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Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade: Everything you need to know

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Parking, street closures, parade intel, and more

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

One of the busiest days in Detroit is quickly approaching. Thanksgiving, this year on Thursday, November 22, brings thousands downtown for the America’s Thanksgiving Parade, the Turkey Trot, and the Lions game.

Planning on heading to Woodward to watch the parade, or to Ford Field after? Or maybe you’ll be watching from your couch? Here’s what you need to know for the big day. Did we miss something? Drop us a note on our tip line.

Parade Route, Parking, and Transit

America’s Thanksgiving Parade starts at Kirby and Woodward at 8:45 a.m., then makes its way south on Woodward into downtown.

Taking the FAST bus is a great option for those who don’t want to deal with parking or traffic. FAST buses travel down Woodward, Michigan, and Gratiot, For Thanksgiving, the Woodward route will be diverted to Cass Avenue. They’ll have temporary Park & Ride lots available on Thanksgiving Day at:

  • FAST Gratiot—North River Road & 15 Mile at Lowe’s. Parking is available anywhere between Revolution Laser Tag and the lot across from the Lumber Loading area
  • FAST Woodward—Troy Civic Center
  • FAST Michigan—Westborn Kroger. Both lots on the South and North side of Michigan are available

DDOT will have some rerouting due to the parade:

  • #4 Woodward will reroute to Cass starting on Wednesday at 12 p.m.
  • #1 Vernor, #19 Fort, #27 Joy Road, and #29 Linwood routes will come in and out of downtown by Michigan via Trumbull from 7:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

For the parade:

  • #4 Woodward: Route will end at Rosa Parks Transit Center
  • #5 Van Dyke, #6 Gratiot, #9 Jefferson, #31 Mack, #52 Chene, #67 Cadillac - Harper: Routes will layover at the Detroit People Mover’s Bricktown Station on Beaubien north of Larned and resume regular service to the Rosa Parks Transit Center after 5:00 p.m.
  • #8 Warren: There will be no boarding between Cass and St. Antoine
  • #42 MidCity Loop: No service south of W Grand Blvd.

The People Mover will be free on Thanksgiving from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. United Shore is covering costs that day. The closest stations for the parade are Grand Circus Park, Broadway, and Cadillac Center.

Keep in mind that Lions fans will be tailgating in Eastern Market early for the 12:30 game.

The best bets for parking will be around Wayne State in Midtown, Little Caesars Arena, and Grand Circus Park downtown. Parking can be reserved through ParkWhiz.

The Detroit Municipal Parking Department recommends the Ford Underground Garage on Jefferson or the Millennium Garage at 423 W. Congress. Both are $10.

It’s best to bring cash for parking just in case.

Street Closures

Take note, some roads will close on Wednesday, November 21. Here’s the latest on street closures from the Parade Company:

Woodward Avenue from W. Grand Blvd. to Warren will be closed completely from Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. through Thursday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m.

Woodward Avenue from Warren to Jefferson will be shut down beginning at 1 a.m. until the conclusion of the parade on Thursday, Nov. 22. Emergency vehicles will be allowed to cross Woodward Avenue at Warren, Mack/MLK, Alexandrine, Montcalm, and Adams.

The following streets will have limited access beginning at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 21:

  • Amsterdam/Piquette from Cass to John R
  • Harper from Cass to John R
  • Palmer from Cass to John R
  • Ferry from Cass to John R
  • Farnsworth/Putnam from Cass to John R

The following streets will be closed beginning at 5 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22:

  • Michigan at Cass
  • Fort Street from Trumbull to Woodward
  • Congress from Shelby to Randolph
  • Larned from Shelby to Randolph
  • Shelby from Congress to Michigan
  • Michigan from Cass to Woodward
  • Monroe from Woodward to Randolph
  • Lafayette from Trumbull to Griswold
  • Washington from Adams to Congress
  • Atwater from Civic Center Dr. to Third

These streets including Michigan Avenue and Washington Boulevard will reopen after the Turkey Trot at approximately 10 a.m.

The southbound Lodge exits at W. Jefferson/Cobo and Larned Street (Exits 1A & 1B) and the northbound Lodge exit at W. Jefferson (Exit 1A) will be closed during the entire Turkey Trot. The Larned exit will reopen after the Turkey Trot ends.

Turkey Trot

A variety of races will be held Thursday morning. The 10K and Mashed Potato Mile start at 7:30 a.m., while the 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. The 10K goes all the way up to the parade start point at Kirby, while the 5K goes up to I-75 and back. Races start and end in the Financial District.

Lions Game

The Detroit Lions play the Chicago Bears at 12:30 at Ford Field. After an almost-promising start, the Lions have been lackluster lately. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

Where to eat

If you don’t want to cook a big meal this year, there’s always take-out. Eater Detroit has compiled a guide for where to order both dinner and dessert. You can also make reservations for dinner at these metro Detroit restaurants. If you’re downtown or near the parade and you’re looking for a place to eat, these restaurants are open.

How to watch at home

The parade is aired on WDIV-TV, Local 4 starting at 10 a.m. It’s also broadcast on many local stations across the country.