Your Guide to Holiday Parades Across Texas

by Jessica Fuentes November 20, 2023

As you make your holiday preparations, consider getting out or tuning in to see your local Thanksgiving Parade. This year El Paso celebrates its 87th annual Sun Bowl Parade and Houston celebrates its 74th annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade. Beyond these long-standing events, there are other parades happening across the state as well. Learn more below.

A map illustrating the route of the 2023 H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade in Houston.

Houston’s 2023 H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade route map

Houston, 74th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade
Thursday, November 23, at 9 a.m. (Central time)

Located in the heart of downtown Houston, this event is one of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parades in the country. Each year, several hundred thousand Houstonians line the streets to cheer on participants. The parade will traverse over 20 city blocks and will feature elaborate floats, colorful marching bands, high-flying balloons, and other uniquely Houston entries.

The parade will be broadcast on KHOU-11.

A designed poster promoting the 87th Annual Sun Bowl Parade in El Paso.

El Paso’s Sun Bowl Thanksgiving Day Parade

El Paso, 87th Annual Sun Bowl Parade
Thursday, November 23, at 10 a.m. (Mountain time)

The El Paso Downtown Lions Club organized the Parade in 1935. The parade was held on New Year’s Day from 1936 until 1978 when the event was rescheduled for Thanksgiving Day. The holiday pageant is planned, coordinated and produced by volunteer efforts and draws an annual crowd of over 250,000 spectators. The Sun Bowl Parade is the largest community event in the West Texas, New Mexico and Mexico area and brings together service clubs and civic organizations as well as all sectors of business and industries within the community.

This year’s parade theme is “Rock ‘n’ Roll Extravaganza” and the Grand Marshal will be Tuff Hederman, a four-time World Champion and Pro Rodeo Hall-of-Fame bull rider. Tickets can be purchased at Vista Markets across the city and the parade will be viewable on local NBC affiliate station KTSM Channel 9. Additionally, a video of the parade will be available the following day at and on YouTube.

A map illustrating the route for the 2023 Ford Holiday River Parade Route.

Ford Holiday River Parade Route in San Antonio

San Antonio, 2023 Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony
Friday, November 24, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The 42nd Annual Ford Holiday River Parade is a San Antonio tradition that offers a spectacular one-hour parade along the San Antonio River Walk. This year’s theme, Holiday Stories will kick off the San Antonio tradition of ringing in the holiday season. 

Always held the day after Thanksgiving, the parade and river lighting ceremony will feature 28 illuminated floats and over 100,000 lights (2,250 strands) illuminating the River Walk. The lights turn on from sundown to sunrise every day until the weekend following New Year’s Day.

This ticketed parade begins Friday, November 24, 2023 at 6PM. at the Tobin Center and arrives later in other areas (check this map for the route). Several free viewing areas are offered on the parade route (bring your own chair). This space is available on a first-come, first-served basis: East side of the River Walk between Pecan Street and Richmond Ave. It is broadcast live at 7 p.m. at the Arneson River Theatre.

A map illustrating the route of the 2023 Dallas Holiday Parade.

Dallas Holiday Parade route map

Dallas Holiday Parade
Saturday, December 2, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

On December 3, 1988, the first Dallas Holiday Parade was produced by employees from The Adolphus and Children’s Medical Center Dallas and enjoyed by a crowd of 70,000 enthusiastic children and their family members. The Dallas Holiday Parade is the city’s largest one-day, outdoor event. More than 350 television stations in 159 markets have syndicated the parade. It has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families throughout North Texas and coast to coast.

Attending the parade is free, however, bleacher seats are available for purchase. The parade will be broadcast live on CW33.

Brownsville, 71st Annual Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 2, at 7 p.m.

Brownsville’s Annual Christmas Parade is thrown by the organizers of Charro Days, which an annual event celebrating Mexican heritage along the South Texas-Mexico border in late February. For the Christmas Parade, you can expect floats, marching bands, cheer squads, and more. 

A photograph of a lighted boat.

La Posada Lighted Boat Parade in Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi, La Posada Lighted Boat Parade
Friday, December 8, at 7 p.m. & Saturday, December 9, at 6 p.m.

It’s not a South Texas holiday without a posada, and this year you can enjoy it on the Island for two nights in a row. La Posada will not only feature the iconic boat parade, but the U.S. Marines will also be helping Santa’s elves by collecting new, unwrapped toys for tots. Enjoy delicious food by the water, entertainment galore, and incredible Gulf Coast Capital holiday vibes as the night is lit up with boats coasting down the Intracoastal Waterway.

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