91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
The Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Parade is a world famous event known for it’s iconic giant-sized balloons. The parade kicks off in the heart of the Upper West Side. The neighborhood offer some prime viewing areas along Central Park West. Get all the latest info on the parade route, the line-up, the performers, and much more by reading on!
America’s oldest annual parade is back for its 91st edition. The first parade of its kind took place in 1924. Nowadays, over 3 million people from across the nation and the world brave the cold weather every fall to catch the legendary balloons float above the city’s skyscrapers. For those who prefer to stay at home, NBC will broadcast the entire parade live so that nobody misses out on the fun.
The route offers over 2 miles of prime viewing areas. The parade starts at 9am. It kicks off at 77th Street and Central Park West. The parade then heads South towards Columbus Circle. The stretch of blocks between 75th Street and 59th Street along Central Park West is a prime viewing area. Many early risers will camp out here to obtain first-row seats to the show. There’s also another good viewing spot at The Shops of Columbus Circle. The mall’s second floor is a great place to catch the parade from a unique point of view high above the ground.
The route then heads towards Central Park South. The parade proceeds to take a right turn towards 6th Avenue. This stretch of the route also offers prime viewing spots from 59th Street to 38th Street. However, keep in mind that the area between 34th and 38th streets and 34th Street between 6th and 7th avenue is restricted. This is where NBC broadcasts its special three-hour television special. The parade ends right by the Macy’s in Herald Square.
Floats, Balloons, and Performers
There are some awesome themed floats in this year’s line-up. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Nickelodeon, 1-2-3 Sesame Street by Sesame Workshop, It’s All Rock & Roll by Gibson Brands, Discover Adventure by Build-A-Bear, and Tom Turkey by Bravo’s Top Chef will all be making an appearance. There’ll also be three themed balloonicles. These are giant balloons that are motored by a self-powered vehicle. The three balloons will all be themed after Macy’s most iconic toy figures.
Selected high school and college marching bands from around the nation will also be performing at this year’s parade. Some of the bands include Nation Ford High School from Fort Mill in South Carolina and Ohio University. The NYPD Marching Band and the U.S. Air Force Marching Band will also be joining the parade. Dance groups like the Spirt of America Dance Stars, cheerleaders from the Spirt of America Cheer, and acrobats from the Big Apple Circus will all be showcasing their talents this Thanksgiving.
Some of America’s most beloved balloons will be back and some new ones will also be introduced. Balloons that depict cartoon characters such as Pokemon’s Pikachu, SpongeBob Squarepants, Charlie Brown, and the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger are some of the children’s favorites. Classic balloons such as Harold The Policeman, the Macy’s Yellow Star, and the Pillsbury Doughboy will also be back. New introductions will include Jett from the TV show “Super Wings”, and Macy’s Harold The Baseball Player, Golden Snowflake Stars, and Blue and White Star.
Balloon Inflation Night
Some balloon inflating action takes place the night before the parade from 3pm to 10pm. Inflation night has become somewhat of a ritual for New Yorkers and especially for many Upper West Siders. The event takes place by the American Museum of Natural History between West 77th Street and West 81st Street. Bring some hot cocoa with you and watch the balloons come alive as they soar up into the air.