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How To Prepare for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

NYC Macy's Day Parade

An annual tradition since 1924, the infamous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has reached record numbers of 3.5 million people in attendance in the past. It is important that you know the best vantage points around the city for watching the thousands of entertainers, including dancers and clowns, as well as the creatively decorated parade floats. We are also providing some useful tips to consider before you embark on your Thanksgiving Day adventure in Manhattan.

The 2019 parade will fall on Thursday November 28th from 9a.m. – 12p.m. & will feature an unparalleled A-list of celebrities, including: Celine Dion, Ciara, the Black Eyed Peas, Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel, Natasha Bedingfield and many more.

Where to Watch the Parade

  • Street Side: The best option if you can secure a spot? Right on the street. Why? Because it’s free. However, you need to start lining the streets hours before the parade starts in order to stake your claim and, once you have secured an area, we would recommend not leaving since that real estate is limited and in high demand. But which street? Many of the performances occur around 34th Street, so be prepared for a high crowd volume, especially if you are traveling and attending with children. There are more than 2.5 miles of public viewing spots, so if you do not feel the need to be in the middle of the action, then there is typically more space in the higher number streets. If this is your desired location option, be prepared to dress warmly, wear comfortable shoes, and to bring snacks and warm beverages to keep you satisfied.
  • Grandstand Tickets: Although these are typically reserved for friends and family members of people participating in the parade festivities and not often sold to the general public, there is sometimes a way to obtain them. Ask around, search the web, check ticket sites and see if luck is on your side. Though beware, these highly sought after tickets often come with a hefty price tag.
  • Book a Hotel Room with a Parade Route View: If your budget allows for you to experience a vacation on the more lavish side and accounts for spending the big bucks, then look into booking a hotel along the parade route with a parade route view, of course. Some hotels have offered package options in the past so make sure that you check out respective hotel websites before completing your booking. Hotels that have featured some type of Thanksgiving package option in the past have included: Mandarin Oriental, New York Hilton Midtown, the JW Marriott, and the Residence Inn Manhattan/Times Square. Additional hotels that offer prime parade views are the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, the Warwick New York, and the Quin Central Park, a modern boutique hotel.

Tips for Viewing the Parade

  • If you want a recommendation straight from the horse’s mouth, Macy’s recommends watching the parade between 61st and 72nd Streets on Central Park West.
  • The parade route has changed in the past, so make sure that you’re checking this site for updates. In addition to the route, you can also access the complete parade lineup and other relevant information there.
  • Use the power of social media for real-time updates. Follow @Macys on Twitter for the most accurate and updated details. Search the hashtag #macysparade to view and share photos and to join the Thanksgiving Day Parade conversation.
  • Interested in watching the big balloons come to life? Check out the area between 77th and 81st Streets on the Wednesday night before the parade, and look forward to seeing characters like Snoopy, Pikachu, Smokey the Bear, Trolls and Olaf in action.
  • Many people bring folding chairs or some other type of seating option to the parade since it can turn into a very long morning and afternoon, especially if you are the person responsible for finding a location to perch.
  • Make sure to use the restroom before you settle in to view the parade as there are not any bathroom facilities along the route.

Because of the nature of the parade, many attractions along the route will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, so we would recommend leaving the weekend to explore. Be sure to check out some of the popular tours that New York Sightseeing offers ahead of your visit so that you can make the most of your post-Turkey Day weekend in the Big Apple.

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