Thanksgiving is coming on Thursday, November 24 and since its origin in 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City has marked the official start of the holiday season.
With more than 3.5 million spectators and more than 50 million television viewers nationwide, the parade is our 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 90th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:
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.
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.
Lineup: For the 90th edition, the famed spectacle’s line-up will feature 16 giant character balloons; 27 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles and trycaloons; 26 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; and 16 marching bands and performance groups.
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and the rest of the Muppets will dazzle and delight millions of fans as they kick off the celebration as only they can, with their signature musical and comedic revelry.
This year, three new giant characters will take center stage including the return of Peanuts loveable blockhead Charlie Brown and a colorful and whimsical Diary of A Wimpy Kid , as well as the debut of the stars of DreamWorks’ Trolls in a multi-character balloon. Returning balloons are Angry Birds’ Red, The Elf on the Shelf, Paddington the Bear, Thomas the Tank Engine, and many more!
Make it a Staycation: Traveling out of town and want to make it a weekend trip? Or maybe you want to create the most awesome Staycation ever? 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 facing 6th Avenue provide great views.
- 1 Hotel Central Park: Offering a “Thanksgiving Parade & Buffet” package that gets you close to the action and let’s you enjoy a special Thanksgiving Breakfast Buffet and an overnight stay.
- Courtyard by Marriott New York Manhattan/Herald Square: Enjoy front row views of the parade from your hotel room with special Thanksgiving Day Parade packages.
- JW Marriott Essex House New York: Set right on Central Park South, the rooms offer perfect parade viewing from a posh, plush, perch.
- The Quin: This boutique spot along the parade route on 6th Avenue offers a luxurious way to enjoy the parade.
And don’t forget the turkey dinner! Click here are some great options.
2) Skip the parade and see the balloons in all their glory on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 23. 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.