The 89th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade offers 2.5 miles of family-friendly viewing spots. Here’s a NYC insider’s guide to the route and best spots to enjoy the balloons, floats and bands:
The parade kicks off at 77th St. and Central Park West at 9am.
You can also attend the popular Macy’s Balloonfest on Wednesday, to see the world-famous balloons get inflated.
The balloons, floats and marching bands head south on CPW to 59th St., and make a dogleg turn east onto Central Park South to Sixth Avenue, marching south until the grandstands and TV cameras around Macy’s, at 34th St. and Herald Square, where the parade ends.
If you are attending in person, be in place by 7am for best viewing spots.
If a member of your family or group has special needs, there is special access. Call Healing Arts Initiative (formerly known as Hospital Audiences, Inc.) at 212-284-4100 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
I always took my kids somewhere along Central Park West, which is less crowded than further downtown A bonus is that if you are close to the start of the parade, you might even be able to get home in time to see the last part on TV. Other great spots are at Columbus Circle, especially the second floor balcony overlook inside the Time Warner Center.
Please use NYC subways and busses. Driving in Manhattan is a total nightmare on parade day.
Macy’s has a comprehensive parade website with information about each ballooon, performer, float, and some animated video for the kids to get them ready for the excitement.
New balloons this year include Scrat the saber-toothed squirrel and his acorn from the “Ice Age” films, Red from the Angry Birds game, the dinosaur mascot from Sinclair Oil and an updated Ronald McDonald, bringing the balloon total to 17 kid-pleasers. See more here.
Here’s a partial list of Macy’s world-famous balloons —
- Buzz Lightyear
- Snoopy and Woodstock
- Kermit the Frog
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Super Cute Hello Kitty
- Kung Fu Panda
- Ronald McDonald
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