The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual event that takes place in New York on Thanksgiving Day, a quintessential United States celebration commemorating the arrival of the Pilgrims in the New World. The parade, as the name suggests, is organized by the famous Macy's store and features gigantic balloons shaped like well-known characters, floats adorned with themes from movies, cartoons, musicals, and more, marching bands, singers, and clowns.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Don’t miss the opportunity, the day before the parade, to witness the inflation of the balloons. The balloons are inflated around the American Museum of Natural History (77th and 81st Streets, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue) on Wednesday, November 22nd.
The attractions vary slightly each year, and among the balloons we’ll see in 2023 are Bluey, DINO, Goku, Leo, and Luffy. The floats will include those from Disney Cruise Line, Kinder, LEGO, Wonka, and many others. As always, the singers performing will range from famous artists and true music legends to emerging talents.
When exactly does the parade take place, and where? What are the best options for fully appreciating it? What do you need to know before going? Here are all the key details about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which also include some tips on Black Friday (which occurs on the following Friday and it is supposed to offer the beast deals of the year).
The 2023 Thanksgiving Day Parade will mark the 97th edition and is set to take place on November 23rd, starting at 8:30 AM from Central Park West and concluding at 12:00 PM in front of Macy’s Herald Square. The parade will commence at 77th Street and Central Park West before making its way towards the Upper West Side up to Columbus Circle. From there, it will proceed along Central Park South to Sixth Avenue and pass through Midtown before coming to a halt in front of Macy's Herald Square on 34th Street.
For the best views of the show, head to Central Park West from West 75th to West 61st Streets. Since this spot is at the beginning of the route, it’s crucial to arrive early (getting there after the start at 9:00 AM, you’re likely to miss the chance of getting a good vantage point to witness the grandeur of the floats and balloons).
Further along the route, another excellent, yet different, spot to watch the parade is Columbus Circle. Although the sidewalks here are not open to the public, in past years, many spectators have chosen to watch from The Shops at Columbus Circle: the expansive windows of the shopping center probably offer the most coveted view of the circle and parade. In this case, you will not be along the route on the street but inside a buidling with a slighlty elevated vantage point. This is a good alternative for those that don't want to stand outside - however please note that you will not be close to the balloons and you won't be able to hear the performance.
The route, approximately 2.5 mile long, provides ample space for public viewing, but it’s wise to arrive very early (around 6:00 AM) if you want to secure a spot closer to the street. Those staying in one of the many hotels along the parade route may have the chance to watch the event directly from their window or hotel balcony.
Black Friday in New York is a special day for snagging deals at incredibly low prices. It takes place the day after Thanksgiving, an American holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. This year, Black Friday falls on November 24th.
To take full advantage of the sales, it's best to plan your trip in advance and decide which stores to visit. Some begin offering discounts as early as Thursday evening, while others open their doors very early on Friday morning. Be prepared to queue and navigate through crowds, as the event draws a significant number of shoppers.
Here are some of the major stores participating in Black Friday in New York, which are a must-add to your wishlist.
In conclusion, experiencing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and taking advantage of Black Friday for shopping is an extraordinary experience, blending the charm of the historic parade with the excitement and fun of discounts.