Okay, so last year’s Parade Spectacular was a bit of a bummer: it was freezing and, because it was so windy, the balloons were grounded.
But things are looking up this year! While it may still be a little nippy for the balloon inflation festivities on Saturday, the forecast for Sunday calls for temperatures in the low 50s–that’s almost a heat wave!
So here’s what you need to know about the parade:
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will always be the Grand Poobah of Thanksgiving Day parades, but attending it can be quite a challenge—particularly with young kids who can’t see or need snacks or get cold or just can’t possibly walk one more city block.
Here in Darien we’re lucky that we have a fabulous parade alternative right next door in Stamford: the UBS Parade Spectacular. Just like the Macy’s parade, the UBS Parade Spectacular has balloons and floats and marching bands, but it’s located just a few minutes away and is easily accessible by car or train.
This year there are some new character balloons being introduced including Abby Cadabby (of Sesame Street) and Shrek, and old favorites Elmo, Kermit, and Clifford the Big Red Dog will be in attendance.
Here are the important details to plan your day at the parade:
- The parade kicks off at noon on Sunday, November 23rd at the corner of Hoyt and Summer Street, travels down Summer to Broad where it makes and left and a quick right then heads down Atlantic Street, past the Palace Theater and the side of Stamford Town Center previously occupied by Saks, ending at Tresser Blvd. (Here’s a link to a map of the parade route, including parking garages.) With all the road closings for the parade, it may be easiest to take 95 to exit 7 and enter downtown Stamford from the south side (the Summer Street and Target parking garages are particularly convenient).
- Station Eats, in the elevated plaza at 3 Landmark Square overlooking Atlantic Street, may be the perfect vantage point from which to watch the parade. The amazing burgers, fries, and shakes are an added bonus. Normally closed on Sundays, they’ll open at 10 am the day of the parade. (Get there early!)
- Stamford Downtown has published this handy list of kid friendly restaurants, but we’ll warn you that spots particularly close to the parade route tend to be very crowded.
- It could not be easier to take the train. Parking is free at both the Darien and Noroton Heights Stations on the weekend and the walk to the parade route is reasonably straightforward. (We recommend that you head for the end of the parade route at Tresser and Atlantic).
- And if the Sunday parade doesn’t fit your schedule, consider the balloon inflation party on Saturday afternoon at the corner of Hoyt and Summer from 3 to 6 pm.
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