Update: Tickets for the bleacher seats at City Hall are sold out.
New Year’s Day in Philadelphia means 10,000 dressed up men and women parading the streets of Center City for the annual Mummers Parade. The family-friendly parade starts at 10 a.m. at City Hall (new this year!) and ends at approximately 6 p.m.
Watching the more than 40 organized clubs parade down Broad Street is a singular and completely free experience — making for a great way to spend the New Year’s Day holiday.
Read on for our guide to the annual Mummers Parade.
The Mummers’ tradition dates back to 400 B.C. with the Roman Festival of Saturnalias, where folks marched around in masks throughout a day full of satire and noise-making.
In Philadelphia, the tradition dates back more than a hundred years and The Mummers Parade has now evolved into a carnival-style event made up of 10,000 men and women of all ages.
The men and women make up 40 organized clubs, and each club is split into one of five divisions: the Comics, Wench Brigades, Fancies, String Bands and Fancy Brigades.
Each division has a separate theme for their performance — The Comics and Wench Brigades make fun of issues and public figureheads, the Fancies compete for the most dazzling outfits, the String Bands showcase their musical talent as they play reed and string instruments and the Fancy Brigades perform highly choreographed shows.
Take note, the Mummers Parade will follow a new route for 2015. Instead of beginning in South Philly, the parade will begin at City Hall (and Mummers will march from north to south) with judging taking place first thing at 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard — right next to Love Park. The parade will then leave from 15th and Market streets.
The parade then goes south on Broad Street to its end point at Washington Avenue.
Where To Watch
Though catching the Mummers action on Broad Street is completely free, the best seats do require the purchase of a ticket.
• Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park: Watch the Mummers go by while skating at the ice rink at Dilworth Park. The parade will start at 15th and Market streets this year — right in front of Dilworth Park.
• Creative and Performing Arts High School: New this year: The Creative and Performing Arts High School, CAPA, will serve as a family viewing spot complete with food trucks, music, a Jumbo-tron television and a warming area inside of CAPA.
• The Kimmel Center: The Kimmel Center hosts a variety of fun events to ring in the new year with the Mummers. Beginning at 9 a.m., enjoy birds-eye views of the parade, live performances, resolution crafts, free hot chocolate and more.
• 16th to 22nd Street on JFK Boulevard: For the first time, those who want a sneak peek of what’s to come can catch the Mummers doing last-minute practices as they line up on John F. Kennedy Boulevard between 16th and 22nd Streets before they head to the judging stand. Here, spectators can also meet the performers, get a close-up look at the spectacular costumes and even snap photos with the costumed marchers.
• City Hall: City Hall is one of the best places to catch the parade, but tickets are required to watch from the Grand Stand seating at City Hall. Spectators at the Grand Stand will be able to see the parade as soon as it starts as the parade leaves from City Hall this year. Update: Tickets for the seating at City Hall is now sold out.
In addition to the abundance of free viewing areas along Broad Street, certain areas do require viewers to purchase tickets.
Tickets for Grand Stand seating at City Hall are $20 per person, but are now sold out. Tickets to both Fancy Brigade Finales (at noon and 5 p.m.) can be purchased for $20 to $25 online.
Spectators are encouraged to leave their cars behind and take public transportation into the city. But, those who drive should plan to park in a garage.
Those taking public transit can plan to take the regional rail to Suburban Station or the subway to the City Hall stop. From there, guests can easily walk to Broad Street to watch the family-friendly parade.
MummersFest and Fancy Brigade Finale
Running through Wednesday, December 31, MummersFest returns to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the famous Philadelphia New Year’s Day parade. As the Mummers put the finishing touches on their costumes and performances, guests can take a guided tour of the action, talk to a Mummers designer and participate in family-friendly activities. Tickets to MummersFest are $4 per person.
Once the Fancy Brigades finish the entire route — another new parade feature this year — they head to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the Fancy Brigade Finale. The finales will take place at noon and 5 p.m. and promises a variety of highly entertaining performances for New Year’s Day revelers. Tickets are required for the finale and can be purchased online.
2015 Mummers Parade
When: Thursday, January 1, 10 a.m.-about 6 p.m
Where: Parade runs along Broad Street, beginning at City Hall and ending at Washington Avenue
Cost: Free along main route
More info: www.mummers.com