Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade NYC

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Central Park to Macy's Herald Square New York



9am - 12:30pm

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Making its debut in 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has secured its spot as one of the most extravagant celebrations in the entire country.  Originally named the Macy’s Christmas Day Parade, and now commonly referred to as the Macy’s Day Parade, this vibrant, colorful gathering lures in 44 million television viewers and 3 million live viewers every year.  The parade New York showcases annually has always aired in Manhattan, with the exception of 1942 to 1944 when the parade was temporarily suspended during World War II.  First televised in 1939, the three hour event  takes place at 9am on Thanksgiving Day and has always unveiled a visit from Santa.  The 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade featured over 1600 cheerleaders and dancers, 850 clowns, 15 giant character balloons, 27 floats, 12 marching bands, 43 novelty, ornament balloons, balloonheads, and balloonicles, and a plethora of marvelous performers including Kanye West and Carrie Underwood.

View the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Map!

Attending the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

If you’re planning on attending the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade NYC, being prepared is key.  The Macys parade route begins at 77th Street and Central Park West and ends at 7th Avenue and 34th Street.  Arriving at approximately 6am on Thanksgiving Day should secure you a spot with a good view of the parade as most visitors arrive after 7am.  There are several places designated for live viewers of the Macys parade: 

The crowd arriving early to ensure a great position to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The crowd arriving early to ensure a great position to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

  • Central Park West: on the West side of the street from 70th Street to Columbus Circle and the East side of the street from 70th Street to 65th Street.
  • Columbus Circle: on the West side of the street.
  • 7th Avenue: between 54th Street and 42nd Street.
  • 42nd Street: from 7th Avenue to 6th Avenue.
  • 6th Avenue: between 42nd Street and 34th Street
  • 34th Street: on the South side of the street between Broadway and 7th Avenue.

While bringing lawn chairs is permitted, viewers are advised not to.  Not only will standing patrons obstruct your view, but the streets become so overpopulated that hanging on to your chair will be the last thing you want to deal with.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Tips & Details!

Getting to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

When traveling to the Macys New York parade, the best way of travel is public transit.  While street parking is free, the chances of actually finding a spot are slim to none.  Parking garages are open as well but severely hike their prices up for the Thanksgiving parade.  Expect to pay around $50 to park in any parking garage in the vicinity of the Macys Day Parade.  On top of finding a parking spot, another obstacle will be traffic.  There are a number of road closures lasting from midnight to 3pm on Thanksgiving day depending on clean-up:

A large crowd arrived early to watch the NYC Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A large crowd arrived early to watch the NYC Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

  • Central Park West: from West 59th Street to West 81st Street
  • Broadway: between 34th Street and 59th Street
  • 7th Avenue: between 33rd Street and 59th Street
  • 6th Avenue: between 34th Street and 42nd Street

To beat the hassle, it’s best to travel by Subway to the Macys Thanksgiving Parade: take the “D” train to 34th Street/Herald Square or to the 59th Street/Columbus Circle stop.  You can also take the “C” train to the 42nd Street/Times Square stop, or the 50th Street/8th Avenue stop, the 59th Street/Columbus Circle stop, the 72nd Street/Central Park West stop or the 81st Street/Central Park West stop.

Photos of the Preparation of the Balloons for the Parade

NYCTourist Travel Info

Hotels along the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Route

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NYCTourist Travel Info

Restaurants along the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Route

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons

Balloons are inflated the night before the Thanksgiving Day Parade

Balloons are inflated the night before the Thanksgiving Day Parade

An aspect of the Macy’s Day Parade that remains dear to all hearts is the gigantic, flashy display of balloon characters that capture the inner-child of every viewer.  Originally, the Macys parade route was filled with employees and professional entertainers in flamboyant costumes, floats, bands, and live animals from the Central Park Zoo.  In 1927, massive balloons replaced the live animals beginning with the infamous, Felix the Cat.  This balloon character practice has now become a yearly tradition and a fundamental highlight of the NYC parade.  Every year the night before the celebration, thousands gather between 77th Street and 81st Street near the American Museum of Natural History between 3pm and 10pm to watch the classic characters fill with helium.  The first step is to unfold the balloons before covering them with a net that is bound by sandbags.  Then helium is released, giving shape to the enlarged characters everyone adores.  In recent years, a “falloon” has been introduced to the parade NYC proudly supports, which consists of a float with balloon characters on it.  Classic animals and characters over the years have included Betty Boop, Rockey & Bullwinkle, SpongeBob Square Pants, and Snoopy, the parade character made with the most balloons in parade history.  While Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny peacefully soar over Broadway, not all characters have had the easiest journey on there way to Bryant Park.  In 1957, Popeye’s Sailor Hat filled with rain water, forcing him to steer off-course and drench the nearby parade-goers.  In 1986, high winds forced Raggedy Ann to crash into a lamppost, launching a lamp into a city street, fortunately there were no injuries.  

Hotels Overlooking the Macy's Day Parade

Cheering on the marching bands and dancers of the Macys Thanksgiving Parade through a hotel window has also been quite a tradition for many Americans.  Although rates can be quite pricey, the experience is one that will never leave your memory.  While booking your NYC hotel overlooking the Macy’s Day Parade, be sure to contact hotel personnel to ensure that you have booked a room with a view.  Many hotels boast about their amazing view on Thanksgiving day but that view is not guaranteed for all guests.  Also make sure you book early, out-of-towners are not the only parade-goers that are booking rooms.  Many local New Yorkers enjoy the view from above and book hotels with their homes close by.  Here are some favorite hotels with awesome views of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade:

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade