The Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade: Parade Route, Times, and Where To Watch

Charli Renken Charli Renken

The Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade: Parade Route, Times, and Where To Watch

Just one day from Turkey time! Here’s all you need to know about The Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy’s Thanksgiving parade is all fine and good, but wouldn’t you rather spend time with your fellow Chicagoans this year? Nearly half a million people show up to watch the parade’s many floats, equestrian riders, dancers, and balloons travel down State St. Take a vacation from the TV and head downtown for a magnificent celebration at The Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade.

When is The Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade?

Photo: @centralloophotel

The parade kicks off at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving day (Nov 28 in case you forgot) and lasts till about 11 a.m., giving you just enough time to watch floats, balloons, and performers move down State St. from Congress Parkway to Randolph St. before your relatives arrive for Thanksgiving dinner.

Where can I watch the parade?

While you can watch the parade anywhere along State St between Congress Parkway and Randolph St., we recommend you try to get a spot close to where the parade starts for a shorter wait time between floats. Be sure to show up early, because spots fill up quickly. Those with disabilities can watch from the southeast corner of State St and Jackson in a specified viewing area.

Want an even better seat? For $60 you can be a VIP sponsor with a designated viewing spot in the TV Zone (111 N. State St), on the east side of State St, between Washington and Randolph. The VIP section includes bleacher seating and private portable restrooms. The VIP area opens at 7 a.m. and spectators are encouraged to arrive before 7:30 a.m. to have the best seat on the bleachers.

Who is in the parade this year?

Photo: @tooths_intrntl_travel_shots

The Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade has tons of incredible floats, balloons, dancers, marching bands, and more! A few exciting performances and featured guests to look out for are The Chicago Spirit Brigade, Mobile Azalea Trail Maids, The Black Ensemble Theatre, Ozinga’s Timmy the Turkey, and high school marching bands from all over the Midwest. The parade releases more featured guests closer to the event, so watch this page for updates on who to expect.

What if I don’t want to/can’t stand out in the cold that long?

Photo: @mannykfive

Chicago can get downright freezing during Nov. If you just can’t take the chill, you can also watch the parade from the comfort of your own home. Tune into WGN9 at 8 a.m. CST on your television or watch the world wide online streaming event at www.wgntv.com.


It’s still early in Nov, so be sure to check back here closer to Thanksgiving for more tips and tricks for having the best experience at this year’s Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade. You can also find out more on the parade’s website.

When: Thanksgiving Day, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Where: State St. between Congress Parkway and Randolph St. 

Free admission.

VIP tickets are $60.  

More information. 

Feature image: Shutterstock.

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