anywhere you can along the route. You can stand and watch from anywhere along the street on come early if you'd like to sit in the bleachers, as bleacher seating is limited. You can also bring your own chairs but you'll want to arrive early to try to carve out a space for them. Logan Circle is a popular place to watch form, as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the parade finishes. The Art Museum offers a fabulous view down onto the Parkway. Again, arrive early to snag a good seat or even standing room at either location. Campbell's Soup sponsors a tent at Eakins Oval where there's hot food and drinks and additional entertainment for kids.
If at all possible, plan to walk, bike or take SEPTA. You can take the Market-Frankford Line to 15th Street, the Broad Street Line to City Hall, any Center City trolley or bus to City Hall or any Regional Rail train to Suburban Station. If you decide to drive, remember that the parade route itself will be closed to traffic and that traffic surrounding it will be heavy. In addition, finding parking anywhere near the parade route will be challenging.
What to Bring:
Make sure you dress warmly and consider bringing a blanket as well. While late November is always pretty cold, temperatures always seem to drop even further just in time for Thanksgiving Day. Bundle up and grab a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy the brisk air. If you come prepared, it just adds to the festive holiday atmosphere.
Out of Town Guests/Where to Stay:
Many people will be traveling to Philadelphia to visit family for the holidays, and will have the chance to catch the parade while in town. If you're choosing accommodations in Philadelphia, Center City is a convenient location for walking to the parade. If you stay on the Avenue of the Arts or along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of the parade out of your hotel window, but there are plenty of great neighborhoods to stay on a visit to Philadelphia that can make a great base for exploring the city and enjoying the parade.