The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a New York City tradition since 1924. People all over the US watch the parade chock full of floats and performers on TV, and about 3.5 million see it in person every year. Below are some tips for first-timers to make seeing the parade in real life easy.
Find a Place on the Sidewalk
Watching the parade is free, but people should get there early for the best view. Spectators start lining the streets at 6:00 a.m. and the parade starts at 9:00. Find a parking space early and don’t leave your viewing spot when you find it until the parade is over. Many of the performances happen near 34th Street, so those spaces usually fill up first, along with spots at the beginning and the end of the parade route. Other good places for watching the parade are:
- Central Park West. The viewing starts at 75th Street, two blocks away from the start of the parade. It’s only open on the West side, as the other side is closed for invite-only grandstand seating.
- The Shops at Columbus Circle. These shops are open on Thanksgiving Day at 9:00 a.m.; shoppers can get a great view from the second and third floors of the mall.
- Sixth Avenue between 38th Street and Central Park South. This long stretch has plenty of room for viewers who may be running a little late.
Note that from 38th Street to Macy’s department store, the street is closed for filming the parade. Keep in mind other street closures as well as you plan for travel, 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, visit http://nyc.gov
Get Grandstand Tickets
Grandstand tickets to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are for the friends and family of parade participants, employees and volunteers. Macy’s doesn’t sell them, but individuals often sell them online. Some people may also have a friend with an extra ticket.
Book a Room with a View
Several hotels offer Thanksgiving parade packages with great views, including the JW Marriot’s Parade-View Room Package and the Residence Inn’s Prime View Package.
Make Reservations at a Nearby Restaurant
At some restaurants, people can watch the parade while they eat. However, most establishments require reservations for Thanksgiving since it’s such a busy day. The only restrooms available on the parade route are in restaurants as well.
Who will you be watching the parade with? Let us know in the comments below.