Holiday Parades to Put You in the Spirit of the Season

Get details on fan-favorite holiday parades stepping off in metro Detroit and the surrounding area.
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America's Thanksgiving Day Parade.// Photograph courtesy of The Parade Co.

America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit is the unofficial start of the holiday season in southeast Michigan, but there are plenty of other community parades that celebrate the season, too.

From the Holiday Extravaganza parade in Pontiac to Wyandotte’s annual Christmas Parade, bundle up and enjoy these hot holiday processions in metro Detroit and beyond in 2023.

November | December

November

23rd Annual Lighted Christmas Parade

Allen Park’s annual tree lighting kicks off this event, which makes its way down Park Ave to the Allen Park Community Center. Nov. 17. Free. Englewood to White St., Downtown Allen Park; cityofallenpark.org.

2023 Holiday Lighted Parade

This nighttime procession offers performances by local marching bands and dancers, along with floats and a visit from Santa Claus. Stick around after the event for the official community tree lighting. Nov. 17. Free. Downtown Northville; Northville.org.

Mount Clemens Santa Parade

Santa Claus is coming to town! Join him, Mrs. Claus, the elves, and some of your favorite local businesses and organizations as they ring in the holidays at this annual event. Nov. 18. Free. Downtown Mount Clemens; mountclemenssantaparade.com.

Wyandotte Christmas Parade

Patt Slack is the Grand Marshall of this 80th annual parade, which features local marching bands, dancers, and floats by community organizations. Nov. 18. Free. Downtown Wyandotte; wyandotte.net.  

America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 97th annual event, which is presented by Gardner White, fills the streets of Detroit with area marching bands, floats, big heads, clowns, and more. Nov. 23. Free. Woodward Ave., Detroit; theparade.org.

The Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade

Line up on Kercheval Ave. between Lewiston and Cadieux to watch Santa ring in the season at this morning procession. Nov. 24. Free. Downtown Grosse Point Park; grossepointechamber.com.

Fantasy of Lights

This holiday event offers local dining and shopping opportunities, visits with Santa and his reindeer, a 5k race, and one of the longest-running holiday parades in the area. Line up along Grand River for a procession of marching bands, first responders, floats, and more. Nov. 24. Free. Downtown Howell; howell.org.

Santaland Parade

This year’s event is themed “Red, White and Jingle Bells,” and celebrates “a patriotic Christmas” with spectacularly decorated floats, performances by local bands and dance teams, and much more. Nov. 25. Free. Downtown Garden City; santalandparade.com.

Milford Christmas Parade

Area dance companies perform alongside community floats, bands, and Santa Claus during this annual hometown event. Nov. 25. Free. Downtown Milford; meetmeinmilford.com.

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December

Holly Dickens Festival

This 50th annual will take you back in time to the days of Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. Stroll the Village of Holly to see carolers, dancing ladies, juggling, and more. There will be a lighted parade on Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. Plus, shopping and horse-drawn carriage rides. You may even run into Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge while you’re there. Dec. 2-3, and Dec. 9-10. Free. The Village of Holly; hollydickensfestival.org.

Chelsea Hometown Holidays

This monthlong holiday tradition offers a shopping bazaar, live entertainment, crafts, a tree lighting ceremony, and the Hometown Holiday Light Parade. Line up along Main Street between Old US 12 and E. Middle St. to see brilliantly lit and decorated floats from area organizations. Dec. 1-31, with the parade on Dec. 2. The parade is free, but fees may apply for other activities. Downtown Chelsea; chelseamich.com.

Christmas in Ida Parade of Lights

The parade steps off at 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 with two hours of illuminated floats, marching bands, and more from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Canada. The procession is a piece of the larger Christmas in Ida event, which features a tree lighting, concerts, a crafts and vendor show, visits with Santa, ice sculptures, and so much more.  Nov. 26, and Dec. 1-2. Free. Downtown Ida; christmasinida.com

Orion Lighted Christmas Parade

The largest lighted Christmas Parade in Michigan is back with more than 75 decorated floats, illuminated vehicles, holiday music, and more. It ends with Santa and Mrs. Claus waving from their sleigh. Dec. 2. Free. Downtown Lake Orion; orionlightedparade.com

Saline Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting

This event kicks off the holidays with a cocoa crawl and tree lighting earlier in the day followed by a mile run, parade, and photos with Santa. The parade steps off at Davenport St. and E. Michigan Ave. Dec. 2. Free. Downtown Saline; salinechamber.org.

Holiday Extravaganza

Auburn Hills, Pontiac, Waterford, and White Lake join forces to put on this massive holiday party. Kick off your day watching a procession of over 100 costumed characters, marching bands, balloons and professional floats by The Parade Company. Then, explore a petting farm, live reindeer, crafts and a visit to the Gallery of Ice at the WinterFUN Festival. Dec. 2. Free. Downtown Pontiac; holidayextravaganza.org.

Oxford Chamber of Commerce Annual Christmas Parade

This year’s parade theme is “Frosty’s Winter Wonderland.” Be sure to stop at the gazebo in Centennial Park after the parade to visit with Santa. Dec. 2. Free. Downtown Oxford; oxfordchamber.net

St. Clair Shores Holiday Lights on Wheels Parade

Dress your car in its holiday best, and then show it off. At dusk, all the decorated cars will drive through town for the holidays. Dec. 2. Free. Downtown St. Clair Shores; facebook.com.

Rochester Area Hometown Christmas Parade

This annual holiday tradition has been a part of the Rochester community for more than 70 years. This year will feature more than 100 entries including local bands, dance groups, and floats, all themed to “The Music & Magic of Christmas.” Dec. 3. Free. Along Main Street in downtown Rochester; rrc-mi.com.

Old Town Krampusnacht

This event brings old world Krampus celebrations to life. Find food, a vendors’ market, kids’ activities, visits with St. Nick, and a traditional costumed Krampus parade. Be aware: there may be a few scares at this event. Dec. 9. Free. Old Town, Lansing; facebook.com

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Looking for even more holiday fun? Check out our lists of holiday light displays and upcoming Nutcracker and holiday performances.

This post has been updated for 2023.