Going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year? Check out this helpful guide to give you all the information you need to know!
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The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Survival Guide
Is a trip to New York City in your plans this Thanksgiving? Besides eating at the best cheap restaurants and playing tourist at these must-see sites, be sure to schedule in the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see New York City all decked out for Christmas.
1. Plan ahead.
The parade starts at 9am, but doesn’t finish until nearly 11am & by the time you get out of the crowds and back to your apartment or hotel, it can be close to noon. Plan ahead so you are not stressed with your Thanksgiving Day feast preparations. Make the pies the night before, simplify some of your dishes, or just plan to start your dinner a bit later.
2. Go early.
5am may seem early, but it is worth it. As with most events in the city, the Thanksgiving Day Parade attracts a HUGE crowd. By going early, you avoid having to wander through the thousands of people with a risk of losing half your group. Trust me, it can be miserable. Plus, you score yourself front row seats-making the parade much more enjoyable to watch. Just FYI- the parade starts at 81st Street and gets much more crowded as it gets closer to the ending point at Macy’s in Herald Square.
3. Bundle up!
Coats, gloves, hats…you’ll want ’em all! The weather has usually started to get chilly by this time of the year. You don’t want to be freezing the whole morning long.
4.Take camp chairs & blankets.
After all, if you have to wait several hours for the parade to begin, it is that much more comfortable to have a place to sit. Take lightweight camping chairs such as these you can get on Amazon so that you are carrying heavy, bulky chairs.
5. Pack yourself breakfast.
Now, you may not be hungry for anything at 5am, but the parade doesn’t get over until around 11am, so we usually bring breakfast pastries or muffins, fruit, and other snacks along with hot cocoa. Just don’t drink too much because you will not be able to leave to find a bathroom until the parade is over!
6. Don’t forget your camera.
The giant balloons, soaring through the sky next to the tall buildings along Central Park West are an absolutely amazing sight. You will want to be able to capture the moment!
7. The Pre-Parade Party.
If you feel like the parade might be a bit too much for you, you can attend the “blowing-up-of-the-balloons-party” the night before. All the balloons are spread out around the block at the Museum of Natural History. Beginning around 5pm, they blow up the balloons so you can walk around and see them up close. Great for kids who may not be able to sit through the entire parade. Just be warned that this also gets crowded the later you go.
And for those of you far from this bustling city, cozy up in your pj’s and slippers and flip on the TV to watch the parade from the comfort of your warm home. It’s not quite as magical as being there in person, but it is still fun & look for me–I’ll be waving!
Happy Thanksgiving from the City!
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*This post was written by Emily Poll, who lives in the Upper West City of Manhattan.