An Insiders Guide to the 2018 CHOA Christmas Parade In Atlanta

The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade is one of our holiday traditions. We’ve been going with the Borden family since our kids were in strollers. This year’s event is on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at 10:30 am in Midtown, and you can bet we’ll be there.

If you go, plan to get there early to secure a good spot. This is the largest holiday parade in the Southeast and you don’t want to miss the floats, giant helium balloons or the fantastic marching bands (and of course Santa Claus). If you want a seat waiting for you, purchase bleacher seats. Below we tell you all about the best way to navigate this festive parade that rings in Christmas in Atlanta.

Be Prepared

The morning of the Children’s Christmas parade, we normally fill thermos full of hot chocolate, bring whipped cream, and sprinkles to really make it festive. Either my friend Lisa or I will hit Krispy Kreme for some fresh donuts too. Depending on the weather, we pack cushions for the cold sidewalk and plenty of blankets, hats, gloves and of course hand warmers. You can set up chairs along the parade route, but please be courteous and let small children in front of you for the prime seating on the curb. One of those collapsable wagons is a great way to haul everything.

Get there early for a good seat. Depending on where you are along the parade route, things can get crowded, but you can usually find somewhere to watch, even if you are late. I’d suggest getting there about an 45 minutes to one-hour ahead of parade time (at least at the beginning of the route, maybe later toward the end).

Bleacher Seats

If you don’t want to stress about finding a place on the CHOA Christmas Parade route or bringing your own chairs, you can purchase a bleacher seat. Seats are general admission, so you still need to get there early to position yourself near the front. An added bonus though, many of the marching bands and dancers will perform for the bleacher crowd. Group seating is also available for groups of 50 or more.

The Children’s Christmas Parade Route

The Parade route goes along Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta, starting at Peachtree Street at 16th Street and ends on 5th Street. We usually set up in front of the High Museum of Art. It’s at the very beginning of the parade route. If you want to be sure to hear the bands, walk south on Peachtree a bit from the High, sometimes it takes them a little bit to get going. If you have other suggestions on the best viewing locations for the parade, please leave them in the comments section. Here’s a copy of the CHOA parade route.

 

Parking at the Christmas Parade

Everyone always asks about parking. My suggestion would be to take MARTA to the Midtown or Arts Center station. Kids love riding the train and you’ll come out right near the parade route.

If you’d rather drive, the Colony Square parking deck on 14th, the Campanile parking deck on Juniper, the Proscenium parking deck on Crescent and the Promenade II parking deck on 15th will be open. To find street parking or rates for the decks, here’s a nifty site I found that has all the parking in Midtown. I can’t vouch for it’s accuracy, but it’s a good place to start.

Note there will be street closings on the day of the event, so you may not be able to travel down all road. Here is a list of the street closings. 

If you can’t make the parade, or don’t want to fight the crowds, you can watch it on WSB-TV. They will be broadcasting live at 10:30 am.

Where to Stay

If you want to make a weekend of it (and we highly suggest you do), there are several hotels along the parade route. The only hotel we know that is actually ON the parade route is the Loew’s Atlanta Midtown.  Within a few blocks of the route are the Four Seasons Midtown (see below for a special breakfast with Santa), W Hotel, and Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown. We only have first hand knowledge of Loew’s and the Four Seasons, but the other hotels get good reviews on TripAdvisor.

Additional ways to enjoy the 2018 CHOA Christmas Parade

Breakfast with Santa @ Four Seasons Atlanta Hotel

Enjoy breakfast with Santa at 8:30 a.m. on the morning of the CHOA parade! Guests are served a buffet breakfast, enjoy special Christmas crafts and a visit from Santa & Mrs. Claus before they board their sleigh to ride down Peachtree Street. Breakfast with Santa guests will receive bleacher tickets with their purchase. Bleacher tickets for the Breakfast with Santa event are located on Peachtree Street in the WSB TV zone between 11th and 12th Streets. Tickets are available for purchase here.

The Smiles of the Season Breakfast with Santa.

Breakfast takes place at 5Church in Colony Square at 8:30 a.m. on parade morning. Guests are served a buffet breakfast, enjoy special Christmas crafts and visits from characters. Characters include princesses, and Christmas characters. The Smiles of the Season breakfast guests also receive bleacher tickets to the CHOA Parade with their purchase, as well as parking at Colony Square. Bleacher tickets for the Smiles of the Season Breakfast event are located on Peachtree Street at 14th Street in front of Colony Square. The Smiles of the Season Breakfast does not include a visit from Santa & Mrs. Claus. Tickets are available for purchase at here.

Atlanta Christmas Parade

Oh yeah, and we always go for the kids. The kids just love it. Yeah, it’s about the kids…

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The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade is a must see kick off for the holiday season. Learn everything you need to know - getting there, parking, viewing & events to make it more special.

The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade is a tradition for our family. We've been going to this festive event for years. We know how to do the parade and share our tips here.

The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade is a must see kick off for the holiday season. Learn everything you need to know - getting there, parking, viewing & events to make it more special.

Sue Rodman | Co-Founder

Sue came to Atlanta after finishing the Walt Disney World College Program where she was a tour guide then guest relations hostess (and no she did not moonlight as Snow White). Sue spent 25 years in PR before adding freelance travel writing to her resume. Prior to 365 Atlanta Traveler, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue for eight years, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Her favorite place to visit is anywhere with her husband and three sons. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories. @SueRodman

10 Comments on "An Insiders Guide to the 2018 CHOA Christmas Parade In Atlanta"

  1. Are we allowed to bring chairs for sitting along the CHOA parade route?

    • Lesli Peterson | 12/02/2016 at 12:26 pm | Reply

      yes – but get there early to be close enough to see the parade while sitting down…

  2. Margaret Weatherly | 09/18/2017 at 8:15 pm | Reply

    Where. Can I get bleacher tickets for the Christmas parade?

  3. Can we purchase breakfast with Santa tickets at one of these two breakfast without buying the bleachers seats?

  4. Hi! First-time to bring the grandkids to the parade. We are coming from Rome and have tickets to smiles of the season. I wonder what time you recommend getting there. I read streets will close for the parade.
    Recommendations on a clean hotel?
    Thank you!

  5. Fist year we will be attending, about what time should we arrive to have good viewing for 2 two year olds?

  6. We want to watch from a hotel balcony or window any suggestions?? Thx

  7. Tennille Rainey | 10/26/2018 at 6:24 am | Reply

    How can you be a participant in the parade? I have a large group

  8. How can I enter my non profit girls dance group in the parade?

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