Washington, D.C. is a great place to visit over Thanksgiving weekend. However, you won't find a Thanksgiving parade in the District. For those who love marching bands and floats, there are two fun parades held in the metropolitan area. Take the kids and get a great close-up seat at one of the Thanksgiving parades in nearby communities.
Silver Spring, Maryland, Thanksgiving Parade
Held the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the 2019 Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade kicks off the holiday season in Silver Spring, Maryland. The parade takes place at 10 a.m. from downtown Silver Spring on Ellsworth Drive at the Silver Spring Civic Building and heads south on Georgia Avenue to Silver Spring Avenue, ending about noon.
Enjoy 100 marching units, including bands, musical groups, floats, and huge balloons. You'll see Thanksgiving-themed floats, a 12-foot inflatable turkey, a 12-foot penguin, motorcycles, and mounted police units. There are traditional beauty queens, antique cars, community groups, and even performing dogs. Kids always look forward to seeing Santa in the parade and hope to catch a candy cane.
On Veterans Plaza, the parade offers a place to take your family holiday photos. Right next to the ice rink, take your family's picture with inflatable turkeys, that 12-foot penguin, or with colorful holiday decor.
After the parade, take the family out for a meal or snack at one of these nearby family-friendly restaurants:
- Eggspectation (923 Ellsworth Drive) while egg-focused at breakfast, offers a range of burgers, salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes for lunch and dinner.
- CAVA (8515 Fenton St.) offers Mediterranean specialties. You can customize your meals to suit everyone's tastes. Pick a bread like a pita, select your veggies, protein, and dressing, or sauce to top it off.
- MOD Pizza (909 Ellsworth Dr. b106) is a casual place where you can build your own pizza, order it at the counter, and have a seat to enjoy your meal.
Reston Town Center Holiday Parade
The Reston Town Center holiday celebration and parade, an annual tradition on the day after Thanksgiving since 1991, is a full day of celebrations. The Thanksgiving parade starts at 11 a.m. and includes Santa and Mrs. Claus joined by huge balloon figures, musical groups, dancers, and antique cars making their way down Market Street.
Volunteers distribute thousands of jingle bells to children attending the Reston Holiday Parade. Before the parade begins, children can receive bells along Market Street and in Fountain Square, or after the parade starts, go to the Mercury Fountain and the Pavilion.
Other festivities include visits with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, and, at 6 p.m., a tree lighting and sing-along with a chorus of traditional holiday music.
To continue the holiday fun, the Ice Skating Pavilion is open every day from November until March.
Take a break from the festivities and enjoy a snack or meal at one of these Reston Town Center eateries:
- McCormick & Schmick's Seafood and Steaks is an upscale steak and seafood restaurant with offerings like fish tacos and popcorn shrimp on the children's menu.
- The Counter offers customizable gourmet burgers, including vegetarian options. They also have fresh salads, sandwiches, specialty fries, craft beers, and regional wines, and creamy milkshakes for the kids.
- Uncle Julio's Mexican Restaurant is a great place for fajitas, especially. They are known for their fresh Tex-Mex and Mexican food. They have a varied children's menu with offerings like "Kidsadillas" and chicken tenders.
- Potbelly Sandwich Works features made-to-order sandwiches, salads, soups, shakes, malts, and desserts. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.