Let's hope you're good at early mornings, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a NYC tradition not to be missed.
- When? 23rd Nov 2017
- Where? Central Park West to 6th Avenue
- Price: free
We all know the US is famous for its big cities, big portions and big personalities but have you seen the giant turkey that walks through New York City every November? An inflatable turkey named Tom that is.
The 90th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is your chance to see an inflatable Spongebob Squarepants, Pikachu, Paddington Bear and Ronald McDonald to name but a few. Stretching for two and half miles from Central Park West to Macy’s on Herald Square, this event is an absolute must if you want to get into the festive spirit during your visit to New York City.
3.5 million people can’t be wrong – yes 3.5 million people take to the streets of NYC to watch the three-hour parade which runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thanksgiving, finishing just in time for everyone to return home to their very own turkey. With everything from a huge inflatable Power Ranger to marching bands from across the US and even hi-roller skating clowns, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a sensory phenomenon that all the family can enjoy.
As well as the giant balloons, there’s also floats from the likes of Sesame Street and of course the infamous Tom Turkey created by Macy’s themselves, who leads the parade. Marching bands create the soundtrack to the parade, with some travelling from as far as Texas and Florida. The New York Police Department marching band even get involved. You can also see cheerleading troupes from across the country and clowns of every variety such as rag-doll clowns, half-baked holiday clowns and even cute-but-slightly-creepy baby clowns.
The Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation is also worth a visit. Held the day before the parade, this is your chance to see some of the event's highlights without having to stand in the mass crowds. Head down to the American Museum of Natural History between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. for the best views.
Get down to the parade site early for a good spot - and by early we’re talking 6.30 a.m. It’s recommended to find a spot on the Upper West Side where the parade starts so viewing lasts an hour and a half instead of three hours as predicted at the Macy's store itself. November in NYC can be a little unpredictable so take plenty of layers as temperatures are known to drop to a chilly 5 degrees Celsius. If you plan to go early be sure to pack plenty of refreshments and find a spot close to a restaurant or café so you won’t have to go far for a restroom.
If the thought of standing in a crowd of millions of people is enough to put you off your Thanksgiving dinner later then you should find a nearby hotel to stay in and watch the parade from the privacy of your own window. Sounds like a much better idea doesn’t it? Well, provided you’re very organised (we’re thinking a year in advance should do it) and have a few dollars to spare you should be able to watch the parade from a warm, cosy hotel room. Try the Warwick New York Hotel, New York Hilton Midtown or the Mandarin Oriental.
The festivities are finished by 12 p.m. so you can head home to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with your family and friends. Just don’t forget to put the turkey in when you leave the house first thing or the only bird you’ll be seeing on Thanksgiving is Tom the big, inflatable turkey.
- Get there: Fly into NYC and use the subway system or a taxi to get around the city. If you're staying close to the parade route it's easier to walk to the event.
- Stay: Mandarin Oriental hotel offers a ‘I Love A Parade’ package where you can watch the parade from a 6,000-square-foot ballroom.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!