As 2019 approaches, so does Philadelphia’s most bedazzled, sequined spectacle: the Mummers Parade. Not much is changing this year, but here’s everything you need to know to partake in the 118-year-old New Year’s Day tradition. The forecast calls for temperatures nearing the 50s, so you might get away with leaving the hand warmers at home.
This year’s parade will follow the same route as last year, starting off at 9 a.m. from the judging area at 15th and Market Streets and ending at the intersection of Broad and Washington Streets.
In addition to the judging area, the string bands also will perform in front of the Union League at Broad and Sansom Streets, and by the High School for Creative and Performing Arts at Broad and Carpenter Streets. The comics, wenches, and fancy brigades will perform at the judging area, as well as at Broad and Pine Streets, and Broad and Carpenter.
You can purchase bleacher seating at the Independence Visitor Center for $20 (call 800-537-7676 for tickets), but all other areas along the parade route are free. Crowds get smaller as you move farther south, so if you don’t want to be stuck in a sea of people, consider hanging out at the last performance stop. You can find performance orders at mrmummer.com.
You can watch the parade live on PHL17. Out-of-towners can stream the parade online, including at mrmummer.com. PHL17 has reported that its video player is not compatible with Internet Explorer, so you might try Google Chrome or Firefox if you’re having issues streaming.
The Mummers Fancy Brigade Finale will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on New Year’s Day. It’s the perfect option to enjoy the spirit of the Mummers Parade indoors, especially with little ones. The show typically runs for two and a half hours and includes 12 routines, all of which have been choreographed by the fancy brigade clubs.
Reserved center seats are $25; reserved side seats are $20. You can purchase tickets to either show at paciolantix.com.
For a sneak peek at Mummers-themed activities before the parade, check out MummersFest at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from Friday, Dec. 28, to Monday, Dec. 31. Visitors can make crafts, try on Mummers costumes, watch clubs rehearse their routines, and take a guided tour with a veteran brigade captain.
Hours are 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, noon to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Monday. Tickets are $5.
The best way to get into the city is by SEPTA as many of the roads around the parade route will be closed. All trains, trolleys, and buses will be running on a Sunday schedule, which means every 20 minutes if you’re catching the Broad Street Line to one of the closest stops along the route. Buses around City Hall and the route will be detoured.
You can bring lawn chairs to set up on Broad Street, and we also recommend packing a thermos — you can refill at Wawa (at 12th and Market Streets, or Broad and Walnut Streets).
If you want a slight change of scenery, stop by the Kimmel Center’s free New Year’s Day celebration for activities and concerts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Upstairs, the Broad Street Bash ($80) offers pastries, Bloody Marys, and even better views from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; the views are free and a cash bar is open after 3:30 p.m.