Philadelphia

What You Need to Know About Attending Philly's Thanksgiving Day Parade

George Sheldon/shutterstock
George Sheldon/shutterstock
George Sheldon/shutterstock

If there’s one thing Philly knows, it’s how to do a Thanksgiving Parade. This is a tradition that dates back nearly 100 years, making it the oldest parade of its kind anywhere in the country, don’t you know. This year’s 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade is an all-out affair with over 1,000 volunteers, 4,000 marchers, and 37,000 cubic feet of helium filling up all those balloons. You can watch the parade from the comfort (and warmth) of your own home, but for the true experience, you’ll want to head out and see the action firsthand. Feeling unprepared? Here’s everything you need to know.

CGTB20111124045/flickr
CGTB20111124045/flickr
CGTB20111124045/flickr

What time does it start?

The parade kicks off on November 22 at 8:30am, and will feature 4,000 marchers, dozens of giant balloons (Daniel Tiger, a T-Rex, a giant Tiffany gift box, et al), extravagant floats, and a host of special guests. Revelers seeking the best views will start lining the route in advance of the official start time – if that’s you, be sure to bring blankets and folding chairs.

What is the parade route?

The 1.4 mile route starts at 20th Street and JFK Boulevard, then heads east on JFK to 16th Street, up 16th and on to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway all the way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

CGTB20111124107/flickr
CGTB20111124107/flickr
CGTB20111124107/flickr

Who are all these special guests, exactly?

In addition to the usual inflated characters, expect appearances from Miss America, Nia Franklin, and the city’s most buzzed-about celeb — Gritty. Extra showbusiness sparkle is added by stars from the Walnut Street Theatre production of Matilda and the touring productions of the Grinch and Carole King musicals, plus you’ll be treated to top-notch choreography from the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Eagles Cheerleaders, and the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Thanksgiving Day Parade without a visit from the big man in red — yes, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in attendance, too.

The standout performances don’t stop at the A-listers. The Rancocas Valley Regional High School Dance Team, University of Delaware Marching Band, Pottstown Dance Theater, the Bodies in Motion Dance School, and the Parade Youth Choir will do their thing, among many others. Finally, there are parade mainstays like Jerry Blavat to energize the crowd.

What are the best viewing spots?

American Heritage Credit Union is setting up a watching zone at Eakins Oval, complete with a photo booth, live entertainment, face painting, free Dunkin Donuts, and more. Other hotspots include the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, Logan Circle, The Franklin Institute, The Academy of Natural Sciences, The Barnes Foundation, Sister Cities Park, and LOVE Park. Be aware that road closures will prevent you from driving too close to the parade route, but it’s easily accessible on foot from City Hall and Suburban Station. On the plus side, if you are driving, metered street parking is free on Thanksgiving.

George Sheldon/Shutterstock
George Sheldon/Shutterstock
George Sheldon/Shutterstock

Where can I get some good food and warm up?

If you need a break from the morning chill, there are a number of spots to grab a coffee and a bagel (and a bathroom break) right off of the parade route:

  • Wawa, 1707 Arch Street: Perfect for grab-and-go goodies on your way to the main event or for a quick Shorti to hold you over until dinner.
  • Christmas Village, LOVE Park: pick up some mulled wine and German bratwurst (it’s never too early) during this market’s opening day. It opens at 11am!
  • La Colombe, 1414 S. Penn Square: Sip on specialty coffee or latte cans to go.
  • Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin, 1 S. 15th Street: Spiked hot chocolate and comfort food by the ice rink at City Hall.
  • Capriccio Cafe and Bar, 16th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway: If you’re looking for something a little heartier, snag a roast beef or breakfast sandwich here.
  • Con Murphy’s Irish Pub, 1700 Benjamin Franklin Parkway: Grab breakfast or come back later for Thanksgiving Dinner.
  • Assembly Rooftop Lounge, 1840 Benjamin Franklin Parkway: The ninth floor of the Logan Hotel offers some pretty nice views of the parade, plus brunch and cocktails.
  • Whole Foods, 2101 Pennsylvania Avenue: While all the restaurants in this massive Whole Foods will be closed, you can swing by after the parade for some last-minute shopping.

How can I watch live from home?

If, for some reason, you’re dead-set against attending the parade in person, A) shame on you, but B) there are a few ways of doing it. You can tune into WPVI on your TV to watch the broadcast from your living room, or, if you’re a millennial cord-cutter, you can watch the live stream online via the 6abc website.Sign up here for our daily Philly email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Allie Volpe is a contributor to Thrillist.

Philadelphia

Museum Exhibits in Philly to Check Out Before They Disappear

Get in some culture (and selfies) at the best art exhibits in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

From the historical to the artistic, Philadelphia is jam packed with museums. Art aficionados of all ages can get lost inside the likes of tourist-friendly museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of the American Revolution or feast their eyes on unique exhibitions at institutions like the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the Museum for Art In Wood.

Between big-ticket exhibitions honouring the House of Mouse to collections showcasing the legacy of a prominent Black family in early America, there’s plenty of material to dig into. After you’ve planned a date night and rounded up friends to explore the city, here are the most exciting museum exhibits in Philly right now-before they’re gone for good.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

The Franklin Institute

Exhibition: Disney 100: The Exhibition
Mickey Mouse, you look good for your age. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Disney is a retrospective exhibition, which got its world premiere right here in Philly. Between rarely-seen artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and interactive installations where you can listen to hit Disney songs, the exhibit is a Disney lover’s wish-upon-a-star-come-true.
Dates: Until August 27, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Monday through Sunday. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS

Academy of Natural Sciences

Exhibition: Conversations With Birds
No, not an allusion to the Eagles, this exhibition is dedicated to actual birds, their migration patterns, and humans’ relationship with avian creatures. Expect avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers along with an interactive exhibit showing five migratory birds that pass through the Philadelphia region on their seasonal passage between North and South America.
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are available online or at the door.

The Barnes Foundation

Exhibition: Sue Williamson & Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember
The work of two contemporary South African artists-Sue Williamson and Lebohang Kganye-are shown side by side, offering a cross-generational dialogue. Both artists utilize video installations, photographs, sculptural installations, and textiles “to consider how the stories our elders tell us shape family narratives and personal identities.”
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Exhibition: The Future Will Follow the Past: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz
Exploring the rapid change of societal issues in America since 2020-antisemitism, racial violence, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights-Jonathan Horowitz designed installations inspired by recent occurrences. His works explore specific events like the infamous far-right rally from white supremacists in Charlottesville as well as recent themes in American history, like attacks on those within the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Dates: Until July 4, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Friday through Sunday. Admission is available online and at the door.

Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol

The Museum for Art In Wood

Exhibition: The Mashrabiya Project
The newly renamed Museum for Art in Wood (formerly The Center for Art In Wood) celebrates the rebrand with a brand new project. Focusing on mashrabiya, the traditional Islamic architectural design, The Mashrabiya Project is a first of its kind effort in the U.S. to examine this aesthetic. As a part of the larger mission, a new exhibition Seeing Through Space features newly-commissioned, never-before-seen works by six female-identifying artists.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are not required.

Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o

Fabric Workshop and Museum

Exhibition: Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange
Combining painting and sculpture, Henry Taylor utilized recycled objects in this exhibition, the product of an 18-month residency. The entire second floor of the museum houses the large scale assemblages, tapestries, and textiles. Think: 30-foot billowing canvases and towering totems created from compressed blocks of paint buckets, vinyl home siding, and black plastic planters.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available but advanced registration is encouraged.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition: Judith Joy Ross
More than 200 photographs from renowned portrait photographer Judith Joy Ross will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, chronicling her career from the 1980s to today. Her black-and-white portraits are intimate reflections of everyday Americans, and this show features work from all her major projects, plus, never-before-seen images.
Dates: April 24 to August 6, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

American Swedish Historical Museum

Exhibition: Radically Marimekko
Famous for their bright and bold fabrics, Finnish textiles, clothing, and home furnishings, the company Marimekko is showcased at this special exhibit. Drawing attention to Finnish design, the collection traces the brand’s path from industrial art house to fashion icon.
Dates: March 30 to September 24, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and African American Museum in Philadelphia

Exhibition: Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America
A collaboration between the African American Museum in Philadelphia and PAFA, Rising Sun showcases new work from 20 artists examining the question of Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy? With pieces shown in both museums, visitors can reflect on, challenge, and expand their view of democracy through art.
Dates: March 23 to October 8, 2023
How to visit: The African American Museum in Philadelphia is open Thursday through Sunday; admission is available online and at the door. PAFA is open Thursday through Sunday; admission can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution

Exhibition: Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia
James Forten may not be a familiar name within early American history, but this new exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution is looking to change that. Telling the story of Forten and his family through 100 historical artifacts, Black Founders explores the Forten family’s roles in the Revolutionary War, business in Philadelphia, and the abolitionist movement.
Dates: Until November 26, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open daily. Admission is available online and at the door.

National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center

National Constitution Center

Exhibition: The 19th Amendment: How Women Won The Vote
That lofty document known as the Constitution and its values, interpretations, and amendments are explored in great detail at the National Constitution Center, naturally. This semi-permanent exhibit examines the 19th Amendment-the one which granted women the right to vote-and the road to its ratification. Out of the near 100 artifacts, expect to see a rare printing of the Declaration of Sentiments from the first women’s convention at Seneca Falls, a ballot box used to collect women’s votes in the late 1800s, Pennsylvania’s ratification copy of the 19th Amendment, and various “Votes for Women” ephemera.
Dates: Semi-permanent, no end date announced
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

M├╝tter Museum

Exhibition: Spit Spreads Death
Eerily topical, the M├╝tter’s latest special exhibit, Spit Spreads Death, an exhibit about the 1918 flu pandemic, opened in the fall of 2019, less than six months before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibit traces the disease’s spread throughout Philadelphia neighbourhoods a century ago and how the pandemic impacted the city with artifacts like photos, newspaper clippings, and more.
Dates: Now through 2024
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Monday. Advanced tickets are required.

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Allie Volpe┬áis a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn’t slept in days. Follow her on Twitter:┬á@allieevolpe.

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