The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City is as American as apple pie (or in this case, pumpkin pie). With more than 3.5 million spectators and more than 50 million television viewers nationwide, the American family holiday tradition is the nation’s most celebrated and anticipated holiday treat. And it’s definitely a NYC event to experience once in your lifetime.
Here are 3 ways to see the 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats:
1) Put Yourself at the Heart of the Action in NYC: Columbus Circle is an insider favorite. The west side of the street on Central Park West from 59th to 75th Streets, where the Parade runs from about 9 am until 10:30 am, is also a good spot. If you prefer to arrive later, further down the route on 6th Avenue may be best – the Parade reaches this area around 9:30 am. We don’t suggest viewing from 6th Avenue between 34th and 38th Streets or in front of Macy’s Herald Square, which provides very limited viewing due to the TV broadcast.
Before you get started:
Route: The parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West. The procession marches to Columbus Circle, turns onto Central Park South and goes down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas to 34th Street. There it makes its final turn west and ends at 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square.
The Balloons: This year’s line-up will feature 17 giant character balloons; 24 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles, and trycaloons; 27 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; 12 marching bands; a host of celebrity performers; and of course, the one-and-only Santa Claus.
Plus, four new giant characters will take center stage including Angry Birds’ Red, the pre-historic and legendary DINO by Sinclair Oil, Ice Age’s Scrat and his Acorn, and Ronald McDonald debuting in his fourth whimsical giant balloon.
Traveling out of town and want to make it a weekend trip? Area hotels are offering Thanksgiving Day Parade specials with parade views right from your room. These sell out fast, so we recommended calling now to get a reservation:
- New York Hilton Midtown: located directly on the parade route (corner of 54th Street and 6th Avenue) the rooms provide great views.
- JW Marriott Essex House New York: located on Central Park South, the rooms offer perfect parade viewing.
- The Quin: located on the parade route on 6th Avenue offers a luxurious way to enjoy the parade
2) Skip the parade and see the balloons in all their glory on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 25. The Macy’s Giant Balloon Inflation is an exciting event for families to see the balloons come to life. It takes place around the American Museum of Natural History at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue. The balloons are inflated between 3 pm – 10 pm, but arrive early (or come late if you have night owls) to avoid the crowds.
3) From your home. On the couch. In your pajamas. If you have very young children and/or hate crowds, this is truly the best way to enjoy the parade. Trust us. This year, the TODAY Show will host the three-hour broadcast from 9 am – 12 pm ET/PT.