New York’s greatest Turkey Day tradition, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, will again step off Thursday morning to delight millions of spectators with an array of colorful floats, balloons and great performances — and a visit from Santa Claus.
The big march marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in the Five Boroughs. Tens of thousands are expected to watch the parade live along the 2.5 mile route through Manhattan, while millions more will take it in from the comforts of their homes.
Here’s what you need to know about the festivities:
96th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Thursday, Nov. 24, 8:45 a.m.-noon
Steps off at the corner of West 77th Street and Central Park West
Ends at Herald Square, West 34th Street and 6th Avenue
TV: NBC and Peacock, 9 a.m.-noon.
The more than 2.5-mile parade route starts on the Upper West Side at the edge of Central Park, and winds its way south through Midtown along Central Park West, Central Park South and 6th Avenue.
Most of the prime viewing spots are along a 21-block stretch of 6th Avenue between West 59th and West 38th Street. There’s also some viewing spots available early on Thursday morning along Central Park West between West 75th and 61st Streets.
No public viewing spots are available at several junctures along the parade route, including Columbus Circle and Herald Square, due to logistics related to the parade telecast.
How to get there
Don’t even think about driving into Manhattan to get to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Subways and commuter rail remain your best option to get there safely and swiftly.
All subway trains will operate on a Sunday schedule (Staten Island Railway trains will run on a Saturday schedule). Sixth Avenue Line trains (B, D, F) are your best bet to the big parade, but note that select entrances and exits at stops near the parade route will be closed, so plan accordingly.
Extra service will also be provided on the Grand Central Shuttle and the 1 line to accommodate the spectators.
Early risers who want to be on the Upper West Side for the start of the parade can take the 1/2/3 train to 72nd Street, the 1 train to 79th Street, the C train to 81st Street, or the 1 train to 59th Street-Columbus Circle.
If you’re coming in from the suburbs, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad will operate extra trains to Penn Station and Grand Central Station, respectively, before and after the parade.
Visit mta.info for more details.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is famous for its lineup of awe-inspiring balloons that soar above the spectators, and this year, parade watchers will get to enjoy four new additions to the balloon lineup.
The newcomers include Bluey, the popular star of the Australian kids TV series. Truly larger than life and fiction, Bluey measures 52 feet tall, as high as a four-story building, and is 37 feet wide, or the width of seven taxi cabs put together.
Other new balloons at this year’s parade include Greg Heffley, the main character in the youth novel “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series; Sinclair’s Dino, of the Sinclair Oil Company; and Stuart the Minion of the popular Despicable Me movie franchise.
Popular balloons returning to this year’s parade include Snoopy, Ada Twist Scientist; Goku of the Dragon Ball anime franchise; Harold the Firefighter; Paw Patrol; the Pillsbury Doughboy; and The Smurfs.
No heavy winds are in the forecast for Thursday morning, so the balloons are expected to take to the air without any trouble.
From marching bands to Broadway musical casts, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade offers plenty of musical entertainment for spectators to enjoy from the parade route and from the comforts of their living room.
Twelve marching bands from across America and 24 major stars from the music, movie and theater industries will take part in the parade, either walking along the street or riding atop the dozens of floats.
Scheduled to perform and appear at the parade are Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg of Peacock’s “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin”; Betty Who; Big Time Rush; Blanco Brown; Cam; Dionne Warwick; Fitz and the Tantrums; Gloria, Sasha and Emily Estefan; Jordin Sparks; Joss Stone; Kirk Franklin; Miss America Emma Broyles; Paula Abdul; Sean Paul; Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue; and Ziggy Marley.
Among the performance groups that’ll appear include Ballety Hispánico; the Big Apple Circus; Boss Kids; Fusion Winter Guard; Kilgore College Rangerettes; Phantom Limb Company; Spirit of America Dance Stars; Spirit of America Cheer; St. John’s Dance Group; and the Sigma Gamma Rho Centennial Steppers.
For more information about the big march, visit macys.com/social/parade.