The parade travels down Central Park West from 77th Street to Columbus Circle, then along Central Park South to 6th Avenue, down 6th Avenue to 34th Street, then finally along 34th Street to Macy's Herald Square (34th Street). Check out a map of the parade route for more detailed information on where to watch this spectacular event.
More than 8,000 people participate in the parade, including clowns, balloon handlers, and marching bands, while 3.5 million people line the streets along the parade route to see it in person and another 50 million watch the parade on television. The parade has been an annual tradition since 1924, and each year it gets bigger and better.
This year's line-up will feature giant character balloons, numerous floats, over 1,000 cheerleaders and dancers, over 1,000 clowns, 12 marching bands, many celebrities, and even Santa Claus! The Snoopy balloon is getting a makeover this year; he will be decked out in an astronaut suit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Smokey bear will also return to the parade to celebrate his 75th birthday.
The parade travels south beginning at 77th Street & Central Park West and ending at Macy's Herald Square, meaning there are a number of great public viewing areas along the parade route.
Standing on the west side of Central Park West from 70th Street to Columbus Circle and the east side from 70th to 65th Streets, the west side of Columbus Circle, anywhere along 6th Avenue between 58th and 34th Streets, and on the south side of 34th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue are the best locations to view this annual tradition.
While there are private events along the parade route at hotels and restaurants, the bleacher area is reserved for Macy's guests and there are no tickets for sale for those spots.
To get a good viewing spot, many people arrive before 6:30 a.m. on the morning of the parade to stake out space along the parade route. Be sure to wear plenty of warm clothes and bring a thermos full of coffee or hot cocoa, as it can be quite cold.
The duration of the parade depends on where you view it from. Near the beginning of the route, it will last about one-and-a-half hours, closer to Macy's, the parade will last closer to three hours.
You can also book a hotel room with a view of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and for those who do not want to brave the fall cold in the early morning to get a spot, the parade will be aired on NBC from 9 a.m. until noon. Watching it on television is also a great way to get the commentary and fun facts behind the balloons and floats.
If you'd like to get a chance to see the balloons as they get blown up, on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, you can watch the inflation of the 25 parade balloons from 3 to 10 p.m. near the American Museum of Natural History just off Central Park West between 77th and 81st Streets.
This is an exceptional opportunity to see the balloons up close as they come to life, and there are plenty of great restaurants, clubs, and shopping opportunities nearby so you can easily make an evening of watching these balloons inflate then hitting up a night on the town after. It's quite the experience to see all the work and time that goes into the balloons. Many New Yorkers prefer seeing this than the actual parade.