Grand Illumination Parade Day Of Information

The Grand Illumination Parade is a beloved holiday tradition for many in Hampton Roads. Let us help you have the best experience!

When and Where is the parade?

Saturday, November 23 in Downtown Norfolk @ 7pm.

What time does the parade start?

The synchronized countdown and grand illumination of the skylines and parade begin at 7pm.

How long is the parade?

About an hour from the time the first unit reaches your location along the parade route.

Is the Parade Free?

The parade is free and open to the public and there is plenty of free seating available along the 2 mile route. DNC Street seats for the 2019 Grand Illumination Parade are currently sold out, are available for purchase, and tickets for the Waterside District VIP Experience are only available directly through Waterside District. Click here to purchase Waterside District VIP Experience tickets.

Can we bring chairs?

Yes. But please stay with your chairs. Unattended items are not allowed along the parade route and will be removed.

Is there food for sale?

Yes, there are a variety of vendors outside along the parade route. Or you can get fill up at one of our many restaurants along the parade route.

Are you still accepting applications to participate in the parade?  (Parade units and vendors)

Applications are no longer being accepted for parade units.

What is the parade route?

The 2-mile parade route begins at the corner of St. Paul’s Blvd and Main Street. It travels along Main Street to Granby Street, heading North. It then turns onto Freemason Street going west, turns onto Boush Street, heading south and finishes on Waterside Drive and Water Street in front of the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel.  

What time should I arrive Downtown?

We recommend you arrive as early as possible; heavy congestion starts at 5pm. Early bird parking rates of $2 are available until 5pm at most garages.

Consider Downtown Norfolk’s delectable dining options or get a jump on your holiday shopping as some great incentives to get here early!

Is there any entertainment before the parade?

Absolutely! Take a step back in time at Dicken’s Christmas Towne, get your ice-skating on at MacArthur on Ice, and while you're there, check out the giant interactive seesaw experience, Impulse, at MacArthur Center Green. Various entertainment will also be available at Waterside District and on the parade route starting at 5:30pm.

What is the best exit to take from I-264W?

We recommend that you avoid Waterside Drive after 5pm. Instead, take City Hall Avenue Exit 10 or Brambleton Avenue Exit 11. Find additional travel information here.

Will there be porta-johns along the parade route?


What is the best garage to park in?

There isn’t exactly a “best” garage we recommend. It all depends on where you want to sit on the parade route and what direction you are entering downtown from. Go to our website for a list of garages and locations to familiarize yourself.  

How much will parking cost?

Most city garages are collect on entry (COE) and accept cash or credit. Downtown Norfolk Garages are $2 COE until 5pm and $5 COE from 5pm – close. Click here for a list of all garage locations.

The garage at Norfolk Hilton The Main Hotel will NOT be COE, they will have regular hourly rates, pay on exit. The Dominion Tower garage will be $5 COE (cash or credit) from 3pm – 6pm. 

What are Street Seats and how can I purchase?

DNC Street Seats for the 2019 Grand Illumination Parade are sold out. Waterside District VIP Experience is still available.

Street seats are white folding chairs located in specific sections along the parade route.
General Admission seats are $10 and they are located on Main Street and Granby Street. Seating is first come, first serve in the section you purchase tickets in.
VIP street seats are $25 and they are located on Main Street in front of the ICON building. You can reserve a specific seat within the section and it includes a hot-beverage and goodie bag, and porta-johns nearby. 

Waterside District is offering the Waterside District VIP experience.The Waterside District VIP Experience tickets are sold directly through Waterside. Click here to purchase Waterside District VIP Experience tickets.

How can I see the parade if I do not attend in person?

Online & Facebook:

The Grand Illumination Parade will be on Facebook Live @DowntownNorfolk  on Saturday, November 23 at 7pm.  You will be able to see the parade’s marching bands, giant balloons, floats, and walking units.

Along with the traditional parade coverage, when you view the parade on Facebook Live you can expect to see even more than before with behind the scenes action throughout the day, interviews with parade participants, different vantage points from all along the route and all the spontaneous fun and unexpected entertainment that comes along with a Facebook Live broadcast. 

How to watch on Facebook Live:

Is the route handicap friendly?

All of the viewing areas are ADA accessible. If you have any concerns along the route, please see one of our volunteers in a bright green safety vest.

What time will the streets close and re-open?

Park Avenue and Water Street in the Harbor Park area will close at noon on November 23. A rolling closure of streets on or adjacent to the parade route will begin about 6pm.
NOTE: street closures are under the control of the Norfolk Police Department and are subject to change. Streets will reopen as soon as possible after the parade. No later than 11pm.