Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Begins at 77th and Central Park West; ends at 34th Street and 7th Ave.
New York, NY 10036
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Description
The most exciting moment of this 82-year-old parade is the same every year, but the anticipation of it only adds to the fun for kids: Santa's much-heralded arrival at Macy's and his temporary home in Santaland, the unofficial signal that the Christmas season has begun. More than three million spectators line the route of this famous parade each year (some arriving as early as 6 a.m.) on Thanksgiving morning, staking out prime spots for viewing the floats, marching bands, celebrity guests, Broadway musical performers, clowns, and of course, the famed helium-filled balloons that measure up to 40 feet tall. Watching the parade on television doesn't come close to the spectacle of seeing it in real life -- it's an event kids will remember and cherish for a lifetime.
Live Music Venue
Toddlers & Pre-K: The sidewalks are packed with parade spectators, making it difficult for wee ones to see the marchers -- sitting on shoulders solves the problem if parents are willing. Thankfully kids will have no trouble seeing the famed balloons -- they're too huge to miss.
School-Age Kids: Kids 5 to 12 will love every second of the parade. The marching bands will entertain, the Broadway performers will inspire, and the balloons will mesmerize.
- Know the route. The parade starts at 9 a.m. on 77th Street and Central Park West, heads south to Columbus Circle, continues on Broadway, turns west onto 34th Street, and ends at 7th Avenue. Broadway is closed to the public between 34th and 38th streets, and there's extremely limited access to 34th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue (south side of the street only). The least crowded sidewalks are typically found near the middle of the parade route.
- Take public transportation. Walking to the parade route or taking the subway are strongly recommended. Taxis are scarce, and many bus lines are rerouted or suspended. If coming from Long Island, take the Long Island Railroad; from Westchester, take Metro-North; from New Jersey, take the PATH.
- Bring food. Many delis and restaurants along the parade route are open, but an equal number close for Thanksgiving day -- finding food and drinks can be difficult. Pack hearty snacks to tide the family over, then head well away from the parade route to find a lunch spot.
- Rain or shine. As they say on Broadway, the show must go on -- and this parade does, even when nasty weather rolls in.
- Wednesday balloon inflation. For a close-up view of the balloon inflation process, head to 77th and 81st streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue from 3 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26 (free).
- See Santa on Friday. Macy's is closed on Thanksgiving, so visitors will have to wait until Friday for photos with Santa.
Just the Facts
Hours: Parade begins at 9 a.m. and typically ends around noon.
Recommended Time: 2 - 4 hours