Best Holiday Parade? The Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade!

Twinkle Light Parade, H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade, Reston Holiday Parade and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade also winners

Dancing elves, festive floats, boats covered in twinkling lights, Santa in his sleigh – these are some of the many sights you might see as a spectator at one of these 10 holiday parades, voted as the best in the U.S. by 10Best readers.

  • Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade
    Annapolis, Md.

    Each holiday season on the second Saturday in December the Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis hosts its festive Lights Parade on the waters of Annapolis Harbor. Boats illuminated by thousands of colorful lights float along the waterfront in celebration of the holiday season.
    Photo courtesy of Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade / Facebook

  • Twinkle Light Parade

    Albuquerque's historic Nob Hill neighborhood transforms into a winter wonderland during the annual Twinkle Light Parade along Central Avenue. The procession along the mile-long parade route features 300,000 lights, dozens of floats, fire trucks, car clubs, marching bands and an appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus in their sleigh.
    Photo courtesy of Eric Williams

  • H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade

    The first Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade was hosted in 1949 between Union Station and Foley's in downtown. Today, the H-E-B-sponsored event celebrates Thanksgiving with festive floats, marching bands, giant balloons and live entertainment.
    Photo courtesy of Ed Uthman / Flickr

  • Reston Holiday Parade
    Reston, Va.

    Reston Town Center in Reston, Va. will host the 26th annual Reston Holiday Parade in 2016, featuring giant inflatable balloons, live music, dancers, antique cars and local dignitaries marching along the half-mile parade route on Market Street. Photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus are available after the parade.
    Photo courtesy of Watkins H. / Reston Town Center / Facebook

  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
    New York

    Nothing says "Thanksgiving" quite like waking up to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade marching through the streets of New York City. This traditional holiday season opener since 1924 is famous for its giant inflatable balloons, depicting popular characters like Paddington Bear, Pikachu and Thomas the Tank Engine. Live performances along the parade route highlight pop icons and the Rockettes.
    Photo courtesy of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

  • Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade
    Calistoga, Calif.

    The Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade in California's Napa Valley Wine Country hosts its 21st installment in 2016. The free, family-friendly event celebrates the region's agricultural heritage with a procession of bedecked farm equipment parading down Calistoga's main street.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Calistoga / Facebook

  • McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade

    The McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago runs along State Street, from Congress to Randolph, with a non-stop procession of huge balloons, colorful floats, marching bands, dancers and musical theater performances, concluding with old St. Nick himself, waving from his sleigh.
    Photo courtesy of Chicago Festival Association

  • Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade
    Fort Lauderdale

    Fort Lauderdale's Winterfest Boat Parade, held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, calls itself "The Greatest Show on H2O." More than a million spectators line up along the 12-mile route through Fort Lauderdale's waterways, making it one of the largest single-day spectator events in the nation. For those who can't make it in person, the entire event is streamed live online.
    Photo courtesy of Winterfest Boat Parade

  • Christmas Ships Parade
    Portland, Ore.

    Going strong for over 60 years, the annual Christmas Ships Parade in Portland features five dozen ships of all sizes bedecked with sparkling holiday lights. Each night for two weeks, boat owners proudly cruise the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, providing holiday cheer to shore side onlookers. Spectators can see the Christmas Ships up close, meet the captains, take pictures and chat with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
    Photo courtesy of Christmas Ship Parade / Facebook

  • Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade

    Part of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade sees Mickey and friends (including Santa Claus) parading down Main Street, U.S.A. in Orlando's Magic Kingdom park. Spectators can see their favorite Disney characters, including the Seven Dwarfs, Olaf, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger.
    Photo courtesy of Ryan Wendle / Walt Disney Wolrd

The top 10 winners in the category Best Holiday Parade are as follows:

  1. Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade - Annapolis, Md.
  2. Twinkle Light Parade - Albuquerque
  3. H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade - Houston
  4. Reston Holiday Parade - Reston, Va.
  5. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - New York
  6. Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade - Calistoga, Calif.
  7. McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade - Chicago
  8. Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade - Fort Lauderdale
  9. Christmas Ships Parade - Portland, Ore.
  10. Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade - Orlando

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Larry BleibergEric Grossman, Anna Hider (Roadtrippers) and Gerrish Lopez were chosen based on their extensive experience covering travel in North America.

Additional nominees for the category Best Holiday Parade included A Christmas Fantasy Parade in Anaheim, Children's Christmas Parade in Atlanta, Dallas Children's Health Holiday Parade, Holiday Boat Parade of Lights in Alexandria, Hollywood Christmas Parade, Mayor's Christmas Parade in Baltimore, Mummers Parade in Philadelphia, Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade and the World Famous Fish House Parade in Aitkin.

License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo

AlertThe Experts

Larry Bleiberg

Larry Bleiberg

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Anna Hider

Anna Hider

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt