Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade: Spending a Special Turkey Day in the Windy City by Sheri B Doyle

U.S. Travel Chicago
2 years ago
Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade: Spending a Special Turkey Day in the Windy City

Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the parade has been canceled this year.

A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves alone for Thanksgiving. It had been something I feared as our kids grew up. I was afraid of being lonely, and terribly sad that we were not with our family. So, when it happened we decided to make the best of it and go back to our birthplace of Chicago to spend the holiday weekend.

We booked a nice hotel on the Magnificent Mile, made reservations for Thanksgiving dinner at a trendy restaurant and planned to get our Christmas shopping done early. It was shaping up to be a fun weekend, but we still had the whole day on Thanksgiving open, which sounded dreadful. We woke up early that morning and decided the best way to spend the morning would be surrounded by people and tradition at the 84-year-old Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Braving the cold we set out for State Street to watch the horses, bands, dancers, floats and massive inflated balloons go by. With the wind whipping in a way it does only in Chicago, people bustled along the very quiet streets, covered with scarves, hats and mittens. The longer we walked the more at home we felt. We remembered years of watching parades with our family on television and suddenly felt closer to all of them.

We found a spot and huddled together as we were caught up in the American tradition. With over 5,000 participants the parade was lively and entertaining. Although we were surrounded by strangers we felt at home. We laughed and got excited just like kids, moving to the music and cheering as the giant Thanksgiving turkey rounded the corner. Suddenly the day I had dreaded became one I would never forget. 

Want to attend? Here are the details:

Where: State Street, Chicago, Ill.
When: 8-11 a.m. every Thanksgiving
Best Places to View the Parade: State and Washington, State and Adams, or State and Van Buren
Tickets: VIP tickets are available for purchase if you don’t want to stand on the sidewalks.

Learn more by visiting

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Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
Oh how fun, Sheri B Doyle ! I didn't realize you're from Chicago! You have to let me know if you ever get back here. I would love to see you. And, I have not been to the parade, if you can believe that. Too busy cooking on Thanksgiving, I guess, LOL! I'll add it to my list!
Julie Rose
Sounds so fun! 🦃

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