thanksgiving

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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NYC Activities for the Week of November 25

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It’s Thanksgiving Week NYC! Here are some of the things that you can do while you’re visiting New York this week:

Ten Thousand Waves exhibition opens at MoMA 25

The Origami Holiday Tree goes on display at the American Museum of Natural History 25

Van Morrison plays the Theater at MSG 25

Lighting of the Worlds Largest Menorah at Grand Army Plaza in Manhattan 27

The preseason NIT is back in the Garden with Duke and Arizona 27

African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde exhibition opens at the Met 27

Slayer will play at the Theater in MSG 27.

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Balloon inflation the night before the parade 27

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 28

The Nutcracker Ballet opens at Lincoln Center 29

The African Diaspora International Film Festival begins 29

Guster will play at the Beacon Theatre 30

The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker opens at the Hammerstein 30

College Hockey takes to MSG when BU and Cornell face off 30

Literally Alive presents, A Christmas Carol 1

image via Flickr / Kowarski

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.

108 Things to Know if You’re Visiting NYC This Fall

autumn, nyc, new york city

We brought you a list of 107 things to know if you were visiting NYC this summer, and you loved it. So we put together an even bigger list for this fall. Some things still hold true, like our taxi hailing suggestions, but all in all it’s updated to reflect the next few months. Who’s excited to visit NYC!?

Food

  1. The Vendy Awards come to Brooklyn September 7
  2. The Prospect Park Food Truck Rally is on the first and third Sunday of every month until Oct. 20
  3. Smorgasburg is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon, runs through November 24
  4. Four star restaurants have long waiting lists. Make your reservations now.
  5. There are about 42 million fast food restaurants in NYC, but you shouldn’t go to any of them. At any given moment you will be within a 5 minute walk of low priced, better tasting burgers/chicken/tacos.
  6. Our dollar slices probably taste better than what you’re used to, but if you want really good pizza, the extra money is worth it.
  7. Don’t be afraid to try the pretzels at the hot dog stands
  8. Food trucks are awesome, try them!

Music

  1. Bryant ParkCity Park’s SummerStage still has a few more shows before the season ends
  2. Electric Zoo comes to NYC August 30-September 1
  3. The CBGB Music Festival is October 9-13
  4. Greenwich Village is known for having great live music
  5. Madison Square Garden reopens this fall with some bigtime headliners, including Ed Sheeran and The Eagles
  6. The Barclays Center, The Garden’s Brooklyn counterpart, hosts some of the biggest names in Music this fall, including Selena Gomez and Justin Timberlake
  7. The Barclays Center also hosts its first ever hockey game on September 21, when the Islanders and Devils square off

Arts

  1. Many Museums, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have a suggested donation to enter, but you don’t have to pay anything at all. If you can afford to, you should pay the requested amount so that these museums will continue to be some of the best in the world.
  2. The Intrepid is a museum on an aircraft carrier, which is awesome
  3. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is free every Friday afternoon
  4. MoMa also has 11 new exhibitions planned for this fall, including Images of an Infinite Film
  5. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is known for its unique building and is also a landmark of NYC
  6. The Guggenheim has three new exhibitions launching this fall, including Robert Motherwell: Early Collages
  7. Brooklyn Museum also has five new exhibitions planned for the fall
  8. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has seven new exhibitions launching this fall, including Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim
  9. The Met is also now open seven days a week
  10. There are like, a bazillion museums in NYC, not just the couple we named. You should check out as many as you can while in the city.
  11. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has a lineup of amazing concerts, plays, and films throughout the fall

The Holidays

  1. The Holiday Season begins sooner in NYC than in other places. We get really into it.
  2. Somewhere between October and November, it starts getting cold in NYC
  3. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on December 4
  4. The Tree Lighting begins at 8 p.m., but if you want to see it in person you should find a spot by 3 p.m. that day
  5. The tree will remain lit every day from 5:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., except Christmas and New Year’s Eve which have special hours
  6. The Tree will remain lit until January 7, 2014
  7. The Holiday Lights Tour begins December 3
  8. The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall with the Rockettes begins showing on November 8
  9. The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park return in October

Thanksgiving

  1. Thanksgiving is on November 28 this year
  2. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9 a.m.
  3. The Parade travels from the American Museum of Natural History down to Herald Square
  4. Watch the balloons for the Thanksgiving Day Parade get filled the evening before parade day at 3 p.m.
  5. Tickets for grandstand seating at the Parade are provided to Macy’s employees and charitable organizations only, not the general public
  6. You can volunteer as a balloon handler in the Parade
  7. Black Friday is one of the best days for shopping around NYC, but you also might want to visit Woodbury Commons for some incredible deals

thanksgiving parade nyc

Shopping

  1. 5th Avenue has top of the line products, and prices to match
  2. SoHo has less expensive clothing stores and trendy boutiques
  3. Chinatown has incredibly cheap prices, and products to match
  4. Union Square is one of the most popular places to shop.
  5. Greenwich Village is filled with designer labels.
  6. Herald Square has almost every chain store there
  7. Macy’s on 34th Street is the world’s largest department store and a registered NYC landmark.

Parks

  1. Central Park is the largest park in Manhattan, but the 5th largest in NYC.
  2. Brooklyn Bridge Park has an incredible view of the Manhattan Skyline.
  3. Riverbank State Park is a great park too including a gym, pool, places to barbecue, and kids facilities
  4. The High Line is an old elevated railway converted into a park
  5. Battery Park has a beautiful waterfront, and is where you pick up the ferry to the Statue of Liberty
  6. All of NYC’s parks are free to enter
  7. Bryant Park has a reading room, ping pong, games, carrousel, free ice skating and chess.
  8. Here’s a list of parks with free WiFi
  9. Washington Square Park has never a dull moment with constant entertainment to enjoy like break dancers and artists.
  10. The parks are closed from 1 a.m. til 5 a.m., unless otherwise specified. Breaking this curfew will get you a $40 ticket

Transportation

  1. The subway costs just $2.50 per ride, and can get just about anywhere in the city.
  2. Save your metro card because it’s a $1 additional fee for a new one
  3. If you’re staying for a week, you should buy a 7-Day Unlimited Pass which is good for unlimited subway and local bus rides for $30.
  4. The subway runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week
  5. When waiting for the train, stand behind the yellow platform edge strip.
  6. Don’t try to hold the door on the subway. People will hate you.
  7. Don’t block the doorway on the subway. People will hate you.
  8. Let people off the train before getting on.
  9. If all of the subway cars are crowded except for one, which is empty, get on the crowded car.
  10. You read that right, don’t get on the empty car. There’s a reason it’s empty.
  11. Be aware of your surroundings
  12. Trains usually run local or express, so if you are unsure you may want to ask a person or choose a local train
  13. Make sure you know exactly where you’re going before you swipe your card, you can’t get a refund using the subway.
  14. It can become very crowded on the trains. You will be surprised of the capacity.
  15. If you want a taxi cab, stick out your arm
  16. Taxis tend to go out of service around the afternoon rush. Plan accordingly.
  17. When catching a taxi you should get one in the direction you are going, it will save time and money
  18. The Staten Island Ferry is free

Attractions

  1. The Empire State Building has observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors providing one of the best views in Manhattan
  2. The Statue of Liberty is now open and you can walk from the ground floor all the way to Lady Liberty’s crown that provides you with an amazing view of the city
  3. Ellis Island has remained closed since Hurricane Sandy
  4. Apollo Theater in Harlem is one of Harlem’s landmarks and offers Amateur Night on Wednesdays
  5. Botanical Gardens provide family activities and hands on gardening, too
  6. Flatiron Building has a lobby where you can see historic photographs and notes hanging from the wall
  7. Yankee Stadium has a museum in the stadium as well as Monument Park, providing fascinating history of the team

Pro-Tips

  1. avenue of the americasEven numbered streets run east
  2. 5th Avenue is considered the center of the city. Any address like E. 42nd street is east of 5th, and address like W. 42nd street is west of 5th
  3. 6th Avenue also goes by Avenue of the Americas because of the statues on Central Park South where it meets 6th
  4. The numbers on the lights in Central Park refer to the closest cross street
  5. When hailing a taxi
  6. If it’s sunny and raining, that’s probably air conditioner sweat, and you should move
  7. Download a city/subway map to your phone. One less awkward thing to carry, and you don’t have the “tourist” look every time you need directions
  8. It’s safe to get lost on the street on New York, it’s fun in any neighborhood and you get a chance to explore parts that a tour guide wouldn’t typically show you.
  9. If you happen to see a person having trouble standing because of age or an infant, the subway etiquette is to give up your seat.
  10. Be prepared to do the most walking you ever done in your life. Wear comfortable shoes.

Miscellaneous Tips and Facts worth knowing

  1. Don’t forget to take pictures of things. NYC is a beautiful city and worth sharing with your friends back home.
  2. When you take these pictures, if you abruptly stop walking in the middle of the sidewalk, people like you a little less. Don’t do that.
  3. Try not to text while walking.
  4. Think of walking like driving: If you’re going to walk slowly, stay to the right. If you want to walk fast you can “pass” on the left. The same rule applies for standing on escalators.
  5. Always carry some cash. You won’t need it everywhere, but you will need it more than where you’re from (probably)
  6. Tipping for quality service is a nice thing to do, and being nice is totally awesome
  7. Remember New York City can be very expensive, so spend wisely so you can be able to see a lot of what New York has to offer
  8. New York City is divided into five boroughs-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island
  9. Streets run east/west, avenues run north/south (in Manhattan)
  10. SoHo is south of Houston (pronounced HOUSE-ton) Street
  11. TriBeCa is the Triangle Below Canal Street
  12. If you ever need help with something, just ask someone. Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers tend to be very nice
  13. Don’t worry about the cat in the bodega, it’s there for your benefit
  14. Be prepared to see anything on the streets on NYC.

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

GRAY LINE NEW YORK

THANKSGIVING DAY ROUTE DETOUR

UPDATES:

  • 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.

UPTOWN

  • 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

EAST SIDE DOWNTOWN

  • 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

WEST SIDE DOWNTOWN

  • 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