Expat - New York · Nth America

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Experience

Back in 2015, Jon and I had bid and won some “priceless” Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade grandstand seating tickets at a charity event. 

On the day of the Parade we managed to sit between 68th & 69th Streets along Central Park West. Our seating location was amazing! It gave us an awesome view of the parade.

Macys Parade Route

If you look at the route map above as a guide, you can see we were more towards the start of the parade route.

On The Day

We couldn’t have asked for better weather considering it was heading into winter.  The day was sunny and chilly – but there was not a rain cloud in sight. We left our apartment on W55th & Broadway around 5:30am because I wanted to get to our meeting point of Columbus Ave & 71st as early as possible. Yes I know the parade didn’t start until 9am but early bird and all that..

On our walk up, we were surprised to see that many other people had already started lining up for the parade along Central Park West with blankets, thermostats and donuts! We were definitely not the early birds! The sun hadn’t risen by the time we joined our designated seating queue.

Before Sunrise

We got to watch the sunrise while we waited in line. By the time we were seated, around 7:30am, the sun was out.


We waited patiently for the parade to begin and felt lucky that we were smart enough to pack some food but not enough to share with others (families around us had packed nothing at all). 

What did help pass the wait time was the ‘pre-Parade entertainment’. This consisted a group of people wearing hats shaped like roast turkeys, chanting some sort of song with the line “Turkey Day Touchdown” in it. You’ll see what I mean by watching the video below:

The Parade is a public event. If you didn’t have seating you could head down and line up on the street like these guys – but you will need to get up extra, extra early to get a spot.

Finally, Parade Time!

The parade was well paced.  The branded balloons were spaced out, and in between each branded balloon float were smaller balloons and entertainer floats.

Some of the branded balloons included Angry Bird’s Red, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Elf on the Shelf, Hello Kitty, How to Train Your Dragon’s Toothless, Ice Age’s Scrat and His Acorn, Paddington, Snoopy & Woodstock, SpongeBob SquarePants and Thomas the Tank Engine.

I think I read somewhere that each balloon required 80-90 people to help hold and navigate the balloon.

Thanksgiving Parade balloons - Glo Abroad

Go For The Experience

We usually do ‘big events’ that require a long wait period, or are super expensive, just once. And I can safely say that having done it this way (grandstand seating), I will not need to see this parade again. We feel that we did it properly and had the experience.

I would highly recommend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, whether you get grandstand seats or not – just to wake up super early, bundle up with loads of snacks and hot drinks, and wait.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade website is loaded with information: www.macys.com/social/parade

I create a quick video using the footage from our day:

The Highlight Of The Parade For Me:

Mariah Carey! I nearly lost my sh^t when I saw her. I have loved her ever since I was able to buy music.

It’s now 2019

❤️ It’s been four years and I still have fond memories of the Parade. As (the US) Thanksgiving approaches this year, I want to wish my (American) friends a wonderful Turkey Day.

Fun fact: Other countries observe or have a similar holiday to Thanksgiving. Countries such as The Netherlands, Philippines, Germany, and Japan.

Although I had never celebrated Thanksgiving prior to when I lived in New York, it is the only American holiday/tradition I will continue.

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