Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013: Route map and parade information

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a hallowed New York tradition. Find out where to watch the parade with our route map and parade information.

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  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012

Photograph: Filip Wolak

86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2012


Before America collectively fashions a can holder out of its beer gut and settles in to watch some football, all eyes turn to Manhattan and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, an annual pageant of giant balloons, floats, cheerleaders, clowns, marching bands, Broadway shows and celebs that range, for the 2013 edition, from Joe Namath to Jimmy Fallon with the cast of Sesame Street. Sure, it's fun to watch in your PJs, but if you have visitors in town, take them to watch the procession in person. Use our guide to the parade route, this year's balloons and floats, and nearby restaurants, bars and festive attractions to show your guests a world-renowned New York experience.

RECOMMENDED: Thanksgiving in New York guide

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route map

Where to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade


There are three recommended stretches or spots on the route for watching the parade: the first leg along Central Park West, Time Warner Center and, finally, along Sixth Avenue between Central Park South and 38th Street. The section from 38th Street to Herald Square and Macy's department store is the telecast area and closed to the public. While there is limited space for viewing along the south side of 34th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, the sight lines are seriously compromised by cameras, lights and scaffolding.

Central Park West: Viewing starts at 75th Street (two blocks down from the official start of the parade) and is only open to the public on the west side. Central Park is closed for invite-only grandstand seating. The parade runs along this stretch from 9–10:30am, so early birds who don't mind turning up at 6am to snag a prime spot should flock here.

Time Warner Center: The Shops at Columbus Circle open at 9am on Thanksgiving Day. From the second and third floors of the mall, you'll enjoy an elevated view of the parade streaming down Central Park West. As an added bonus you'll also get to see the Holiday Under the Stars light display. Twofer!

Sixth Avenue: The floats and balloons reach Sixth Avenue at about 9:30am, so arrive at this 21-block portion as late as 7am and you should still find a good spot.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons and floats

Browse some of the iconic inflatables you'll see during the parade, from classic characters like Spider-Man to Macy's stalwarts like Harold the Fireman (who dates back to 1948). We start our gallery with four newcomers for 2013.


  • Photograph: Courtesy Macys

    Adventure Time with Finn and Jake

    The 2007 viral sensation turned award-winning Cartoon Network series is approaching its 150th episode. If that isn’t a sign of having arrived, this 40-foot inflatable surely is.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Macys

    SpongeBob SquarePants

    The sea-dwelling scrubber has been redesigned with a Santa hat, and is still the only square balloon in the lot. It’s a difficult form to achieve—800 internal tie-lines create right angles in what would otherwise be a spherical balloon.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Macys

    Snoopy and Woodstock

    An oldie but a goodie, this is the seventh incarnation of Charles M. Schulz’s philosophical canine at the parade, this time accompanied by his trusty avian pal.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Macys

    Toothless

    The Viking-befriending, vegetarian reptile from DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon will cast a 72-foot-long shadow over Sixth Avenue, making him one of the lengthiest (and cutest) in the line.

  • Photograph: courtesy Macy's Inc.

    Hello Kitty

    The feline first appeared in 2007’s parade, but returned in 2012 flying a retro airplane.

  • Photograph: courtesy Macy's Inc.

    The Elf on the Shelf

    Santa’s snitch—ahem, Santa’s helper—reports on whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

  • Photograph: courtesy Macy's Inc.

    Papa Smurf

    The big, blue daddy resurfaces after The Smurfs 2, which came out this past summer.

  • Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

    Buzz Lightyear

    The costar of Disney-Pixar's Toy Story makes his sixth appearance at the parade this year.

    Pictured: The 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2011

     

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Julius

    Fashion designer Paul Frank's monkey is one of the largest balloons in the parade, and is shown here in model form at the Macy's Parade Studio.

     

     

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    Pikachu

    Honestly, we thought kids these days had moved past Pokémon. Shows what we know—pass our pipes and slippers, please.

    Pictured: The 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2010

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    Pillsbury Doughboy

    We can only hope organizers have noticed the similarities between the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and made contingency plans in case Doughboy goes on a similar rampage.

    Pictured: The 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2010

  • Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

    Ronald McDonald

    The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade boasts plenty of clown troupes making mischief and executing pratfalls on the ground, but Ronald steals the scene by ice-skating in slo-mo. Well, that and being a massive 76 feet long, 29 feet wide and 49 feet tall.

    Pictured: The 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2011

     

     

  • Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

    Spider-Man

    Andrew Garfield, who played Spidey in the franchise reboot, may be a Hollywood A-lister, but the Macy's version needs nine handlers. We give the award for the biggest diva to the balloon!

    Pictured: The 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2011

     

  • Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

    Sonic the Hedgehog

    Sega's speedy mammal was the first Macy's Parade inflatable to be based on a video game.

    Pictured: The 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2011

     

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    Virginia

    This balloon is modeled on the animated story of Virginia O’Hanlon, a precocious young eight-year-old who wrote to New York newspaper The Sun in 1897 to ask if Santa was real. The Sun editors, who clearly were not interested in fact-checking, responded with an editorial that claimed Santa Claus was real and Barack Obama is not a citizen of the USA. Or something. We don't know. We didn't have time to fact check.

    Pictured: The 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2010

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    Macy's Parade Elf Family

    The three elves are called Kit, Charlie and C.J. We're not sure who these are—we were introduced once at a party, but instantly forgot their names, and we've known them too long to ask now. Way too awkward.

    Pictured: The 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2010

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    Red/white candy cane

    An aptly named red-and-white striped candy cane that's 20 feet tall.

    Pictured: The 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2010

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    Big Man Santa

    Macy's Santa Claus has a belly that's 21 feet wide.

    Pictured: The 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2010

  • Harold the Fireman

    This tribute to the FDNY first appeared in 1948. We're pleased to see Harold taking part in Movember. Nice 'stache, bro!

    Pictured: The 83rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2009

Photograph: Courtesy Macys

Adventure Time with Finn and Jake

The 2007 viral sensation turned award-winning Cartoon Network series is approaching its 150th episode. If that isn’t a sign of having arrived, this 40-foot inflatable surely is.

Restaurants near the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route

Hill Country

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Claim one of the picnic tables for a Southern-style turkey throwdown at Elizabeth Karmel’s popular meat-by-the-pound honky-tonk.

Price: $35, children 10 and under $15
On the menu: Chow down on pit-smoked turkey with pan gravy, Texas-toast stuffing and sweet-potato casserole, plus pies, like pumpkin-ginger streusel.

  1. 30 W 26th St, (between Broadway and Sixth Ave)
More info

Fishtag

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Chef Michael Psilakis’s neighborhood haunt features a Mediterranean-inspired, budget-friendly throwdown for the gut-busting meal.

Price: $40, with wine or beer pairing $62
On the menu: Gorge on creative fall dishes, including delicata squash and Cape May blue cheese, grilled prawns bruschetta with feta, smoked-turkey tortellini in turkey broth, turducken with kabocha squash puree, and a caramelized apple tart with walnut gelato.

  1. 222 W 79th St, (between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway), 10024
More info

The National Bar & Dining Rooms

  • Price band: 4/4

Midtowners can settle into Geoffrey Zakarian’s swank American bistro for an elegant Thanksgiving meal.

Price: $65
On the menu: The upmarket multicourse meal includes carrot-ginger soup with cumin cream and curried apple; roasted turkey with chestnut stuffing; farro risotta with butternut squash, rapini and currants; and desserts, such as a butternut squash crumble cake.

  1. The Benjamin, 557 Lexington Ave, (at 50th St), 10022
Book online

The Breslin Bar & Dining Room

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Restaurateur Ken Friedman and chef April Bloomfield’s buzzy gastropub offers stellar Anglophile fare for the autumnal repast.

Price: $70, with wine pairing $120; parties of eight or more only
On the menu: For the three-course meal, choose from selections like chopped-liver toast with pumpkin fondue, roasted turkey with gravy and chestnut stuffing, and cabbage salad with pecorino, plus assorted house-made pies.

  1. Ace Hotel, 16 W 29th St, (at Broadway)
More info

Telepan

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Locavores can find a sophisticated farm-to-table spread at Bill Telepan’s Upper West Side favorite.

Price: $85, children 12 and under $40
On the menu: Options for the three-course repast include burrata mezzaluna with meatballs and mushrooms; roasted organic turkey with traditional Thanksgiving trimmings, heritage pork with lentils and fingerling potatoes, or roasted trout with fennel-and-potato salad; and hot apple pie with cinnamon-caramel ice cream.

  1. 72 W 69th St, (at Columbus Ave)
Book online

The Lambs Club

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

The dark, wood-paneled dining room and Art Deco grandeur set the stage for a Gatsby-esque mood and Geoffrey Zakarian’s clubby throwback fare.

Price: $85
On the menu: The three-course meal includes options such as heirloom apple salad with licorice herbs; heritage turkey leg confit or red-wine-glazed beef short rib with polenta and egg, and barley porridge; and a selection of Thanksgiving pastries.

  1. 132 W 44th St, (between Sixth and Seventh Aves)
Book online

Dovetail

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

John Fraser’s ambitious Upper West Side restaurant showcases sophisticated American food.

Price: $85
On the menu: For your three-course meal, choose from a variety of selections, including a Maine lobster with cabbage and chestnuts; slow-roasted turkey with leg confit, Swiss chard, sweet potato and walnuts; and a crispy apple galette with rosemary caramel and sour-cream ice cream.

  1. 103 W 77th St, (at Columbus Ave)
More info
See more of the best restaurants for Thanksgiving

Bars near the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

P.J. Carney’s

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 906 Seventh Ave, (between 57th and 58th Sts), 10019
More info

Rum House

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 228 W 47th St, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves), 10036
More info

The Ginger Man

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 11 E 36th St, (between Fifth and Madison Aves), 10016
More info

Jimmy’s Corner

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 140 W 44th St, (between Sixth Ave and Broadway), 10036
More info

Attractions to see after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is free and open late. Don’t get too excited—the admission may be gratis, but you’ll have to shell out $14 to rent skates (or BYO). Still, it’s a veritable winter wonderland: After your skate, warm up at spacious rinkside restaurant Celsius, or browse the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park. If you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours. RECOMMENDED: More rinks for ice skating in NYC

  1. Citi Pond at Bryant Park Sixth Ave, between 40th and 42nd Sts
  2. Mon Mar 3
More info

New York Transit Museum's Holiday Train Show

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Within Grand Central Terminal you’ll find the New York Transit Museum’s eleventh annual Holiday Train Show, an ode to all kinds of locomotives. You’ll feel positively giant while wandering around the 34-foot-long display, festooned with miniature versions of city landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. Watch as Lionel model trains travel over the river (the East River, to be exact) and through the woods to reach their final destination, the north pole.

  1. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex Grand Central Terminal, E 42nd St, between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves
  2. Until Sun Feb 23
More info

Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Sure, the 86th floor observatory at the Empire State Building is the original place to go for an eagle's-eye look at New York, and it's located atop a global icon. But at 70 stories up, the observation deck at TOTR affords a spectacular vista of Central Park without the crazy lines. Plus, the sprawling subterranean mall at 30 Rock offers amenities like shopping and eating.

  1. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, (between 49th and 50th Sts)
Book online

Holiday Under the Stars

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Take a break from Christmas shopping and check out Time Warner Center’s state-of-the-art holiday light display. The spectacle features a dozen 14-foot LED stars that do a colorful “dance,” flashing more than 16.7 million color mixes in time to classic Yuletide tunes. You’ll be so moved, you won’t even care that you maxed out your MasterCard getting Aunt Judy that back massager she’s been wanting. When you're done marveling, don't forget to check out the ten new stores that have recently opened at the TWC.

  1. Time Warner Center 10 Columbus Circle, at Broadway and 59th St
  2. Fri Jan 3 - Sat Jan 4
More info

Times Square

  • Free

New York's glitziest, brightest spot is home to blockbuster Broadway shows, a host of kid-pleasing shops (such as the Pop Tarts and M&Ms stores) and tourists, tourists and more tourists.

  1. Broadway, (between 42nd and 47th Sts)
More info


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When is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held on Thanksgiving morning every year. It begins at 9am and finishes three hours later at noon.

  1. Thu Nov 28
More info

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV

Watch the parade from your couch with a simulcast that broadcasts on NBC. If that's too early for you, the show will be repeated between 2pm and 5pm. Calling the parade for your amusement are the "Today" show’s Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker.

Macy’s Parade Balloon Inflation

  • Critics choice
  • Free

See the balloons take shape on Thanksgiving eve at this pre–Turkey Day ritual, held near the American Museum of Natural History.

  1. Location TBA
  2. Wed Nov 27
More info
Read more about the Macy's Parade Balloon Inflation