DragonCon Parade 2023: Everything You Need To Know For An Amazing Time

The Atlanta DragonCon parade is the largest and one of the best parades in the city. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or even if you’re a sci-fi fan, there is something for everyone at the DragonCon parade — Klingons, Harry Potter characters, pirates, stormtroopers, Mad Max back from the ThunderDome, and even princesses.

This year’s parade will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023 at 10 a.m.

It’s so spectacular, the Dragon Con parade draws more than 60,000 spectators! Here’s what you need to know to manage the crowds and have a blast.

Dragoncon Parade 2023: Everything You Need To Know for an Amazing Time
Courtesy of DragonCon

WHAT IS DRAGONCON?

DragonCon is a convention that features parties, classes, shows, autograph signings and more. It’s a 5-day event held in Atlanta every September, and will be taking place across five popular hotels, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Westin Peachtree and Sheraton Atlanta.

The convention is run by volunteers, and is one of the most popular in the United States. Tens of thousands of superfans come to show off their elaborate costumes and meet creators and fans from their favorite science fiction and fantasy franchises.

While you’re in Atlanta, you might also love these fun attractions.

  • Skip-the-Line at the Georgia Aquarium. Enjoy skip-the-purchase-line tickets to the Georgia Aquarium, which has an interactive 4D theater and 7 different areas containing more than 10 million gallons of water and thousands of sea creatures.
  • See the animals at Zoo Atlanta. Discover giant pandas, stroll through the African Savanna, and visit over 1,500 animals at Zoo Atlanta. Spend a day out that includes something for everyone including a range of fun activities for kids.
  • Enjoy the view on the SkyView Ferris Wheel. Enjoy sweeping views of downtown Atlanta and the surrounding metropolitan area with this ticket for the SkyView Ferris. Ride in comfort with a group of up to 6 in climate-controlled, private gondolas.

DRAGONCON PARADE

One of the highlights of DragonCon every year is the parade. Filled with characters and amazing things to see, the parade is open to the public, and is a must-see.

Here are some of our best DragonCon parade-watching tips!

GET TO THE DRAGONCON PARADE EARLY

The Atlanta DragonCon parade steps off at 10 a.m. the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, but the crowd starts gathering well before 8 a.m.  Sixty-five thousand people are expected to pack downtown Atlanta for the convention and parade.

Don’t let that number scare you off, but do prepare for crowds and get there early. Bring your own chairs if you like. Kids often sit on the curb, though it’s important to keep them out of the street — some of the costumes are bulky and have limited vision.

EXPECT TO SEE YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTERS

There are thousands of participants in the parade, including a number of special guests and a full complement of superheroes, storm troopers and steampunks too.  I’ve seen these guys before and they are awesome!

You and your family can expect to see all sorts of characters — from movie, TV shows, comics, and the like. You are guaranteed to see characters you all know and love.

BRING PROVISIONS

Make sure everyone is happy at parade time. Bring water and snacks to stay hydrated, fed and happy.  If you get there at 8 am, it can be a long wait.

To pass the time, head to the beginning of the parade and watch the characters milling around before the start.

Plan to stay Downtown and have lunch. Walking around after the parade is some truly awesome people watching.

GET INTO THE SPIRIT

If the kids have a cape or fairy wings, wear them, lots of folks dress up just to watch the parade. This is a great time to get some mileage out of that Halloween costume too!

Speaking of children, some of the costumes in the parade are really realistic-looking and could scare young children. Make sure to prepare them ahead of time, and let them know that it’s all make believe.

TAKE PICTURES

The parade breaks up in front of the Marriott Marquis, so if you want to try to catch somebody to get a picture that’s the place to do it. 

Most of the people in the parade made their own costumes, and they’re proud of them so they would be happy to take a picture with you and talk to you.  But be sure to be polite, ask, and say thanks afterwards.

FIND A GOOD SPOT

Look for elevated areas along the route (steps in front of buildings, public balconies, etc.) for the best chance of an unobstructed view.  Parking garages are great, even though you do not have a street level view, and there’s the bonus of shade!

No matter where you are, please be courteous to those with physical challenges and children who need to be up front in order to see the parade.

KNOW THE DRAGONCON PARADE ROUTE

The parade will launch at Peachtree Street and Linden Ave, going south on Peachtree, passing the Hyatt Regency, and taking a left onto Andrew Young International Blvd (at the Westin).  Continuing one block on Andrew Young and taking another left onto Peachtree Center Ave. before continuing to the Marriott Marquis where the parade ends. The route is almost one mile.

You can find a map of the Dragon Con parade route here.

EXPECT PARKING TO BE TOUGH

If you are wondering where to park for the DragonCon parade, the big decks on International or Baker near Williams/Spring may be good choices.  If they’re full, you may have to park farther away and walk to the parade route.  

Parade organizers recommend reserving parking in advance through a company like SpotHero (not an endorsement, it’s just the one I’m familiar with) so time isn’t wasted looking for a place on parade morning. Long story short – plan ahead.

Don’t want to deal with parking? DragonCon encourages parade spectators to consider taking MARTA. The closest MARTA stops are at Peachtree Center (VERY crowded) and the North Ave. stations.

TINYCON

If the full on DragonCon parade is a bit much for your little ones, here’s a brilliant alternative. Calling all little wizards, superheroes and princesses! Children’s Museum of Atlanta welcomes families for the TinyCON, celebrating kid-friendly comic books and fantasy world adventures.

Little ones can take a potions class, build a lightsaber, design a dragon, participate in Jedi training, and more.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive in costume. Come during the parade, or visit after it’s over. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta is located downtown, near the parade route.

Read More: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF ATLANTA: YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR FUN

DRAGON CON PARADE FAQ

Where will the Dragon Con parade be held in 2023?

The Dragon Con parade will be held on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, September 2, 2023. You can find a map of the parade route here.

Where is the best place to watch the Dragon Con parade?

You’ll find that many downtown Atlanta hotels offer great viewing angles of the parade. Since a lot of Dragon Con guests will be staying at the Westin Peachtree Plaza or the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, all you’ll have to do is walk downstairs to see the parade. Make sure to head down early to grab a good spot.

What are the dates for Dragon Con in 2023?

Dragon Con will be held August 31, 2023 – September 4, 2023 this year. The parade will be held on that Saturday.

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DragonCon Parade 2023: Everything You Need To Know For An Amazing Time