How to Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City

Overview

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual tradition that dates back to the 1920s. The parade is hosted by Macy's, and lasts for three hours on the morning of Thanksgiving. High school and college bands are part of the procession, as well as floats and balloons shaped as popular characters.

Step 1

Arrive in Manhattan early. The parade route fills up quickly with people anxious to see the newest floats and watch the marching bands. If you wait until the last minute, you'll wind up standing behind rows and rows of people with a less than optimum view.

Step 2

Find a place along the Parade route to watch the parade. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade starts in Manhattan at 77th Street and Central Park west. It makes it's ways south in Central Park, and then goes along Broadway through Times Square. The Parade then continues to Macy's on 34th Street, and then turns onto 7th Avenue. One of the best places to watch the parade is in Times Square, because there is more room in this area for people to stand and more distance between the buildings on both sides of the road.

Step 3

Dress appropriately. Find out the weather ahead of time and be prepared. Some years, the temperature is in the 60s whereas other years you can expect weather as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The average is about 40 to 50 degrees. Factor in rain and snow. Opt for a poncho rather than an umbrella so you don't spend three hours carrying around the umbrella and blocking the views of others. Don't forget the rain boots.

Step 4

Get your body ready for the event. Eat a good breakfast and use the restroom ahead of time. It's no fun to keep leaving the event to find a bathroom, especially in a crowd of people. Keep your drinking of water and coffee to a minimum so your bladder doesn't fill up during the Parade.

Step 5

Learn about the entrants to the parade, such as the various floats and marching bands. If you can't stay for the duration, you can make sure to catch the band you really want to see. Remember that the Santa Claus float is at the end.

Tips and Warnings

  • It's a good deal of trouble to drive to New York to see this parade, but the balloons can be unforgettable. Do it once just to see it and say you were there.

Who Can Help

  • Official Macy's parade website
  • Tourist website for parade
  • General Parade information
  • Renaissance Hotel website
Keywords: macy's, parade, marriott, hotels, thanksgiving, parade, times, square, manhattan