Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023

It’s turkey time! The Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade, a local tradition for almost 90 years, kicks off the holiday season with a fun-filled morning in the heart of downtown Chicago. The event was recently named the #2 Thanksgiving Parade in U.S. by TimeOut Magazine.

The parade takes over Chicago’s iconic State Street in the Loop from 8 – 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. Watch the colorful procession make its way up State Street from Ida B. Well Drive to Randolph Street at this free, all-ages event.

This year’s live entertainment will include the country’s top marching bands, live music, festive floats, acrobats, equestrians, cultural performances, celebrity hosts, and larger-than-life helium balloons.

Special performers will include the famed Jesse White Tumbling Team, American Blues Theater, Ballet Folklorico, Chicago Korean Dance Company, Cirque Experience, Crystal Lake Strikers Drumline, Renacer Boliviano, and more.

Originating in the 1930s, when it was called the Christmas Caravan, the parade was created to help lift the spirits of those suffering through the Great Depression. It continues to be a cherished holiday tradition to this day.

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving Day parade highlights

This year’s parade will be co-hosted by actors Jen Lilley and Jesse Hutch. There will also be special appearances by HGTV’s Lauren Makk and Chicago’s Poet Laureate avery r. young. A highlight of the parade will be performances by country music’s Reyna Roberts and Tayler Holder.

The 2023 parade promises to be an unforgettable one, with a diverse line-up of entertainment from all over the country.

  • Staged live entertainment: Local and national performers include American Blues Theater, avery r. young, Black Ensemble Theater, Dong Fang Chinese Performing Arts, Korean Performing Arts Institute of Chicago, and beyond.
  • Giant helium balloons: Led by Teddy the Turkey, the parade’s official mascot, you’ll see a cast of familiar and much-loved faces, from the Grinch to Cookie Monster to Rudolph and friends.
  • Marching bands: An annual favorite, see groups from more 16 high schools and universities from all over the country.
  • Specialty units: Cheer on cultural groups, school districts, dance troupes, arts groups, drum lines, acrobats, and beyond along the parade route. This year’s highlights include Aloha Center Chicago, Chicago Wheel Jam by Cirques Experience, Michigan City Soul Steppers Drill Team, Unicycling Society of America, and more.
  • Equestrians: Including miniature horses, rodeo groups, and animal therapy programs.

Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade

Where to watch the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade

The procession will travel north on Chicago’s iconic State Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph Street. Make sure to get there early to get a spot, or opt for the VIP experience for guaranteed seating with great views. Pluto TV will live stream this year’s parade for a national audience.

Looking for more things to do on Thanksgiving Day in Chicago? Check out our guide to Thanksgiving dinner in Chicago, with the best dine-in and take-out options.

Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade