For almost 90 years, marching bands and massive balloons have taken over the streets of Manhattan. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a time-honored tradition that every resident of New York City apartments should see live at least once in their lifetime. Watching the parade on television just isn’t as exciting or entertaining. Here are a few tips to make the most of the experience.
1. Download the official parade app.
Get the latest parade information delivered to your smart phone with the official mobile app. Weather conditions, schedule of events, last-minute additions and the parade route are all updated in real time. There are also fun features that allow you to see close-ups of the balloons and learn fun factoids. Or, you can follow @Macys on Twitter for the latest parade route tweets.
2. Avoid the grandstands at Herald Circle.
This is typically the most crowded portion of the parade route and is closed to the general public. (Macy’s does not sell grandstand tickets, they are reserved for VIPs.) The parade route stretches out for 2½ miles, so you are better off getting up early and finding a spot elsewhere. Generally speaking, the further you are from Herald Circle the less crowded it will be.
3. Pack for the day.
You will need to arrive at the parade route hours before the parade starts. Once you claim your spot, you don’t want to move from that spot. Be sure to pack breakfast, coffee or hot chocolate and plenty things to stay entertained. It is also a good idea to wear layers and pack a blanket to stay warm.
4. Make a party of it.
If getting up early and freezing your feet off isn’t your idea of a good time, you might want to consider getting a hotel room along the parade route. This a popular but pricy option—rooms run upwards of $1,000 the night before the parade—so you’ll likely want to split the cost with a group of friends and make a party of it. Trump International Tower also has a viewing area in front of the hotel reserved for guests of the hotel, allowing you to switch between the street and the room during the multi-hour parade.
Any New Yorker will tell you that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is nothing short of spectacular. Use these tips and plan accordingly for the best experience. If you have any insights of your own, please share them below.