The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: A New York City Tradition

New York City celebrates the holidays in grand style, with the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Times Square, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. But before the calendar flips to December, the city officially kicks off the holiday season with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The 86th annual parade will take place on Thursday, November 22. It starts at 9am on the Upper West Side, before rolling past Central Park and into Midtown, just two blocks from The New York Palace. The parade, which takes up to three hours to move past any one spot on its route, is one of the most popular annual events in New York City. Millions of spectators line the 2.5-mile public viewing area along four major streets to watch as iconic balloons, popular celebrities and local organizations make their way from 77th Street to the Macy’s store at Herald Square.

Tips For Attending the NYC Thanksgiving Parade:

  • Bundle Up – Late November isn’t the dead of winter, but the weather is often quite cold in New York City by Thanksgiving. The average high temperature on Thanksgiving Day in New York City is 52 degrees, however the parade starts in the morning, when the temperature is often lower.
  • Head to Sixth Avenue – In order to see the start of the parade on the Upper West Side, travel north to 77th Street and cross Central Park, leaving plenty early to secure a good spot. ,. To view the parade from a more convenient vantage point, try Sixth Avenue. Just two blocks from The Palace, the Macy’s parade route along Sixth Avenue doesn’t welcome its first floats until about 9:30am, meaning you won’t need to arrive before the break of dawn, however early risers will have the best vantage points.  
  • Arrive Early – Even if you opt for a viewing location along Sixth Avenue, you should plan on arriving with plenty of time to spare. After all, the NYC Thanksgiving Parade attracts millions of spectators to a relatively small area in the heart of New York City’s busiest neighborhood.
  • Catch a Sneak Preview – To get the full experience when staying at our hotel near the NYC Thanksgiving Parade, be sure to attend the Macy’s Giant Balloon Inflation from 3pm to 10pm on the day before Thanksgiving. You can watch from a special area near 79th Street and Columbus Avenue as the gigantic balloons are filled before their big trip along the parade route the next day.

The 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 9am
From 77th Street and Central Park West to 34th Street, Macy’s Herald Square

Public Viewing Areas:

  • Central Park West – 70th Street to Columbus Circle
  • Columbus Circle – West side of the street
  • Sixth Avenue – between 58th and 34th streets
  • 34th Street – between Broadway and Seventh Avenue

To make Midtown Manhattan hotel reservations for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, please visit www.newyorkpalace.com.

Learn more about the 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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