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The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade guide

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a hallowed NYC tradition. Use our guide for what to do nearby and where to watch.

Photograph: Filip Wolak
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014

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. 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 (or watch the pre-Thanksgiving ballon inflation), and nearby restaurants for Thanksgiving, bars and festive New York attractions to show your guests a world-renowned NYC experience.

RECOMMENDED: A full guide to Thanksgiving in NYC


View 89th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in a larger map

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 to 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 photos

See photos of the 2015 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Things to do

See photos of the 2015 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Check out vintage photos of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Things to do

Check out vintage photos of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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See photos of the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Things to do

See photos of the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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See photos of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013
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See photos of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013

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Archive Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade content

An insider's guide to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
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An insider's guide to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade by the numbers
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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade by the numbers

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Behind the scenes at the Macy's Parade Studio
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Behind the scenes at the Macy's Parade Studio

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Macy's Parade balloon inflation 2012

Macy's Parade balloon inflation 2012

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Comments

7 comments
Allen C
Allen C

Regarding the Baldwinsville High School Marching Band, the band played well, but I give the coordinator a FAIL for selecting the song "Get Lucky". Maybe it is accurate because high schoolers are sexually active, but to advertise "staying up all night to get some (get lucky)" is in poor taste. There are so many songs out there, really, you had to choose Daft Punk?

dwhidd
dwhidd

Typically I watch the parade with my 10 yr old daughter. We even make a check list of things to watch for each year.  This year just as last year we were disappointed.  Last year is was the inappropriate dancing and outfits by performers.  This year KISS really?  They were scary to me when I was little.  Totally NOT family friendly.  It was also a BIG commercial for Broadway.  We ended up watching the OTHER channel each time an act came on with my daughter begging me to change it.  The Marching bands were NOT even announced unless you were the American Band.  These kids fund raise all year for this and then you invite them only to show Broadway over the kids?  Bad form.  Fix it please.  It was a disappointment for many.  Facebook was a buzz with people that hated it too.  

Vi R
Vi R

I so agree...I thought I was the only person. Good Grief another song...give us a break already...this junk can go. BRING BACK ALL THE BALLOONS !!!  NOT JUST THE NEW ONES, WHERE IS POPEYE, SNOOPY AND ALL THE OTHERS??  Quit the singing, quit the yakking with the celebs in the audience...and stop with the all the commercials...6 minutes of programming to 3 minutes of commercials???  Come on...bring back the simplistic parade programming... balloons, marching bands, balloons and marching bands.  I am so tired of these songs...please stop already...I want to see the balloons.

Trina P
Trina P

I thought the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was a parade, not a talk show.

James N
James N

The live parade broadcast on CBS sucks. I don't care for the announcers and who they interview. CBS show more floats and marching bands. My kids want to watch a parade, not people talk.