New Family Tradition: America’s Thanksgiving Parade 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you had a most joyous holiday with family, friends, and loved ones. Today I am sharing a few photos of the Detroit Thanksgiving Parade 2016 (officially known as America’s Thanksgiving Parade Presented by Art Van. Hopefully, our Detroit Thanksgiving Parade tips can help you with planning your visit this year.

Remember last week when I posted a blog post about touring The Parade Company to get a behind the scenes tour of the Thanksgiving Parade? You can check it out here if you missed it.

Travis and I attended the parade as a day-date and we had such a good time! It was a little too cold out for our little ones and everyone else didn’t want to get up so early. πŸ™‚ So we turned it into a day-date. It was really nice spending the morning with Travis. We haven’t had a morning date in a while.

My family flew into Detroit to visit us for my 36th birthday and Thanksgiving week. It was so good to see my mom, sister, and nephew. I really wish they lived closer so we could spend more time together. I’ll post a blog post later this week with photographs of when I took them to Eastern Market (my favorite spot) to check out the murals and Supino Pizzeria.

Good Life Detroit
Travis at the Detroit Thanksgiving Parade.

Finding Parking at the Detroit Thanksgiving Parade (2016)

Since it was our first time attending the Detroit Thanksgiving Parade, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure if the crowd was going be really big or if the traffic was going to be really bad.

Someone told me to plan to arrive early in the downtown area so we could find good parking and a place to sit for the parade. We planned to leave between 6:30 – 7:00 a.m., but we overslept a little. We ended up leaving around 7:30 a.m.

To our surprise, the time we left was actually pretty good. We didn’t take the interstate into the city. Instead, we used a “back way” and stayed on the main streets which bypassed the highway. I think this probably helped us with avoiding any traffic and running into the closed streets in the city.

High Parking Rates

As we drove into the city, I noticed a few lots offering parking spaces for a high price. Some wanted as much as $50!

Luckily, Travis and I decided to park at the Cobo Center and take the People Mover to Campus Martius. We didn’t mind walking a little bit in the city. We loved looking at the city architecture and taking photographs of city life.

It turned out parking at Cobo Center was a great decision because not only was there not any traffic, but we only paid $10 to park!

Detroit Thanksgiving Parade
Detroit Police at the Thanksgiving Parade
Detroit Thanksgiving Parade
Notice how the horses’ hooves are painted green and red?
Big Head Corps Detroit Thanksgiving Parade
The Big Head Corps is a big favorite at the Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit!

Checking Out the Turkey Trot Before the Parade

Travis and I got on the People Mover and as we neared the first stop for the Financial District, we noticed people dressed up in costumes and in running gear. I had forgotten all about the Turkey Trot!

As soon as the People Mover announced the first stop, I grabbed Travis’ hand and said, “C’mon! Let’s go!” I wanted to see some of the race and snap a few shots of the runners.

We watched the runners for about 30 minutes and then we headed over to Campus Martius to check out the crowd for the parade. People were starting to find places to sit and set up their chairs and blankets.

Starbucks was very crowded! The line was almost out the door. Other stores and a church were selling hot chocolate and donuts. Some restaurants like the Hudson Cafe were open for half of the day and offered breakfast for folks attending the parade.

Detroit Turkey Trot
The 2016 Turkey Trot
Turkey Trot
Starting line for the Turkey Trot.

Even Moosejaw, an outdoor recreation, clothing, and gear store, was offering adults holiday treatsβ€” free Bloody Mary’s! I thought about getting one but decided it was a little too early for my taste. Travis and I still thought it was a cool idea and pretty funny. (P.S. We love Moosejaw’s catalogs because their captions and product descriptions are always so funny.)

Update: It was a good thing I didn’t get a Bloody Mary because two weeks later I found out I was pregnant!

Moosejaw Sign
Free Bloody Marys at Moosejaw
America's Thanksgiving Parade 2016
America's Thanksgiving Parade 2016


Detroit Thanksgiving Parade
America's Thanksgiving Parade 2016
The Mother Goose float is one of the oldest floats in America’s Thanksgiving Parade.

A few things I missed…

I wish I would have been in a better spot to take a better photo of Mike Posner. Oh, and Mike’s hair was super green. I don’t know why, though.

I didn’t get to see Keegan Michael-Key from the comedic duo “Key and Peele”. Key was the co-Grand Marshal for the parade. I’m not sure what his position was in the parade, I had wanted to get a picture of him.

And the last thing I missed? I wish we would have arrived early so we could have had breakfast at the Hudson Cafe or another restaurant in Downtown Detroit. But it’s okay because Travis and I ended up having brunch at Louie’s Lounge after the parade ended. The food was delicious!

Overall, the parade was amazing. Travis and I loved every minute of it. We said we will definitely go to the Thanksgiving parade next year. I think we found a new Thanksgiving tradition! πŸ™‚

Detroit Thanksgiving Parade
Mike Posner waves to the crowd at the Thanksgiving Parade.


All photographs are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

32 thoughts on “New Family Tradition: America’s Thanksgiving Parade 2016

  1. […] I heard the news about Standing Rock’s victory- there will be no drilling of the Dakota Pipeline! The Army Corps of Engineers announced they will find an alternate route for the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline. So many people have shown great support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, including right here in Detroit. So for today’s street photography post, Β I thought I would share a few photos I captured of a peaceful protest which was held on Thanksgiving Day. […]

  2. The Macys Thanksgiving Parade is my own tradition I have to watch every year but its only been on TV. I never knew about this parade looks fun and hey Free Bloody Marys!

  3. I have never been to a Thanksgiving Day Parade., even being a New Yorker, I haven’t done it. Your pictures are beautiful, and it looked fun.

  4. Happy Birthday fellow November baby! I love the idea of a day date! I have never been to a thanksgiving parade before, so this seems like a cool idea. My favorite float was the Mother goose floats because it brings back memories of old nursery rhymes. Ive always heard about turkey trot but never knew what is is, so its a relay race on Thanksgiving day? Glad to see you had a great thanksgiving day!

  5. What a comprehensive Thanksgiving parade. For a second I thought is this the Macy’s parade? Looks like a lot of fun -I’m happy parking wasn’t an issue. Sometimes that can start a day off on the wrong note.

  6. First and foremost…happy belated birthday, Jennifer! I’m glad you got to spend it with your mom, sister, and nephew as well as the rest of your beautiful family. I love the idea of a day date. It’s so hard to fit those in when you have kids. You almost feel a little guilty doing things without them. πŸ™‚ Keep sharing all these great features of Detroit. I absolutely love the vision for this blog. <3

    1. Thank you for the birthday wish, Michelle! It was great to spend it with my family. I am so happy my mom, sister, and nephew came out to visit. I miss them so much already! And thank you for your kind words about my blog. I enjoy sharing all the good things I am experiencing in Detroit!

  7. What a fun day date! I would have enjoyed it as it looks like so much fun. You should indeed make it a new tradition, and keep it a day date πŸ™‚ . Sorry about your missing Key πŸ˜‰

    1. It was so much fun. I hope we can go again next year. Maybe our kids will brave the cold. And I was a little bummed about missing Key. He is so funny! Thank you for your kind comment! πŸ™‚

What are your thoughts?