If you're spending Thanksgiving in New York, you can't miss out on the parade. It's one of the best traditions of the American holiday. And while the rest of the country (and the world) watch from their television sets, you're one of the few who get to see all the splendor and magic live. Sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it? Though, if you're not careful, it might just turn into a nightmare! New York is a pretty wild place, after all, and even Macy’s Thanksgiving parade can't change that. So to ensure that nothing goes wrong as you watch the parade live, follow these helpful tips.
Look Over The Parade Route Beforehand
If it's your first time watching Macy's Thanksgiving Parade live, then you ought to study the parade route beforehand. Not only will this help you get to where you need to be, but you can also pick out a good spot to watch the parade. And make sure that the route you're looking at is this year's route. Though it doesn't always happen, the parade route does change at times. On TV, it may look like the floats and big balloons all pass the same buildings and neighborhoods in New York
, but they don't. If you're not careful, you might end up far from the route altogether!
Dress in Layers
Remember that Thanksgiving is held during the latter part of November. By this time, it's already reaching the peak of fall in New York
. And you know what means, right? Cold weather! Since this is about the time of the season when it's easing into winter, you can guarantee a lot of cold breezes to blow your way. So make sure to dress up in layers if you plan to watch the parade on the street. Don't think that just because there will be lots of people around that you can stay warm amidst the tight crowds. You're still gonna feel cold if you only dress lightly!
Buy Your Snacks Prior to The Parade
More often than not, Macy's Thanksgiving Parade lasts for about three hours. It usually starts at 9:00 am and ends around 12:00 noon. Though it's not a lot of time, there's a good chance you might go hungry then, especially if you arrived at your sport a few hours prior. So before you get to your spot, buy your snacks already. Or prepare them at home before you head out! Go for the classic New York snacks
that are easy to eat standing up like sandwiches, hotdogs, and the like. Even when there will be stalls and sellers nearby, it'll be hard to get to them when there are already a lot of people.
Set Up Your Spot Early in The Morning
It can't be stressed enough that if you want to get a good spot, you have to get there early. Do you know what's a good time to get to the parade route? 6:00 am in the morning! That's right! A good three hours before the start of the parade. This may seem too much at first, but remember that there are countless people in New York. The population alone has 18,867,000 (as of this writing), and then there are the tourists who came to the city to celebrate Thanksgiving and watch the parade. There's a lot of competition to get the good spots so the earlier you are, the better!
Leave The Chair at Home
It's natural that you want to bring a chair along so you can sit on your spot as you wait for the parade to start. But to be frank, you're better off not bringing one. For one thing, the crowds will get so tight as the parade starts that there will barely be any space for your chair. And if you do sit on one and you're not at the front of the line, all you'll see are people's heads. Not to mention you'll aggravate those around you by taking up too much space as well. Remember that New Yorkers aren't exactly the most patient people in the world!
Stay Near The Central Park West
Now, in terms of where the good spots are when watching the Thanksgiving Parade, your best bet is near Central Park
. Or more specifically, Central Park West, over 72nd and 61st streets. According to Ashley Smith of My Wanderlusty Life
, this is near the beginning parts of the route so as such, there are often fewer people here. The corner of 6th and Central Park South is also a good spot, especially for viewing the balloons. This is where there are fewer buildings to obstruct the view of the balloons as they make their way down the route.
Avoid 6th Avenue
As for which parts of the Thanksgiving Parade route to avoid, don't go anywhere near 6th Avenue. More specifically, between 38th and 34th streets. This is where most of the TV broadcast is filmed, which means you can get as close to all the action compared to the other parts of the route. If you want to see what goes on in this part of the route, you're better off watching TV instead. Also, you'd do well to avoid Central Park West between 72nd and 77th streets too. There's no public viewing from this area since this is where the parade route starts.
Bring a Power Bank
As you watch all the colorful floats, marching bands, gigantic balloons, and featured celebrities pass by, you'll definitely want to capture it all with your phone, right? But remember that you'll be spending a lot of time on your spot. You went there at 6:00 am and spent three hours waiting for the parade to start at 9:00 am. And then there are another three hours for the parade itself. Throughout these six hours, your battery can get drained pretty quickly. So to avoid suffering low battery, bring a power bank
! This way, you can charge your phone as you wait to capture the best moments in the parade!
Don't Take Public Transport
And finally, as you go to and from your spot to watch the Thanksgiving Parade, there's one thing you need to avoid: public transport! It's better to just walk to the parade route than to take a taxi or the New York Subway
. Why? For the former, some roads will be closed for the parade so taking a cab
would be a hassle. As for the latter, there might be fewer trains operating also because of the parade. So you're better off staying at a nearby hotel—or luxury rental
!—near the parade route and just walking to get a good spot!
If you plan to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York this year, then follow these helpful tips. Though it's a fun tradition, all sorts of problems may arise if you're not careful. It's always better to be safe than sorry!