Santa at the 2009 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade (photo by Jon  Seidman)
Santa at the 2009 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade (photo by Jon Seidman)

Christmas decorations may be sprouting up everywhere, but Thanksgiving is still around the corner (and it’s not too late to make celebratory plans). One not-to-be-missed event is the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade, sponsored by Channel 6abc and IKEA, which is the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving day parade.

The parade begins at 8:30 a.m. at 20th and JFK Boulevard. It will move down JFK, passing by City Hall, and then move down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Art Museum. It is estimated that the parade will finish around noon time.

Where are the best places to watch the 2010 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade? We recommend the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (also lovingly referred to as “The Rocky Steps”), the area along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and Logan Circle. There will be some bleacher seating, but it will be limited, so get there early if you really want a seat. We recommend bringing your own chairs. Blankets may work in a pinch, but the ground will probably be chilly, so chairs will be warmer. Another option is to try and get a room at the The Four Seasons Philadelphia or Embassy Suites Center City that faces the route.

If you don’t want to venture outside to see it in person, the parade will be broadcast on 6ABC.

Some of the special guests participating in the 2010 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade include The Eagles Cheerleaders, American Idol finalists Siobhan Magnus and Justin Guarini, Brandy from Dancing with the Stars, Sam Champion of Good Morning America, Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron, characters from Walt Disney and Sesame Place, and of course, Mr and Mrs. Santa Claus.

Need to come into the city from the ‘burbs? Driving in for the parade will be a major headache. You’re better off taking public transit to get into the city, such as the Regional Rail system. Streets will be closed, and parking is already pretty limited down there. You can use SEPTA’s trip planner or Google Maps to help plan a route that doesn’t involve your car.

Culture A Guide to the 2010 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade