All About The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City

Are you planning on celebrating Turkey Day in New York City this November?

macy's

While the Big Apple always has a lot to offer, as a tourist visiting over Thanksgiving, it’d be a shame for you to miss Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This city-wide celebration has been a tradition since 1924, making it one of the oldest Thanksgiving day parades in the country. Today, the parade attracts 2.5 million attendees, as well as another 44 million who view the televised parade.

What does the parade have to offer?

Balloons

snoopy balloon

A balloon of Snoopy, the famous beagle Charles Schultz’s comic strip, Peanuts.

spiderman balloon

A Spiderman balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City floats above the streets of Peter Parker’s hometown.

Floats

macy's turkey

The guest of honor, the Thanksgiving turkey carries some pilgrims through the streets of NYC during the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

energizer bunny float

The energizer bunny makes his way through NYC during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Performers

The Rockettes performance during the 81st Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Rockettes performance during the 81st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Marching Bands

marching band

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Marching Band takes the streets.

Ceremonial Marches

The Air Force marches through New York City during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Air Force marches through New York City during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

So, what should you prepare for?

  • Crowds – Since 2.5 million people will be in attendance, you can expect something more than the typical New York crowds. If you want a good spot at the parade, get there early–many long-time attendees will suggest hitting the streets before 7am.
  • Cold – The late November temperatures in New York range from just above freezing (34˚F, 1.1˚C) to the low 40s (about 5˚C). Regardless of whether you’ll be standing outside to watch the parade or looking on from the comfort of your hotel room, it’s hard, maybe even impossible, to see New York City without experiencing the weather. So, if you plan on leaving your hotel at all during your stay, it’d be wise to equip yourself accordingly… i.e. bring warm clothing. That includes gloves, hats, warm socks, closed toed shoes, and whatever else you’ll need to keep cozy.
  • Know the route – the parade starts at the intersection of 77th St. and Central Park West, and continues down Central Park West until the participants turn east onto Central Park South, whereupon they march, float, or roll straight before continuing south down 6th Ave. until they reach their endpoint at Macy’s in Herald Square.
  • Smartly stake out your spot – know the parade’s route, and come with some understanding of where you’ll get the best view. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade veterans suggest picking a spot on the Upper West Side, since that’s where the parade begins and ends. Additionally, take your bathroom breaks into account. Set your group up near restaurants, stores, or other establishments that will let you use their bathrooms.

Wherever you are this Turkey Day, eat well and enjoy!

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