Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: The Perfect Start to Your Thanksgiving Festivities

Marching band performing a song while marching in the parade.

By Aila Durakovic, Social Media Editor

Every year on Thanksgiving morning, Macy’s presents the Thanksgiving Day parade downtown along State Street and wraps around to Randolph. This year, I decided to go to the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade in order to start taking advantage of all the holiday festivities the city has to offer.

I texted my best friend and senior Ana Urosev, the night before, knowing that she would be down to come with me. The parade ran from 8 AM till 11 AM, and we both agreed to take the CTA rather than drive to the city due to traffic.

I woke at 6:30 am, put on a few layers, and left my house to pick up Urosev. Going to the Skokie Swift, I just assumed Urosev would know how to get to the parade because I’m useless when it comes to using the train. As we bought our tickets, she pulled up the app “Train Track” and as I watched her use it, it looked so simple and easy to use that I just downloaded it myself. Little did I know, the app was created by a current Niles West Senior, Alexander Benitez.

Using the app to get to our final stop, it took about 40 minutes to get there. As we got out of the train station, the Christkindlmarket was right across the street. All the wooden houses were set up nicely and spacious, decorated with a bunch of Christmas lights all around. It was a good reminder to add going to the Christkindlmarket to my list of holiday festivities.

As we turned left on the first corner, the parade was right there, on W Washington St and N State St. It was about 7:40 AM when we arrived, so it wasn’t too crowded. We found a decent spot in the public area. The VIP section was $60 per person and provides seats with a much better view of the parade where food and beverages are available for purchase as well.

We waited until about 8:30 AM till the parade finally reached where we were waiting. It consisted mainly of marching bands, dances, sponsorships, etc. Personally, I found it very entertaining. That morning, I learned that I really enjoy watching and listening to marching band performances. I find them very satisfying and amusing.

There were also many cultural and different styles of dances being performed, which were very exciting to watch, especially when our good friend, senior Kristianna Bliznakov, passed us while performing Barefoot Hawaiian. The sponsorships were also great because the floats were very creative and large, so it was still fun to watch them pass along.

Over time, the crowd was increasing in numbers by a lot. I had to stand on my tippy toes for a lot of the parade, but I didn’t mind too much. Listening to what others were commentating about the parade was one of the best parts of being there. Urosev and I definitely enjoyed ourselves, to say the least. We promised that one day when we both have good jobs, we’ll spend some money and buy VIP passes just for fun.

We left the parade at 10:15 AM so we can escape the crowd and make it back home on time for our Thanksgiving family get-togethers. On the way back, we used Benitez’s app again and found ourselves back at the Skokie Swift safe and sound. In review, the Thanksgiving Day parade was probably one of the most enjoyable holiday events in Chicago, and I highly recommend you to go with your friends and family and enjoy the wonders that the city has to offer.