5 things to know about Houston's Thanksgiving Day Parade

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - People pack the streets of downtown Houston each year for the city’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year will mark the 68th year of the annual tradition.

The parade marks the beginning of the holiday season for many in Houston. This year’s themes are: Houston is Thankful, Houston is Strong, Houston is Tradition and Houston is Family.

Here are five things you need to know about the 2017 parade:

Time and route

Officials said the parade starts at 9 a.m. Thursday and begins at Smith and Lamar streets. The route continues north to Walker Street, east to Milam Street, south to Pease Street, west to Louisiana Street, north to Clay Street and west to Smith Street. The parade ends at Smith and Dallas streets.

MAP: Open interactive map of parade route in new window

Watching the parade

There are a limited number of seats available at the starting line, officials said. Those cost $28 each and can be purchased at houstontx.gov/thanksgivingparade. However, there is plenty of free space along the route for lawn chairs and blankets, officials said. 

Food trucks will be stationed along the route, officials said.


Organizers said parking is available in the Tranquility Garage, entrance No. 2 on Rusk Street and entrance No. 5 on Capital Street. However, because of repairs due to Hurricane Harvey, there is no elevator access.

Anyone with special needs, or families with strollers, should park in the Hobby garage after entering from Rusk Street.

For more parking information, go to houstontx.gov/thanksgivingparade.

Getting there

Organizers said METRO buses will be running on a holiday schedule and that anyone using the transit service should check their route information before heading downtown. Go to ridemetro.org or call 713-635-4000 for more information.

Drivers should expect heavy traffic in and around downtown.


The parade includes floats, balloons, marching bands, artistic entries and live entertainment, organizers said.

This year’s parade will also include the “Mayor’s Citywide Sing-along.” Parade-goers can join Marquist Taylor to sing “Lean On Me.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Chandra Wilson will serve as the parade’s grand marshal, and Mario Lopez, of “Extra,” will serve as guest commentator.

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