The first day of the new year always calls for a celebration — let’s hear it for 2018! — and for more than a century, Philadelphia has marked the new year with a cavalcade of 10,000 vividly costumed Mummers.
Kicking off at 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day, the SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade takes over Broad Street (from City Hall to Washington Avenue) with a massive, day-long parade and party full of free entertainment.
Watch the Mummers strut, sashay and shuffle their way down the Center City’s main thoroughfare in this 118-year-old City of Brotherly Love tradition.
MUMMERS PARADE FAST FACTS
- The SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade runs 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on January 1, 2018.
- The parade travels down Broad Street, starting at City Hall and ending at Washington Avenue.
- Tickets to the indoor Mummers Fancy Brigade Finale shows are available online.
- Beyond the Mummers, some museums, ice skating rinks and other attractions are open on New Year’s Day.
Below, we have a guide with all of the details you need to plan your Mummers Parade outing along with a few other fun ideas to fill the first day of 2018!
The 118th Mummers Parade
Overview & Parade Route
Mummers are men and women of all ages who belong to more than 40 organized clubs that together participate in the annual New Year’s Day parade. The clubs are split into five categories — Comics, Wench Brigades, Fancies, String Bands and Fancy Brigades — that work all year-long to craft playful performances for viewers to watch.
The parade begins at 9 a.m. and continues into the evening, ending approximately at 6 p.m. City Hall marks the starting point, with two judging stations situated in the area.
The progression will then proceed down Broad Street to end at Washington Avenue. Once the Fancy Brigades — which lead the parade — finish the entire route, they head to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for ticketed performances at 11:30 a.m. and at 5 p.m.
Best Places To Watch
The main performance area is at City Hall, but any spot along Broad Street can be a great vantage point. Top spots for a guaranteed view of the parade include:
• Broad Street and Washington Avenue: At the end of the parade route, folks can view all of the action and purchase food and beverages from vendors set up in tents for the occasion.
• Creative and Performing Arts School: At Broad and Carpenter streets, just outside of the large Creative and Performing Arts School, the Mummers queue up for regular performances all day.
• Broad Street and Pine Street: Mid-parade, the Fancy, Wenches, Comics and Fancy Brigades halt the procession to dance at this new-in-2018 performance area.
• City Hall: Located right next to a judging station where each division will perform, the west side of City Hall at Market Street is one of the best places to catch the parade. Limited bleacher seating is available, too, and tickets for the seats can be purchased at the Independence Visitor Center.
New Year’s Day Celebration at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
For those looking to step out of the fray on Broad Street — but still watch the parade — stop by the free New Year’s Day Celebration at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
The soaring Commonwealth Plaza on the ground floor inside the Kimmel Center hosts free entertainment and activities all day from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Upstairs at the Kimmel Center, a ticketed Broad Street Bash brunch by Garces Events includes food, drinks and access to the Kimmel Center’s Balcony overlooking Broad Street. Tickets for the Garces brunch are $80 for adults, $25 for kids 12 and under and $50 for a designated driver. Note that tickets — which definitely have a history of selling out — are required for entry to the area and access to the balcony.
Fancy Brigade Finale Tickets
The outdoor Mummers Parade is entirely free and no tickets are needed to attend.
However, those looking to catch the Fancy Brigade Finales at the Pennsylvania Convention Center must purchase a ticket for $20 to $25 either online or in-person at the Independence Visitor Center.
Also, those who wish to sit in the bleachers near City Hall to watch the parade must pick up a ticket, too. Bleacher tickets can only be purchased in-person at the Independence Visitor Center.
More Things to Do on New Year’s Day
Seeking to go beyond the Mummers and Broad Street? There are tons of other activities citywide to fill the first day of 2018.
Those looking to enjoy the outdoors can lace up skates and hit Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest on the Delaware River Waterfront or the Rothman Ice Rink at Wintergarden at Dilworth Park, both operating on New Year’s Day. Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and the Rothman Ice Rink is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Longwood Gardens also offers the chance to get outside. Visitors to the Kennett Square garden can tour its festively bedecked grounds anytime from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Currently hosting A Longwood Christmas, the gardens feature as many as 500,000 twinkling lights while the indoor four-acre Conservatory is filled with seasonal plants of all kinds. Note: Be sure to purchase advance tickets. Holidays often sell out.
For garden marveling of a different sort, art-lovers can head to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a city structure lined with mosaic-made murals. The urban gardens are open on New Year’s Day from noon to 6 p.m. and host a crafting session (free with admission) inviting visitors to create their own mosaicked Mummer’s masks.
Start the year off right by exploring the City of Brotherly Love!