The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the quintessential kick-off to the holiday season in New York City. Now in its 91st year, this holiday parade is promising to be yet another memory-maker for the entire family, with its famous giant balloons, one-of-a-kind floats, clowns, marching bands and performances. With millions of people expected to attend this year’s parade, you’ll want to check our guide and create a game plan before you head out the door.
1010 WINS is the official radio station of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Can’t be there to watch? Listen live!
Know The Parade Route
The parade begins at 9 a.m. Thursday from Central Park West and 77th Street. The parade marches south on Central Park West and turns at Columbus Circle onto Central Park South. It then turns and heads south on 6th Avenue to 34th Street. It will then turn west on 34th Street where it stops outside Macy’s Herald Square.
For a map of the parade route, click here.
Where To Watch
Plan to arrive at 6 a.m. to get a prime viewing spot, especially if you want to be near the start of the parade. Typically, the parade marches through Central Park West between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. While many choose to watch from Central Park West between 59th and 75th streets, that also tends to be the windiest and shadiest part of the route.
Instead head to Sixth Avenue between 59th and 38th streets. The sidewalks are wider and less-crowded there. You’re more likely to find food in delis and nearby coffee shops in this area. Plus, you can arrive a little bit later since the parade doesn’t hit Sixth Avenue until around 9:30 a.m.
- Avoid Sixth Avenue between 38th and 34th streets and on 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. Due to the national TV broadcast, parade organizers severely limit public viewing in those areas.
- If you have a spectator with special needs, please call YAI National Institute at 212-273-6181 or visit their website at https://www.yai.org/haiyai-macy’s-thanksgiving for more information.
- Grandstand tickets are not for sale to the general public.
- No large backpacks, lawn chairs, umbrellas, large coolers or alcoholic beverages will be allowed.
Parking in Manhattan is always tight, but on Thanksgiving Day it’s nearly impossible.
From Westchester and Connecticut, your best bet is taking a Metro-North train to Grand Central Terminal. It’s an easy walk west from Grand Central towards the parade route on Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street.
Long Island and New Jersey residents can take the LIRR or NJ TRANSIT into Penn Station. From the Seventh Avenue exit, you can walk east one block to the end of the parade route at Macy’s Herald Square, but we highly suggest heading north first for better viewing spots between 38th and 59th streets on Sixth Avenue.
Authorities strongly recommend the use of mass transit due to the expectation of heavy traffic in the city throughout Thanksgiving weekend. However, if you are planning to drive, consider coming into the city early and keep these street closures in mind:
Formation for the parade will begin at 8 a.m. Thursday at the following locations:
- West 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- West 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- Central Park West between West 77th and 86th Streets
Additional closures are as follows:
- Broadway between West 34th Street and West 40th Street: Midnight to 1 p.m.
- 6th Avenue between West 23rd Street and West 42nd Street: 2 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- 7th Avenue from West 34th Street and West 42nd Street: 2 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- 34th Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue: 10 p.m. Wednesday to 5 p.m.
- 59th Street E/B between 7th Avenue and Central Park West: Midnight to 2 p.m.
- 59th Street W/B between 5th Avenue and Central Park West: 2 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- 35th Street between 5th Avenue and 8th Avenue: 2 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- 36th Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue: 2 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- 37th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue: 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- 38th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue: 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- 8th Avenue between 34th Street and 40th Street: 4 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Broadway between 38th Street and 59th Street: 4 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- 33rd Street between 7th Avenue and 10th Avenue: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- 39th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- 40th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- 49th Street between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- 50th Street between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Central Park 65th Street/66th Street Transverse Roads: 7 a.m. until conclusion
From 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., vehicles will not be able to access:
- 6th Avenue between West 33rd and West 59th Street
- 8th Avenue between West 57th Street and West 59th Street
- 8th Avenue between West 33rd and West 40th Streets
- Broadway between 59th Street and 57th Street
- Broadway between West 34th and West 40th Streets (only escorted deliveries)
- 42nd Street between 5th and 8th Avenue
- 57th Street between 5th and 8th Avenue
For a full list of closures, click here.
Tips, Tricks And Things To Remember
Bathrooms are scarce. Hotels around the route are your best bet as well as at The Time Warner Center on 59th Street near Columbus Circle.
Leave the stroller at home or plan on bringing one that folds easily and can be carried. Trying to get through the crowds with a stroller can be impossible. Instead think light and easy to carry for your child and the stroller.
Pack snacks! While delis and convenience stores are usually open along the route, standing in the same place for a few hours waiting for the parade to start can feel like an eternity for little kids. Avoid meltdowns by supplying your own treats.
Dress warm and in layers. Standing outside for six hours can get pretty cold. Hats and gloves will keep you and your parade watching family happy and warm.