Grand Rapids Santa Parade is Back After 2 Years Off
Downtown Grand Rapids, Monroe Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI
Saturday, November 19, 2022
10:00 am – 12:30 pm
One of Grand Rapids’ most iconic Christmas Events is back after a 2-year hiatus.
The Grand Rapids Gentex Santa Parade is hitting the streets of downtown on November 19, 2022, at 10 AM.
Organized by the Grand Rapids Junior Chamber (previously the Grand Rapids Jaycees), this parade has been a local tradition since 1919 and is one of 11 area Christmas Parades this year.
It’s always held on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving in downtown Grand Rapids and kicks off the holiday season in West Michigan.
What to Expect at the Grand Rapids Santa Parade
Parade-goers can expect a feast for the eyes with floats, giant balloons, marching bands, and of course, the real Santa Claus.
Santa Claus will cruise down Monroe Avenue with his iconic red sleigh again this year.
The parade route will stay mostly the same as years past, except for a few minor changes due to the construction on Fulton Street.
Floats and entrants will start at Michigan Street, travel down Monroe Avenue, and turn onto Louis Street, before finishing on Ottawa Avenue.
New at the Grand Rapids Santa Parade for 2022
If you go, expect to see:
– new activities at Rosa Parks Circle this year
– food trucks lining Monroe Center
– a Winter Coffee/Hot Cocoa station
– and more!
The parade schedule is below (subject to change):
09:00 am – VIP Area Opens
10:00 am – Parade Starts!
11:00 am – Winter Coffee/ Hot Cocoa
11:30 am – 1 pm: Photos with Santa and Meet & Greet in front of the Art Museum
Grand Rapids Santa Parade FAQs
What is the parade route for the Santa Parade?
The parade starts at Michigan and Monroe NW at 10am.
The parade route runs south along Monroe, passing DeVos Hall until it reaches the Grand Rapids Art Museum. A quick jog at the end of the parade route takes the event to its end point on Fulton St W near the Van Andel Arena.
How long is the parade?
This parade is on the longer side. The parade starts at 10 am and is about an hour long.
Where is a good place to park for the Grand Rapids Santa Parade?
There are many parking ramps in downtown Grand Rapids close to the action, but any along the route (like the government ramp on Monroe) are blocked off for the parade.
The Monroe Center parking lot (above Leo’s) has an hour of free parking.
We’ve got the scoop on parking in downtown Grand Rapids if you’d like more info.
Are there restrooms on the parade route?
Plan ahead for any restroom needs you may encounter while in line for the parade. Public restrooms are often available in hotel lobbies. There are also restrooms inside DeVos hall.
What should we wear/bring to the Santa Parade?
Just like at the North Pole, you need to dress for the weather. Bundle up.
Wear layers. Bring scarves, mittens, and hats.
Warm boots and socks are a great touch, as well as hand and toe warmers.
If you bring a wagon, bed it with blankets. Even if you don’t have a wagon, blankets are still a good idea.
Bring camp chairs to sit on. Bring a bag if you’re hoping to collect candy.
How early do we need to get to the Santa Parade?
If you don’t want front-row seats, you can arrive minutes before the parade starts and still see the action.
If you want to be in the center of the action and (hopefully) get candy, arrive an hour or two before the parade starts to put out your chairs. Spend the extra time getting hot chocolate or visiting the library if you need an indoor warm-up.
Where is the best place to sit on the parade route?
The best place for you depends on your parade goals. Scope out the tips listed here and then look at the parade route (see below) to find a good parade viewing spot.
If you want less a crowded experience, station yourself near the BOB. It’s near the end of the parade route.
If you want candy, sit near the start of the parade route. Sometimes the floats run out of candy.
For the best pics, find a location on the east side of Monroe. The sun will be at your back and won’t cast Santa or any of the amazing musicians or floats into shadow.