America’s Best Thanksgiving Parades

Marching Band at the Chicago McDonald's Parade (c)  Chicago Festival Association

We prefer to ride, but if you must march, do so at the U.S.’s best Thanksgiving Day parades!

Our extensive rail network across the country takes customers to more than 500 destinations—big and small. This Thanksgiving, grab your loved ones and enjoy family vacations to some of these great parade cities.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Poster (c)  Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

1. New York City
Let’s start by stating the obvious. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the mother of all Thanksgiving parades. It’s a whopping 87 years old, is televised across the country and even has its own hashtag!  This year there are even a few new giant balloons joining the fun. Plus, SpongeBob SquarePants and Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon” are both making their balloon debuts this year.
Route: Acela Express and Northeast Regional just to name a few of the many

2. Chicago
Originally called the Christmas Caravan in the 1930s, the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade was created in 1934 to help lift the spirits of residents suffering though the Great Depression. Since then it has developed into a full-scale celebration for the holiday season. Last year nearly half a million spectators came out to witness the festivities in person!
Route: Michigan, Hiawatha and Lincoln Services

3. San Diego, Calif.
Leave it to California to put a twist on a classic. The Mother Goose Parade is hosted on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, which gives you the chance to make a quick day trip to the festivities and still eat at home on Thursday! It’s also one of largest public parades in California with more than 400,000 spectators along Magnolia, Main and Second Streets in El Cajon, Calif.
Route: Pacific Surfliner

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4. Charlotte, N.C.
The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade will have a new look and format this year, so travelers to Charlotte will enjoy more singers, dancers and performers. The 67-year-old parade is a regional favorite, featuring the city’s best marching bands and going right through the heart of uptown. Did we mention the average temp in Charlotte in November is a beautiful 62 degrees. Sorry, Chicago.
Route: Crescent & Carolinian

5. Portland, Ore.
Shopping isn’t the only thing to do the day after Thanksgiving. Ride the train to Portland and experience My Macy’s Holiday Parade to officially kick off the season! Besides seeing lots of flannel, beards and hipster glasses, you’ll catch horses, costumed characters, live bands and of course ... giant floats. Sounds like fun to us!
Route: Cascades

Now you know our top picks for family vacations to Thanksgiving parades, but we want to hear from you! What Thanksgiving parade does your family enjoy most? Tell us in the comments section below.

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