macys thanksgiving parade

2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

thanksgiving parade nyc

It’s about that time of year that you’re making plans for the holiday season. Are you going to visit New York to see the tree? Should you fight the crowds to watch the ball drop in Time Square? Before we get carried away, why don’t we just slow down a little bit and talk Thanksgiving.

This year, Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 28. One of New York City’s greatest traditions is the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is held every Thanksgiving morning and broadcast across the country. If you’re interested in attending the parade or just want to watch on TV, keep reading. We’re about to answer all of your parade questions.

What time does the parade start?

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9 a.m. EST on Thanksgiving morning, November 28.

What route does the Thanksgiving Day Parade take through NYC?

The parade begins at 77th Street on Central Park West and travels down to the Macy’s flagship location on 34th Street. Use this picture via Google Maps as a guide:

Macy's Parade route

Do I need tickets to attend the parade?

Grandstand seating, which is where the performances take place, is only available to Macy’s employees and select charities. If you don’t fall into one of those categories, you are encouraged to line up anywhere else on the parade route where you will be able to see all of the floats, balloons and bands pass by.

Where is the best place to stand to watch the parade?

Per Macy’s:

Depending on your preferences, different areas make for the best viewing location. For example, early risers may want to camp out beginning at approximately 6am, along the west side of the street on Central Park West from 59th to 75th Streets to get the best spots for the start of the march. At this location, the Parade begins at 9:00am and runs through about 10:30am. For spectators who prefer to arrive later in the morning, further down the route on 6th Avenue may be the best option as the Parade does not reach portions of this area until about 9:30am. Viewing is not suggested on 6th Avenue between 34th and 38th Streets or in front of Macy’s Herald Square which provides very limited viewing due to the national television broadcast.

Can I watch the balloon inflation the night before the parade?

Of course you can! Balloons begin being inflated at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 27th. Head up to the American Museum of Natural History on 79th Street where you can view the balloons go from nothing into something incredible.

How can I participate in this year’s Thanksgiving Parade?

Macy’s accepts voluenteers every year to participate as balloon handlers, clowns, and more. Visit the parade website to apply now.

I don’t want to go to the parade, but I want to watch on TV. What channel will the parade be on?

The 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on NBC from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

UPDATE: Who will be in this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

The 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade lineup has been announced, and though it is a living list, so far it looks fantastic. The parade will feature Balloons, Floats, Balloonicles, Marching Bands, Clowns, Novelty Balloons, and Performance Groups. As always, be on the lookout for Santa’s Sleigh at the finale of the parade.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC

UPDATE: Balloon inflation begins today at 3 p.m. on the Upper West Side between 77th Street and 81st Street on Central Park West.  All of the balloons will be inflated between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

We are just one day away from the 86th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade here in New York City. The parade will take place on November 22nd (Thanksgiving) at 9 a.m. and will run until noon.  You can watch the live broadcast of the parade on your local NBC affiliate.

Or, if you’re going to be in New York City for Thanksgiving weekend, you can take in the parade in person.  The parade traditionally has an interesting route through the streets, making multiple turns unlike some other NYC parades such as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which travels on a straight line up 5th Avenue.  This year’s parade begins at the Museum of Natural History at 77th Street and Central Park West.  It will travel down to Columbus Circle where it will turn onto Central Park South for a couple of blocks.  Once it gets to 6th Avenue, the parade will turn downtown and head for 34th Street.  As is tradition, the parade will turn onto 34th Street and conclude at the entrance of the Macy’s flagship store.  Confused?  Here’s a map:

Parade Route

The Parade will include floats and performances and balloons of all of your favorite characters.  For more information on the parade, visit Macy’s official 2012 Thanksgiving Day Parade website.  If you’re not worried about Thanksgiving and want to know more about Black Friday in NYC, stay tuned because we will have all of the latest information on the best bargains and deals, including how to take in the night/morning/day at Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets.

Iamge Credit: Google Maps

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Tour Route Changes




  • Downtown Loop – Begins on 47th and 8th Ave 8am – 5pm.
  • Night Tour and Night on the Town Tour – Not operating Thanksgiving Day.
  • Downtown Loop – Runs from the East side 8am – 5pm.
  • Uptown – Runs from 46th and 8th Ave 8:30am to 4pm
  • Manhattan Comprehensive – Depart from 47th and 8th Ave in front of Starbucks.


  • START 46th & 8th Ave
  • Continue North on 8th Ave to 57th St.
  • Left on 57th to 10th Ave
  • Right on 10th Ave to 72nd St
  • Continue onto Amsterdam Ave
  • Straight on Amsterdam Ave to 112th St. Stop (Church)
  • Then continue on Amsterdam Ave to 125th St
  • Right on 125th St to Adam Clayton Powell
  • Right on Adam Clayton Powell to 110th St.
  • Right on 110th St to Columbus Ave
  • Left on Columbus Ave to 9th Ave
  • Continue on 9th Ave to 42nd St
  • Left on 42nd St to 8th Ave
  • Left on 8th Ave to 46th St


  • Start 49th St & Lexington Ave (Waldorf)
  • Go west on 49th St to Madison Ave
  • Right on Madison to 60th St
  • Left on 60th St to 5th Ave
  • Left on 5th Ave to 58th St. &59th St at the fountain STOP
  • Continue on 5th Ave south to 42nd St STOP
  • Continue on 5th Ave south to 33rd &32nd St STOP
  • After 32nd &33rd St stop on 5th Ave regular route back to 49th St & Lexington and continue same route


  • Start 47th & 8th Ave
  • Go north on 8th Ave to 49th St
  • Left on 49th St to 9th Ave
  • Left on 9th Ave to 42nd St. STOP
  • Continue 9th Ave to 34th St. STOP for Macy’s & Empire
  • Continue on 9th Ave to 23rd St
  • Left on 23rd St to 7th Ave
  • Right on 7th Ave then regular route to 1st Ave & 23rd St
  • Left on 23rd St to 8th Ave
  • Right on 8th Ave to 47th & 8th