5 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ideas for first-time watchers

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Few issues evaluate to seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in individual on a brisk November morning. Watching huge balloons like Snoopy and even trendy favorites akin to Bluey and Grogu (aka “Child Yoda”) fly down the streets of New York Metropolis is an iconic vacation expertise on many households’ journey want lists.

Assuming you don’t dwell within the Huge Apple or the speedy space, know that seeing the parade would require forgoing (or delaying) a conventional Thanksgiving meal at residence. Nonetheless, passing on this custom will probably be properly definitely worth the effort when you see your child giddy with pleasure as their favourite cartoon characters float by.


Greater than 3.5 million folks attend the Macy’s parade in individual every year, so it is vital to strategize your go to so you aren’t removed from the curb struggling to catch a glimpse of the road.

Having attended the occasion ourselves, it is secure to say that there are a number of stuff you’ll wish to preserve prime of thoughts as you intend your day on the parade. Listed below are our prime ideas for viewing the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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Catch the balloon inflation the day earlier than

If you wish to get an up-close view of the balloons featured within the annual parade, one exercise you will not wish to miss is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation. Throughout this occasion, you will see the balloons come to life as they’re inflated.

Occurring the day earlier than the parade, the inflation begins at midday on the Higher West Facet at 72nd Road and Columbus Avenue close to the American Museum of Pure Historical past. It runs till 6 p.m., supplying you with a number of hours to get a sneak peek at what’s to return in the course of the parade.

Unsurprisingly, this pre-parade occasion is in style, so the sooner you arrive, the much less crowded it will likely be as you stroll the organized path to see the balloons. Know, although, that inflating a large balloon the peak of a four-story constructing takes time, so you could wish to take a look at your luck by arriving nearer to three p.m., which is when many of the balloons are beginning to take form.

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To get to the occasion location by way of public transportation, permit additional time, because the subway station at 77th Road tends to get very crowded because the afternoon wears on. You too can hail a cab or use a ride-hailing service, although you will wish to stroll a block or two north of the gated-off part to keep away from delays.

TPG tip: Contemplate taking the 1, 2 or 3 practice to Broadway and 72nd Road as a substitute. It’s kind of additional away however a straightforward stroll — simply comply with the crowds.

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Line up very early on the parade route

Once we noticed the parade, we nabbed spots round fifty fifth Road and Sixth Avenue, just a few blocks after the parade made its flip from the Higher West Facet to move down towards Macy’s. Regardless of the parade beginning at 9 a.m., we arrived a bit earlier than 7 a.m., which was already too late to get a spot straight on the curb. Nonetheless, we managed to be within the second row, which was enough, particularly because the folks forward of us have been comfortable to let all of the little children line up within the entrance to get good views.


If you happen to do not wish to depend on luck and as a substitute want to snag a coveted front-row spot on the curb, you will want to point out up earlier than 7 a.m., because the streets have been already lined so far as the attention might see by that point. Primarily based on conversations with some parade professionals round us, 6 a.m. is the magic time to get a curb spot on this a part of the route.


Different parts of the route could require a good earlier wake-up name, so plan accordingly in case you have a selected location in thoughts. For instance, we have been instructed that the prime seats within the coated bus stops are full by round 4 a.m.


Ought to you may have deeper pockets and wish to keep away from being outdoors within the components, you may pay for brunch with a view alongside the parade route. Simply make certain you look into these reservations properly prematurely, as they have a tendency to replenish quick.

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TPG tip: For these arriving later within the morning, you may stand within the closed-off aspect streets resulting in the parade. You is likely to be 10-15 folks again however can nonetheless see many of the motion

Carry one thing to maintain you occupied — and heat

The parade begins at 9 a.m. at Central Park West on 77th Road. For the reason that route is 2 1/2 miles lengthy, the lead marchers don’t attain Macy’s till about 9:40 a.m., that means you will have some idle time earlier than you can begin watching the spectacle.

Since you might end up ready a number of hours till the parade exhibits up, you will wish to carry some stuff to maintain your children occupied, akin to snacks or breakfast and moveable video games. A backup charger is a good suggestion, too.

My household opted to take pleasure in breakfast on the road earlier than coloring and watching some Netflix exhibits on our cellphones. We sat as a lot as doable earlier than the parade arrived, which I extremely advocate doing — on the very least, to your little ones — to protect your standing means for when the balloons make an look.


You may carry tenting chairs, buckets or the rest you could wish to sit on to the parade, although these things will not be very useful for the parade itself since everybody appears to face. Nonetheless, on the very least, you will most likely wish to have some lodge towels or blankets to sit down on as a substitute of the arduous, chilly, gum-covered New York Metropolis sidewalks. Do not forget correct apparel (assume: jackets, hats and umbrellas, if rain is within the forecast), too, because the climate can shortly flip in late fall.


Dwell within the second

Whereas all of us attend the parade with photographs of the annual occasion from our TV screens taking part in in our heads, know that in individual, the celebration is a bit completely different.

Like at residence, everybody begins getting excited because the parade begin time nears, and earlier than lengthy, cheers erupt because the parade comes into view. The very first thing we noticed was clowns roller-skating with bundles of balloons. Quickly after got here the New York Police Division bikes, horses, marching bands, cheerleaders, floats and, after all, the massive character balloons.


Nonetheless, what you could not understand from watching at house is how interactive the expertise will be. Being so near the entrance row meant that our daughter received to be a part of the parade. Along with receiving high-fives from clowns and getting confetti in her hair because it was thrown, she received to take pleasure in a face-to-face encounter with a Harlem Globetrotter.


The whole lot you see on TV does not occur alongside the parade route, both. Some performances, together with these by the Radio Metropolis Rockettes and numerous singing and dance teams, solely happen in entrance of Macy’s Herald Sq. (the place the cameras sit). In consequence, you will wish to handle your expectations. Don’t be concerned about what you are lacking. As an alternative, concentrate on all that is going down in entrance of you: the floats, balloons and festivities.

Ebook a lodge close to the parade route

The parade covers a lot of town that there is not one finest lodge for attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Whereas there are some motels which are bodily on the parade route, it isn’t so simple as reserving a room at certainly one of these properties and watching the festivities out of your window.

Positive, there are some home windows on the route-adjacent motels that supply good views, however motels are savvy, so these rooms are sometimes bought as a part of pricier parade packages. As such, you will need to pay extra and sometimes meet minimal keep necessities to see the parade out of your precise lodge room.

If you happen to do not wish to splurge to see all of the motion out of your room, ask in case your lodge has a particular viewing space for friends. Oftentimes, motels on the parade route do have some house outdoors the place patrons can watch the parade because it passes by.

The next are just a few extremely regarded properties on the parade route:

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. NICK ELLIS/THE POINTS GUY

Ought to you may have hassle securing a room at a property on the parade route or want to save a bit cash, think about staying a block or extra off the route.

On our journey just a few years in the past, we stayed one avenue off the parade route at The St. Regis New York and cherished it. It was a really brief stroll to and from the parade, which was a lot appreciated when the parade ended, because it was a cold day once we attended.


Another points-friendly motels which are inside strolling distance of the parade route embody:

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Backside line

After my household attended the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, we walked away pondering the occasion itself was fantastic. The balloons flew excessive, the climate that 12 months was respectable for late November and the folks throughout us have been improbable. It even began to snow proper earlier than Santa arrived on the finish in a method you could not plan.


Since New York Metropolis is an unimaginable place to be for the vacations, there are every kind of different methods to rejoice the season after kicking it off with the parade. Remember to go see Santa in individual at Santaland on the eighth ground of Macy’s on thirty fourth Road (reservations are required). Additionally make a degree to peruse a number of the festive vacation markets all through town whenever you’re not busy ice skating at Rockefeller Middle or catching a efficiency of a Christmas traditional like “The Nutcracker” or “A Christmas Carol.”

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