The holidays will be here before we know it, and Downtown Jackson is getting ready to be the merriest place of all! With the Downtown Jackson Christmas Parade rolling into town on Friday, November 18 at 6:00 pm, I thought I would take a moment to share our tips and tricks for attending stress-free!

Downtown Jackson Christmas

Head Downtown Early

I will never forget our first year attending the Downtown Jackson Christmas Parade. We tried to head downtown after we got home from work and were met with brake lights, traffic backups, and the mad rush to see the parade before we missed it altogether. In the years that followed, we amended our plan and had a stress-free time doing so. 

Just what was our stress-free plan? We now head downtown early, attend the other holiday events that are taking place pre-parade, grab a bite to eat, and then choose our parade-watching spot! It’s the perfect way to beat the traffic and enjoy some special time in our city.

This Jackson icon glows with red and green during the 2021 Christmas Parade.

Attend Another Holiday Even Before the Parade

If you want to beat the traffic and parking snafus, head downtown to attend another holiday event. The Jackson District Library is hosting its Holiday Open House from 4-7 pm at the Carnegie Branch! Kids will receive a free book, and the JDL elves have plenty of other fun things planned. Find details here.

If the weather is cooperative, I recommend parking close to your parade-watching location (double-check the signs so that you don’t get a ticket!) and walking on foot to your pre-parade activities. Don’t forget to bring a bag to carry all of your goodies from the event and the parade!

At JDL’s Holiday Open House in 2021

Grab a bite to eat

After heading downtown early and visiting the JDL Holiday Open House, you’ll want to feed all of the bellies that will be watching the parade – say no to hangry kiddos! We love beating the crowd and having an early dinner at Junkyard Dog, but there are plenty of other stops downtown with great kids’ menus. Alternatively, JDL will have hot dogs and hot chocolate available for $1 on the front lawn.

Choosing a Parade Spot

You can’t go wrong with any location along the parade route. The parade starts at Blackstone/Michigan Ave and travels east down Michigan Ave (ending at MLK Jr. Dr.). There is plenty of space along both sides of the street, and I recommend either bringing a blanket to sit on (the ground can get cold), or bringing chairs to claim a spot. Just know that no matter how carefully you choose your parade-watching spot, others are apt to join nearby, so don’t forget to bring that happy holiday cheer. 

Downtown Jackson glows before the 2021 Christmas Parade.

Don’t Forget to Visit Santa!

You will know the parade is coming to an end when you see Santa and Mrs. Claus waving from Michigan Ave. However, you will have a chance to visit them too. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be accepting visitors after the parade at Flagstar Bank, 301 West Michigan Ave. Don’t have time to visit the big guy? Head the giant mailbox at Horace Blackman Park to mail your letter to him instead. 

Looking for more kid-friendly holiday events? Head to our calendar!

Be a Tourist in Your Town: Downtown Jackson Christmas Edition

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