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Best Holiday Parade (2021)

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Holiday parades bring holiday cheer in the form of festive floats, dancing elves, Santa and his sleigh, and millions of twinkling lights. 

  • Philadelphia Mummers Parade

    Philadelphia Mummers Parade
    Philadelphia

    The Mummers Parade, one of the longest running traditions in the nation, has roots dating back to the 1800s as a celebration of the New Year in Philly. The colorful procession along Broad Street features performances by comics, string bands and fancy brigades in their spectacular costumes.
    Photo courtesy of J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

  • America's Thanksgiving Parade

    America's Thanksgiving Parade
    Detroit

    Detroit has been hosting America’s Thanksgiving Parade (presented by Gardner-White) since 1924. Since then, it has grown to become one of the largest and most popular parades in the country, complete with marching bands, helium balloons and colorful, larger-than-life floats making their way down historic Woodward Avenue each Thanksgiving morning.
    Photo courtesy of The Parade Company

  • Reston Holiday Parade

    Reston Holiday Parade
    Reston, Va.

    The Reston Holiday Parade has been a holiday tradition on the day after Thanksgiving since the first parade marched in 1991. Now in its 29th year, the parade through Reston Town Center features antique cars, musicians, dancers and floats carrying special guests and local dignitaries. 
    Photo courtesy of Lesnick Photo

  • Christmas Ships Parade

    Christmas Ships Parade
    Portland, Ore.

    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 shoreside 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 Ships, Inc.

  • Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade

    Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade
    Fort Myers, Fla.

    The Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade in Florida is set to feature more than 30 boats illuminated with festive lights and decorations. The parade begins at Salty Sam’s Marina, passing the restaurants of the back bay. Visitors can vote online for their favorite decorated boat.
    Photo courtesy of Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade

  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
    New York

    Each Thanksgiving morning, 50 million people across the country tune in to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, while 3.5 million watch live from New York. This traditional holiday season opener since 1924 is famous for its giant inflatable balloons, depicting popular characters like Charlie Brown, Hello Kitty and Elf of the Shelf. Live performances along the parade route highlight pop icons and the Rockettes.
    Photo courtesy of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

  • Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

    Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
    Gatlinburg, Tenn.

    The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade rolls through Downtown Gatlinburg in celebration of the holiday season. The lineup includes balloons, floats from local businesses, 11 marching bands, equestrian units and an appearance by Santa Claus.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Manu1174

  • Ford Holiday River Parade

    Ford Holiday River Parade
    San Antonio

    Viewers of this nighttime event watch as floats covered in holiday trappings and twinkling lights float by, as costumed riders perform to seasonal tunes. Some 50,000 spectators turn out for the event, which is also televised.
    Photo courtesy of San Antonio River Walk

  • Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

    Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
    Chicago

    Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival features two days of holiday events leading up to the grand finale, a tree-lighting parade down Michigan Avenue to kick off the holiday season. The parade will feature marching bands from around the country, helium-filled balloons, decorated floats and an appearance by Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
    Photo courtesy of Davis Harrison Dion Photo Courtesy of Magnificent Mile Lights Fest

  • Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade

    Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade
    Calistoga, Calif.

    Calistoga's Lighted Tractor Parade is a quintessential small town celebration of the holiday season, inspired by the community's agricultural heritage. During the annual event, vintage and modern tractors, antique trucks and construction equipment decked in twinkling lights parade down Calistoga's main street to usher in the holiday season.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Calistoga

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

  1. Philadelphia Mummers Parade - Philadelphia
  2. America's Thanksgiving Parade - Detroit
  3. Reston Holiday Parade - Reston
  4. Christmas Ships Parade - Portland
  5. Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade - Fort Myers
  6. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - New York
  7. Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade - Gatlinburg
  8. Ford Holiday River Parade - San Antonio
  9. Magnificent Mile Lights Festival - Chicago
  10. Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade - Calistoga

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning parades!

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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Nikky J

Nikky J

Nikky J
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