Get us in your inbox

Thanksgiving Day Parade
Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly

Americans really love this one thing on Thanksgiving

Here's what everyone will be doing before they eat

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

What are Americans most excited about at Thanksgiving?

You can probably guess. Setting aside food, the thing that Americans most look forward to on Thanksgiving Day won’t be a surprise—it starts with a P. According to a poll by photo book maker Mixbook, the most cherished Thanksgiving tradition is a parade. These parades come in all varieties: boats drifting down waterways at night decorated with lights, small town parades with marching bands and community groups, and even the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with its huge floats and balloons that require multiple humans to keep them from shooting into the sky.

Mixbook has created a ranked list of the top 80 such events (which also include football games, ice skating in Central Park, and other holiday joys), based on surveying 3,000 Americans about their preferences for 2023. We’ll bring you through the top 10!

1. 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade, Philadelphia, PA

This parade has been around since 1920 and draws tons of spectators to see floats, giant balloons, and performances along the parade route.

2. America's Thanksgiving Parade, Detroit, MI

Just slightly younger, this parade was first held in 1924. One special aspect is the Big Heads made of papier-mâché.

3. Ameren’s Thanks-for-Giving Parade, St. Louis, MO

Established in the mid-1980s, this parade is not just a celebration but also a way for local charities to gain visibility for their work.

4. Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade, Silver Spring, MD

The only parade in the Washington, D.C. metro area, it boasts large turkey and penguin balloons among all the other fun floats.

5. Black Friday shopping at the Mall of America, Bloomington, MN

Here at #5 is our first departure from parades. The Mall of America is the country’s largest shopping center and is decorated for holidays. On Black Friday, shoppers are given free scratchers that may earn them fun prizes.

6. America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration, Plymouth, MA

Back to parades! And this one is set where the first Thanksgiving was held. There are lots of events besides the parade, including the chance to visit the Plimoth Patuxet Museum with a 17th-century English village and a historical Patuxet homesite.

7. Phoenix Zoo ZooLights, Phoenix, AZ

With nearly 4 million lights, the zoo gets even livelier after dark with a s’mores station, an interactive Glow Garden and an immersive 200-foot-long light tunnel. Don’t miss the tallest floating tree in North America with a synchronized light and music show

8. Ice Skating at Central Park, New York, NY

Strap on the skates at Wollman Rink to glide past striking views of the city skyline amid the park's natural beauty.

9. Parade of Lights, Sioux Falls, SD

It’s the 31st annual showing of this light parade going through the historic downtown after the sun sets.

10. Egg Bowl, Mississippi State, Starkville, MI

This football game held on Thanksgiving Day gets everyone ramped up to cheer their way out of the recliner. On even-numbered years, the game is held at Ole Miss in Oxford, MI.

Click here to see the full list.

You may also like
You may also like