Where is the best place to watch the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

And a few other questions that need answering about the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

The countdown is on! Every day we get closer and closer to the biggest and best parade NYC sees each year: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

The floats will carry singers and dancers, the marching bands will make beautiful music, the balloons will soar high and Santa Claus will close out the show to the delight of all. It’s a tradition as strong as any other in NYC and it never gets old. If you’re even considering visiting NYC for Turkey Day to take in the parade, allow us to answer some questions you surely have been asking:

What is the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route?

parade route

(Click to Enlarge) 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route – Image: Google Maps

This year’s NYC Thanksgiving Parade route is the same as it’s been. The parade will start on 77th Street and head south on Central Park West down to Columbus Circle. From there, marchers will turn across Central Park South until 6th Avenue, where they will head south. The parade travels south down 6th Ave until 34th Street when it turns toward home and like every year, ends at Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square. Sound confusing? Just look at the map.

What time does the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade start?

Kermit the Frog getting ready for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo: Flickr / kowarski

Kermit the Frog getting ready for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Photo: Flickr / kowarski

Wake up early Thanksgiving morning because the parade gets underway at 9 a.m. local time and lasts about three hours.

Oh, that’s early. What time do I need to get to the parade to get a good spot?

parade viewing

Arrive early for that front row seat – Photo: nbcbayarea.com

Well, people tend to start showing up by 6 a.m. along Central Park West. Early, right?

Does that mean Central Park West is the best vantage point of the Thanksgiving Parade?

Central Park West is on of the best spots to view the parade. Photo: Flickr / Diariocritico de Venezuela

Central Park West is on of the best spots to view the parade – Photo: Flickr / Diariocritico de Venezuela

That’s debatable, but it’s where people tend to go initially for a number of reasons. First, it is one of the better places to see the parade, for sure. Second, it’s the starting point of the parade, so they will start seeing the floats first and it will end earlier too. Maybe they want to get out early for Thanksgiving dinner.

Where else can I go to see the Thanksgiving Day Parade?

6th ave parade

6th Avenue is another great viewing option for the parade – Photo: Flickr / Diariocritico de Venezuela

If you don’t make it to Central Park West, 6th Avenue is your best bet. Remember this as a general rule of thumb: the further north you are, the better off you are. With the national TV broadcast being shot on 34th and up to 38th street, it will get crazy down there. Also, you cannot get grandstand tickets, so don’t even bother trying. There are over 2 miles of viewing space, I’m sure you can find something.

You’re probably right, but what is the Thanksgiving Parade TV info?

Al Roker Parade

Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, and Matt Lauer host the broadcast for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC – Photo: NBC Universal

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will broadcast live on NBC from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. This will also be where you see the best performances, in front of Macy’s.

Who participates in the Macy’s Day Parade?

A Balloon from the 13th MAcy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1937. Photo: Walter Kelleher/NY Daily News

A Balloon from the 13th MAcy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1937. Photo: Walter Kelleher/NY Daily News

You really have a lot of questions, you know that? This year’s lineup hasn’t fully been released yet, but generally it’s marching bands, performance groups, clowns, balloons, more balloons, and of course people looking to sell something. Have an album release right before Christmas? A new movie hitting theaters soon? You can buy your way into the parade, but it costs a pretty penny.

Lol, commercialism.

Well, they have to fund this thing somehow.

True. So how do I get to the Thanksgiving Day Parade?

penn station

Penn Station the day before Thanksgiving, 2008 – Photo: railfanwindow.com

Public transportation is probably your best bet, but remember it’s going to be chaotic no matter what you do. It you’re in NYC, the B or C will take you to Central Park West. From outside of NYC, take NJ Transit or the LIRR to Penn Station to find a C train. You can drive in, but really, who wants to deal with Thanksgiving traffic?

Is it true I can see the Balloon Inflation the night before the parade?

mr potato head inflation

Balloon inflation begins a 3 p.m. the day before the parade

Yes! This is a really cool event that often goes overlooked, but if you head up to the Museum of Natural History, inflation begins Wednesday at 3 p.m.!

Sweet! Any final tips for me and my fellow Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade goers?

parade

Have fun at the parade! – Photo: Flickr / Anthony Quintano

Yes. Dress warm, it’s probably going to be cold out. Wear comfortable shoes, you’ll be standing for a while. Don’t bring any signs, because that’s just dumb and blocks other people’s views. Be in a good mood, because all of those people and the chaos will definitely test your nerves. Bring a camera, because duh. Most importantly, have a fun and happy Thanksgiving!

For more information about Macy’s events around the country, swing by visitmacysusa.com

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