How to Attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

With the event of Thanksgiving Day in New York, comes the sight of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. If you are an American who lives on the eastern seaboard, you're probably thinking about attending it, but don't know how. Well, this article has your answers. Start reading step 1 below and follow along.


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    Determine the parade route. Although things changed in 2013 for the parade route, the newest parade route tends to be to march from the corner of 77th St and Central Park West to the southern edge of the park near Columbus Circle, then walk East to 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas and continue South to 34th Street, making an appearance at 42nd Street, and continuing on till they reach Herald Square and the big Macy's New York Headquarters area at 151 West 34th Street.[1]The total length of the Macy's Parade Route is around 2.5-mile and it takes around 90 minutes for the parade to walk the this route.[2][3]
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    Research the hotels and motels along most of the parade route. Hotels here are a little light, and where they exist, it's "mom and pop" hotels that you would never have guessed in a million years could have been a hotel to exist at the location. Bigger hotel chains do exist, but are a few blocks from most of the famous sites in New York City near the parade route including a Quality Inn within 10 blocks from New York's Penn Station train station and about 10-12 blocks from Macy's. You'll have to do a little more searching by Macy's address to find major hotel brands nearest the street address on the major hotel brands' websites to find spots to relax.
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    Camp out in a hotel room not far from your parade route spot from about 10pm the Wednesday night before until at least 5am on Thanksgiving.
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    Give yourself ample hours of additional wait-time before the parade, to ensure you are in the proper viewing spot with a great viewing angle. There are masses of people that line the sidewalks along both sides of the parade route, and getting to there super-early is crucial to seeing the parade.
    • Don't pick a fight, if you don't get to your predetermined area at the same time as that of others that have reached to your spot first. Tensions always grow, and sometimes walking a few parade route light-poles down/up from your predetermined spot can help you achieve what you need to achieve to ensure that you get the same results as that of your predetermined spot the day before, before hair flies.
    • Don't look like you are lurking around just waiting for your spot to become free. If a police spots you, it's hard to explain to them what you are doing and explain that you were waiting for the parade to begin.
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    Ensure that you will be warm enough to attend the parade the next day. Find out the forecast for the next day. End of November temperatures for New York City (borough of Manhattan) tend to be quite chilly, and sometimes even some snow begins to fall. Although few snowfalls tend to graduate to more than a general dusting (or half an inch in spots), it's crucial that you know what to expect during your few days of camping out.
    • Bundle up in several layers of warmth. Don't expect warm weather. Your time spent there will be super-chilly. Use at least 3 additional layers of jackets and sweaters as you would have otherwise used during other camping sessions. Dress children in 2 or more footed blanket sleepers along with 1-2 winter-weight jackets and at least one pair of "bib-style" snow pants.
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    Plan on a long day the following day (Thanksgiving Day). The parade lasts about 2-3 hours, but it's an exciting few hours that is well needed for most.
    • You'll know later, that it's over when you see Santa arrive on his annual float into the Square.
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    Try to wake up several hours before the parade.


  • If you can make it to the most popular spot on the parade route, the New York Penn Station train station is less than 2 blocks away, and only about a 5-10 minute walk from the station.
  • Police ask everyone to be off the streets (and most viewers comply) after 1-2 hours after the parade is over.
  • Although many people in the northeast are able to watch the parade, most people choose to watch it on TV (as opposed to in person). Catch the parade on NBC and CBS starting at about 9am sharp. Check your channel lineup to know exactly what station number your NBC and CBS numbers are to ensure you have tuned to the right station several hours before. Pre-tune your TV to ensure you don't miss any of the action on parade day. Stay indoors, if you fear the cold will affect you, or the allergies from trees will begin to bug you.
  • Keep abreast of Macy corporate Twitter account (@macys) before and for several hours through and after the parade, for parade route notes to ensure you don't miss any other excitement about the parade while you wait on the sidewalk for the parade to begin.
    • Tweet with the hashtag #macysparade to categorize your tweet. Whether you're at the parade, or watching it from home, this is an interesting hashtag to know about for Thanksgiving Day and the parade! In addition, the #whyImthankful hashtag can be used to express your gratitude.
  • If you can, take a walk down Central Park West street near the American Museum of Natural History around 3-10pm (the biggest time begins at about 4pm) (between 77th and 81st street) on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to see some of the parade balloons being inflated.[4] This is the common spot where all the balloons are readied for Thanksgiving's festivities.
  • On occasion, it's happened where, to keep the balloon handlers safe, that some balloons wouldn't be raised (due to storms or torrential wind). Check before hand, if the balloons will be flying.
  • Read a little about the floats that exist in the parade, and what it takes to raise a float to be used in the parade here. It'll give you a viewpoint from which you'll learn a lot about floats here.
  • Being in the right spot at the right time is crucial to this parade. Always have one or two backups, if your first spot is taken.
  • Few legal streaming sites around the globe are able to stream the parade. Don't look for them and watch on TV or be on the streets of the parade. It's sometimes happened where YouTube has legally picked up the stream, but don't hope for this to happen very often. (This is the only option for those outside the US except for the Philippines as the Macy's Parade is aired there within 48 hours of the US telecast since 2015 on cable channel Lifestyle; previously, the parade was aired on what is now CNN Philippines hours ahead of the US telecast.)

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Categories: Thanksgiving