Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2019: Start time, where to watch, more

The Olaf balloon moves through Sixth Avenue during the 92nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Know the balloons, the street closures and the acts before you go.

The joy and pizzazz of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is coming, and before you head out, make sure you know what to expect so there are no (bad) surprises when you’re trying to get a glimpse of Idina Menzel, Billy Porter or SpongeBob.

In its 93rd year, the iconic event promises tons of entertainment — from songs by That Girl Lay Lay, Natasha Bedingfield, Chris Young, NCT 127, Chris Janson and Josh Dela Cruz, sets by dance troupes to performances by marching bands, and Santa Claus to wrap it all up in a big red bow.

Here’s all you need to know:

The 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route. (Courtesy Macy’s)

What time does it start? 9 a.m.

What time should I arrive to get a good viewing spot? Before 6 a.m.

Where are the best places to watch? Some say there are no magic spots, but the farther you are from Macy’s/Herald Square, the better. If you’re an early bird, head to Central Park West, between West 59th and 75th streets. Central Park South at Sixth Avenue has multiple vantage points since that is where the parade starts to head south. Avoid 77th Street and Central Park West; Sixth Avenue between 34th and 38th streets; 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues; and Herald Square.

People try to stay warm before the 92nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

What is the parade route? The parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West and marches south to Columbus Circle. It then heads east on 59th Street before turning onto Sixth Avenue and heading south to 34th Street. The parade heads west on 34th Street before culminating at Macy’s.

What are the new balloons? Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s  “Love Flies Up To The Sky,” Astronaut Snoopy, Smokey Bear, and SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary, and Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.

What celebrities are in the parade?

In order of appearance: Billy Porter, Black Eyed Peas, Celine Dion, Chicago, Chris Janson, Chris Young, Ciara, Debbie Gibson, Astronaut Dr. Janet L. Kavandi, Idina Menzel, Josh Dela Cruz, Astronaut Kay Hire, Kelly Rowland, Lea Michele, Natasha Bedingfield, NCT 127, Nia Franklin, Ozuna, Tenille Townes, That Girl Lay Lay and TLC.

What streets are closed? 

Formation:

  • Columbus Avenue between 72nd Street and 83rd Street
  • Central Park West between 81st Street and 86th Street
  • 81st, 77th, 76th, 73rd, 71st, 68th and 62nd streets, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

Parade route: 

  • Central Park West between 81st Street and the East Side of Columbus Circle/59th Street
  • Columbus Circle between 59th Street and Broadway
  • Broadway between 59th and 58th streets
  • 59th Street between Columbus Circle and Sixth Avenue
  • Sixth Avenue between 59th and 34th streets
  • 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues

The following streets will be closed between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.:

  • Sixth Avenue, between West 33rd and West 59th streets
  • Eighth Avenue, between West 57th and West 59th streets, and West 33rd and West 40th streets
  • Broadway, between West 59th and West 57th streets, and West 34th and West 40th streets (only escorted deliveries)
  • 42nd Street between Fifth and Eighth avenues
  • 57th Street between Fifth and Eighth avenues

Additional closures for Thursday:

  • 40th Street, between Seventh Avenue and Sixth Avenue
  • 39th to 36th streets, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue
  • Sixth Avenue between 34th Street and 33rd Street
  • Eighth Avenue between 40th Street and 33rd Street
Musicians play as they move through Sixth Avenue during the 92nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

I can’t make it to the parade, so how do I watch?

  • NBC: You can catch all the performances, floats, balloons and more on your tablet, phone or computer by logging onto nbc.com/live or via the Watch NBC app. The only catch: You will need a valid cable provider login to access the stream.
  • YouTube: For the third year in a row, Macy’s and NBC have teamed up with Verizon to make the entire parade available for free live viewing via YouTube. The 360-degree video will be available at youtube.com/watch?v=V6-uisXk6P8 starting at 8:30 a.m. The stream will run through noon.
  • Social Media: Macy’s isn’t promising full live coverage on the parade on its Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, but the chances you’ll get to see bits of the action are pretty high. Follow @Macys and @NBC on your favorite social platforms for the chance to see parts of the parade without cable. Follow #MacysParade for photos, video clips and more from the parade route.

Shaye Weaver