Parades on Columbus Day: Ideas for the Family

Parades are a traditional way to celebrate Columbus Day, and they are held in cities all over the United States. Where are the best ones? While such an assessment is ultimately subjective, there are a few Columbus Day parades that stand out for the extent of their celebration. Here are a few of the best places to go for a fun Columbus Day parade.

San Francisco, CA

In San Francisco, the Columbus Day parade is usually referred to first as the Italian Heritage parade. This is because it celebrates more than just Columbus’s achievements; it’s a festival that highlights many aspects of Italian history and culture.

Another inviting aspect of San Francisco’s parade is that admission is free. Their website also points out that there are free, hands-on activities for children available as well.

The parade itself involves handmade floats and individuals who dress up as Columbus and Queen Isabella. Italian musicians, performing artists, and even celebrities participate in San Francisco’s Italian Heritage parade.

St. Louis, MO

St. Louis’s Italian neighborhood – “The Hill” – celebrates Columbus Day with a parade that includes floats, cars, and other fun things to watch. After the parade, which is held at noon, you can enjoy an afternoon of food and music at Berra Park, where the parade ends.

Chicago, IL

In addition to beautiful floats and marching bands, Chicago offers a special Mass for Catholics prior to the parade. The mass is held at Our Lady of Pompeii Church, and is part of the parade’s inclusion of Italian heritage and culture in its celebration. The Chicago parade also features the crowning of a Columbus Day queen.

Public schools are out in Chicago on Columbus Day, so parents like to bring their kids. Therefore, the festivities are geared toward child-friendly activities and events.

New York, NY

New York also celebrates a Columbus Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Hundreds of marching bands participate in this significant event, which also has a significant element of Italian heritage celebration. Bands compete, including high school bands, which gives young people a chance to receive recognition for their skill.

It’s worthwhile to check your local events calendar, too – there might be a fun Columbus Day parade in your local area.

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