It may seem like a younger cousin to New York’s more well-known parade, but the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is actually the oldest Thanksgiving parade in America. Now in its 95th year (wow!), this spectacle of floats and balloons is sure to please everyone from the tiniest tot to the most jaded senior. This year’s route spans 1.4 miles, beginning at 20th Street and JFK Boulevard and ending at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The parade has been known to feature local and national celebrities, lively choirs, and impressive dance teams. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your parade viewing experience.
Pick a Spot
Not all spots along the parade route are created equal. Sure, if you stand in one place long enough you’re bound to see every float, but some viewpoints are arguably superior than others. Be sure to take into consideration the fact that you’ll be standing there for a while. Would you rather stand at a random point along the Parkway, or enjoy the scenery from the Barnes Foundation’s courtyard? Consider watching the parade from a classic Philly landmark like Love Park, the Franklin Institute, or the Art Museum. Whatever spot you pick, be sure to arrive early and stake your claim.
Dress for Success
It may be chilly around Thanksgiving time, but things can get toasty when you’re standing shoulder to shoulder. For the most comfortable parade viewing experience, dress in layers. Bring along a backpack to store cast-off layers in the event that things start to heat up. Use the parade as an opportunity to get creative with your outermost layers. News cameras will be out in full force. If you want to get on TV, be sure to don your kookiest Philly garb. Crazy hats and foam fingers are always a good option, but be sure to be considerate of the people viewing the parade from behind you.
Pack a Snack
There’s nothing worse than getting hungry at a large event and having to navigate the crowd in search of food. Be sure to fill your backpack with fuel for the morning. You’re going to be standing for a while, so consider protein-rich foods like granola bars and trail mix. Coffee lovers or families with kids who love hot chocolate should invest in a thermos for the big day. A good snack selection will help keep everyone from getting cranky.
Skip the Parade Altogether
The Thanksgiving Day Parade is loads of fun if you’ve seen it once, but if you’ve seen it more than a few times you might have the most fun just watching from home on your TV. Cozy up in your pajamas, make a fire, and enjoy the commentary from the comfort of your own home. We’re not saying the parade isn’t loads of fun, only just that parade veterans might have more fun skipping the crowds and watching at home with the family.