Free Family Fun: Thanksgiving Parade

November 1, 2016

Thanksgiving is about three Fs. Food and football are always a part of this holiday celebration, but the most important F is family. You can build your own family tradition and create cherished memories by joining thousands of other Chicagoans for the 2016 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade.

On display in Chicago’s biggest parade—now in its 82nd year—will be the nation’s best marching bands, giant popular inflatable balloons, and spectacular performance acts, plus a whole lot more. The parade steps off Thanksgiving Day at 8 a.m. on State Street, winding its way for a mile from Congress to Randolph. We recommend that you arrive early to get a good spot. For a less crowed area to watch the parade, State and Adams Street is the place to be. Early spectators start to arrive between 6 a.m. and 7a.m.

Originally called the Christmas Caravan in the 1930s, the parade was created in 1934 to help lift the spirits of residents suffering through the Great Depression. Since then, it has developed into a full-scale spectacle that celebrates the holiday season. Parade organizers say it symbolizes a tradition of family celebration.

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