All Ages

Ultimate Guide to the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Spiderman at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; Courtesy of a katz/Shutterstock.com

From the extravagant floats to the humongous balloons to the stunning performances and beyond, the legendary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has something for everyone in the family—no matter your age. For families who plan to attend this year’s parade in person, there are important details to know before you go. From where to stay to what to wear, here’s your ultimate guide to the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Parade Route

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins promptly at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the corner of 77th Street and Central Park West. It will travel south to Columbus Circle, where it will turn east onto Central Park South before turning onto 6th Avenue. After traveling down 6th from 59th Street to 34th Street, the parade will turn right and end at Macy’s in Herald Square. The parade lasts about three hours, ending at noon.

A map of the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route in New York City.

2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: General Admission Seating

There is no fee to attend and view the parade, but all seating along the route is first-come, first-served. Grandstand seating is not open to the public, so spectators must bring their own chairs and blankets for their spots along the parade route. Many families camp out early in the morning (arriving as early as 4 a.m.!) in order to get a good spot for the parade, so plan accordingly.

The best places to sit for families who plan to arrive early (around 6 a.m.) are between 75th and 59th streets on Central Park West, before the parade turns at Columbus Circle. For families looking to arrive a little later (between 7 and 8 a.m.), grab a spot on 6th Avenue between 59th and 38th streets. Seating is very limited between 38th Street and Herald Square, due to the various TV broadcasts.

Tip: Call YAI National Institute at 212-273-6181 or visit their website for more information.

2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Parade Floats, Balloons & Performers

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Float

Returning float favorites include Snoopy’s Doghouse, Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree, and of course, Tom Turkey and Santa’s Sleigh! Beloved balloons will include Olaf, Paw Patrol’s Chase, The Grinch and Max, and more, plus two newcomers: Astronaut Snoopy 2.0 and the Strawberry/Pistachio Ice Cream Come (with more to be announced).

Eleven marching bands will join the parade, too; many are high school bands from all over the country, joined by the New York Police Department’s Marching Band and the Macy’s Great American Marching Band. Cheer and dance teams from around the country will also march in the parade, as will the Radio City Rockettes.

Tip: For an extra-special experience, head to New York City the day before Thanksgiving in order to see the large balloons being inflated for the parade. On Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, you can go to the area on Central Park West, between 81st and 77th streets, in front of the American Museum of Natural History, and see the balloons before they take flight in the parade. Inflation takes place between 3 and 10 p.m. and is free and open for the public to view. Just don’t attempt to drive there—walk if you’re close enough or use public transit.

2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: What to Wear

The weather is unpredictable this time of year in New York City, and the best thing you can do is pack and wear layers. Here’s a short list of things to pack for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2019:

2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Where to Stay

Looking for a hotel with a view of the parade? Check out these parade route hotels and hotel packages for the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Related: The Best New York City Family Hotels

2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Things to Do 

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Whether you have time to spare before or after the parade, be sure to check out these family-friendly things to do in New York City, including holiday attractions and events!

  • Central Park: Walk, bike, feed the birds or let the kids be kids on the various playgrounds in Central Park. It’s a free attraction that can easily eat up spare time. Tip: Weather permitting, enjoy ice skating in the park for a memorable experience.
  • Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes: Snag tickets to the famous Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, or just enjoy walking around the iconic hall while sipping hot chocolate from Magnolia Bakery.
  • Broadway: Book tickets to a kid-friendly show on Broadway! You don’t have to spend a fortune on tickets, either (unless you’re seeing Hamilton)—check sites such as StubHub and Goldstar, plus other easy ways to score cheap Broadway tickets.
  • The Rink at Rockefeller Center: Watch the ice skaters or give it a whirl yourself at The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Walk the plaza while window-shopping or head to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck for spectacular views of the city.
  • Empire State Building: Whether you snap a photo of the famous skyscraper from the ground or are brave enough to travel to the top, the Empire State Building is a must-see whenever your family visits the Big Apple.
  • Holiday Lights & Movie Sites Tour: Want to see the apartment where Buddy the Elf lived in Elf and stand where Kevin McAllister reunites with his mom in Home Alone II: Lost in New York? Get tickets to the Holiday Lights & Movie Sites Tour with On Location Tours.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Christmas in New York City

2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Where to Eat 

Stop in for a bite at one of these restaurants along the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route.

  • Dallas BBQ
    Southern cooking in the big city? It’s comfort food that comes in large portions at budget-friendly prices. Dallas BBQ is a chain, but the 72nd Street location is close to Central Park West and the parade route.
  • Astro
    Greek-American diner, Astro, serves up breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night favorites and is located close to the parade route on 6th Avenue, between 55th and 56th streets.
  • Tony’s Di Napoli – Midtown
    Enjoy family-style Italian favorites at Tony’s Di Napoli Midtown location on 43rd Street, between 6th and 7th avenues.
  • Magnolia Bakery
    In need of dessert? Enjoy cupcakes, cookies, hot chocolate and other treats from Magnolia Bakery. The location on 6th Avenue, between 49th and 50th streets, is convenient (and close to Radio City Music Hall).
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