Since 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been one of New York City’s most anticipated annual traditions. 22.3 million people watch the parade on TV and over 3.5 million see it in person every year. Below are some first-timer tips to make the in-person experience easy and enjoyable.
Find Your Place on the Sidewalk
Watching the parade is free, but you should get there early for the best view. The parade starts at 9 AM, but spectators start lining the streets at 6 AM. Find a parking space early and stay at your viewing area until the parade is over. Many of the performances happen near 34th Street, so that area fills up first, along with places at the start and end of the parade route.
Here are other great places to watch the parade:
- Central Park West. The viewing starts at 75th Street, two blocks from the start. It’s only open on the west side; the other side is closed for invite-only grandstand seating.
- The Shops at Columbus Circle. These shops are open on Thanksgiving Day at 9 AM. Shoppers can get a great view from the 2nd and 3rd floors of the mall.
- Sixth Avenue between 38th Street and Central Park South. This long section of the parade has plenty of room for viewers who are running late.
FYI: From 38th Street to the Macy’s department store, the street is closed for filming. Be mindful of other street closures as you make plans, including the following:
Closed starting at 8 AM for the parade formation:
- West 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- West 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- Central Park West between West 77th and 86th Streets
Closed starting at 9 AM along the parade route:
- South on Central Park West to Columbus Circle
- South through E/S Columbus Circle to 59th Street
- East on 59th Street to 6th Avenue
- South on 6th Avenue to 34th Street
- West on 34th Street to 7th Avenue (dispersal area)
For additional closures and other details, click here.
Tickets on the Grandstand
Grandstand tickets to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are for friends and family of parade participants, employees and volunteers. Macy’s doesn’t sell them, but individual sellers can be found online. Also try asking around for any extra tickets.
Book a Room with a View
Several hotels offer Thanksgiving Day parade packages with great views of the parade, including the J.W. Marriott Parade View Room and the Residence Inn Prime View Room packages.
Make Restaurant Reservations
At some restaurants, people can watch the parade while they eat. However, most places require reservations on that day. Make sure to call ahead to reserve your table.
The best family-friendly eateries with views of the parade:
- Burger Joint (119 W. 56th St.)
- Épicerie Boulud (1900 Broadway)
- Landmarc (10 Columbus Circle, 3rd floor)
- The Smith (1900 Broadway)
- Todd English Food Hall (1 W. 59th St.)
If you want something a little fancier, Central Park’s Tavern on the Green offers a fantastic view of the parade and a four-course meal.
Are you attending the parade? Who with? Tell us all about it in the comments below.