Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Every year, giant balloons, floats, and marching bands parade through New York City for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Performers dance, twirl, and sing, altogether putting on a great show. The celebrity line-up is always impressive.

Macy's Balloons

Photo courtesy of Joey Spain

Around the country, people are familiar with this famous Thanksgiving Day parade. Usually they see it on TV when the turkey is in the oven and they’re thinking about mashing the sweet potatoes.

If this is what comes to mind when you think of the Macy’s parade, you’re not alone – about 50 million people watch the parade each year. It is televised live annually on NBC.

Make Your Thanksgiving Fun and Memorable

Watching the parade on TV is great, but if you are willing to brave the cold and the crowds, you can experience it first-hand.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Photo courtesy of Joey Spain

Going to the parade is sure to make your Thanksgiving memorable and put you in the holiday spirit. The parade is free. No tickets are sold to this event – you just show up. The earlier the better!

Despite the fact that the parade takes place on Thanksgiving, it is very Christmas-themed, with Santa and his reindeer bringing up the rear. The parade effectively marks the start of the Christmas season in New York City. In fact, it was originally known as the “Macy’s Christmas Parade”. The parade is always fun, festive, and family-oriented.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Float

Parade Route

The 2013 parade route offers two and a half miles of public viewing.

The parade starts at Central Park West and 77th Street at 9 a.m. From there, it goes south, winding around the southwest corner of Central Park and then heading down Sixth Avenue.

The parade ends in Herald Square, in front of the flagship Macy's department store.

Parade Terms

Falloon: A combination of a balloon and parade float.
Balloonicle: A balloon vehicle.

Tips for Attending the Parade

1. The parade takes place rain or shine. Bring warm clothes as the weather in late November can be cold, especially early in the morning. Wear layers and bring blankets.
2. Folding chairs are not allowed.
3. It will be very crowded. Arrive early for a good viewing spot. Some people camp out but there are still decent spots available if you arrive by 6 a.m.
4. Parade veterans recommend viewing up near Central Park. The crowds get thicker the closer you get to Herald Square.

For more information, visit the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Website:

Balloon Inflation

You don't have to go to the parade to see the giant floats in person. The balloons are inflated the day before the parade at Columbus Avenue and 77th Street, near American Museum of Natural History. The public viewing is from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the Wednesday before the parade. This event can also be very crowded.

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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