Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving is an American holiday that is filled with history and tradition. Thanksgiving is a tribute to the country’s founders, the pilgrims, who came to the United States back in 1621. The pilgrims once hosted a massive three day feast to celebrate their first corn harvest on the new found land. However, it took until 1861 before President Lincoln proclaimed it as an annual holiday to be held in November.

Today, American’s celebrate Thanksgiving by eating turkey, and watching NFL football with family.  In fact, the NFL has started a few “Turkey Day” traditions as well – with the Cowboys and Lions always hosting home games during the holiday.

Another popular Thanksgiving Day tradition is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade is generally about three hours long and is held in downtown New York City starting at 9am ET. The parade is known for massive balloons and creative floats. It has become a staple of Thanksgiving morning for many American’s since it began in 1924. This year marks the 88th year of the annual parade and it promises to be as good as advertised.

Image logo of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Route

Image of the parade route for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route begins at the western edge of Central Park takes a left at 59th Street, a right at 6th Street, and finally a right at 34th Street before ending at the downtown Macy’s. See the image above for a visual snapshot.

The most popular places to view the parade are at Central Park West, the Time Warner Center, and along Sixth Avenue. Sightlines can be limited at times due to crowds and cameras – but you can claim a decent spot if you arrive early.

If you are concerned about the sightlines or the weather, there are multiple high rise hotels along the parade route in which you can view the event from your window. If you are not able to travel to New York to attend the parade, you can always watch it on TV. NBC televises the event live so you can enjoy the entire parade with your family and friends in the comfort of your own home.

Famous Balloons & Floats

In addition to the fun festivities, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is also known for its symbols of patriotism. The parade begins with military members carrying the U.S. flag while everyone pays proper respect to their country. During the parade, some of the most well known balloons and floats have become trademark images across the country. Here is a list of the most recognizable balloons and floats:

  • Ronald McDonald
  • SpongeBob Square pants
  • Spiderman
  • Snoopy
  • Uncle Sam (image below)
  • Mickey Mouse – one of the most longstanding traditions of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (image below)

Image of the Mickey Mouse balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.        Image of the Uncle Sam balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


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