The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a nationally viewed event so cemented in the minds of American culture that people travel from all around the globe to get a glimpse of the life size balloons, floats, cheerleaders, marching bands, and Hollywood celebrities that paint this historic 2-mile route. The parade showcases 10,000 participants, and crowds of 2 to 3.5 million spectators along the streets, as well as 50 million viewers on TV.
Each year the celebrity line-up is announced just one day prior to the event but it never disappoints. Last year’s appearances included the likes of: Cee Lo Green, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary J. Blige, Avril Levigne, Cobra Starship, and many more. But you can certainly count on old standby floats like Harold the Policeman, Uncle Sam, the Little Toy Solider (first introduced into the parade in 1949), and Macy’s Star “Virginia” (who is as wide as 126 taxi cabs, and high as a 389-story building) as noted on the parade’s official website.
When to arrive: Although the parade starts at 9am, onlookers start lining up at 6:30am along the designated parade route. Many people bring stools, folding chairs, or milk crates for sitting or standing–knowing they may be in one area for 4-5 hours if they plan to stay for the entire parade.
The parade path: This year, the 86th-annual parade will march along a new route. Beginning at Central Park West and West 77th Street on November 22, the procession will head down Central Park West and travel east along Central Park South to Sixth Avenue, then proceed south from West 59th Street to West 34th Street, ending in front of the Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square.