The annual parade, which makes its way from City Hall to Broad Street and Washington Avenue, is a favorite Philadelphia tradition that’s back with more than 10,000 Mummers who will parade down one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares.
There are a small number of ticketed parade viewing areas, but most of the parade is completely free to watch.
Read on for our guide to the Mummers Parade.
Mummers are men and women of all ages who belong to more than 40 organized clubs that make up the parade participants. The clubs, split into six categories — Comics, Wench Brigades, Fancies, String Bands, Fancy Brigades and the new Philadelphia division — function mainly to stage their playful performances on New Year’s Day.
The parade begins at 9 a.m. and continues well into the afternoon. The shorter route lends itself to denser crowds, so for sidewalk seating, fans should arrive early to claim their spots.
Last year saw a shake-up in tradition as the parade shifted its route, and again this year, instead of beginning in South Philly, the parade begins at City Hall with judging taking place at 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
It then goes south on Broad Street to its end point at Washington Avenue. Once the Fancy Brigades finish the entire route — an addition to last year’s parade — they head to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for their ticketed performances at noon and at 5 p.m.
Want a sneak peek of what’s to come? Before heading to the judging stand, Mummers do quick run-throughs of their routines as they line up on John F. Kennedy Boulevard between 16th and 22nd streets. Here, spectators can also meet the performers, get a close-up look at the spectacular costumes and even snap Instagram-worthy photos with the marchers.
Best Places To Watch
• Broad Street and Washington Avenue: Folks can view all the action on Jumbotrons and purchase food and beverages from vendors set up in tents for the occasion.
• The Kimmel Center: The Kimmel Center hosts a variety of fun events to ring in the new year with the Mummers. Beginning at 10 a.m., enjoy birds-eye views of the parade, live performances, resolution crafts, free hot chocolate and more.
• 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.
Tickets for bleacher seating at City Hall (15th and Market streets) are available at the Independence Visitor Center or online for $20. Tickets to both Fancy Brigade Finales can be purchased online for $20 to $25 or at the Independence Visitor Center.
Beyond the aforementioned ticketed areas, it is completely free to watch the Mummers Parade.
What better way to kick off 2016 than with this perennial Philadelphia tradition!