Since its conception in 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a beautiful tradition for the city of New York. Originally debuting on Christmas Day, 250 thousand New Yorker’s came to view the very first parade. Now the parade is so popular many people drop “Thanksgiving” from the title and refer to it as “The Macy’s Day Parade.”
The first parade was intended as a publicity stunt for the department store. Store workers walked the 6 mile route through the city with animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. It wasn’t until 1927 that the first balloon appeared in the parade – Felix the Cat.
In 91 years “The Macy’s Day Parade” had grown from 250,000 street onlookers to 3.5 million in 2015 – as well as 50 million viewers on the television. It’s come a long way from horse drawn floats. Now 8,000 volunteers and performers walk with the balloons and ride on floats. No matter the year, when you spend the morning watching the parade on Thanksgiving, you witness a piece of history.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Route
The Parade starts at 77th Street and Central Park West. It bangs a left at 59th Street, then a right onto 6th Street. Once it hits 34th Street, the parade takes a right and stops at the “Official Viewing Area” at 34th and 7th.
Best Places to View the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The advice of the NYC Tourist group is to avoid the Official Viewing Area at all cost. It’s the busiest area of the parade and very difficult to get a great spot to see the excitement. When I was a kid, my parents took me and my siblings to the parade and we stood along Central Park West. I’d recommend that spot – and so does the NYCTourist.com.
The parade starts at 9am sharp, so remember – wherever you choose to view the parade – be in the right spot at the right time. Be sure to get to your viewing spot early! Be prepared for any weather. It may be the end of November, but sometimes NYC can be unseasonably cold or warm.