Macy's Balloon Inflation and Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, NY

by happynutritionist

Whether you watch it on TV or are fortunate enough to be able to attend, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York is a tradition that has spanned generations.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual tradition in our home, and not so far away that we couldn't visit in person if we wanted to. It is hard to believe that 2016 marks the 90th Anniversary parade!

The inflation of the huge balloons before the parade is equally exciting for many. I hope that the information available on this page will help you plan your day in New York for the parade.

Don't miss our poll, let us know if you have attended the parade and share your experience if you have time in the comment section, it will be helpful to those making plans to attend the parade.

I update this each year to provide you with parade route information, mass transit info, helpful facts for those who want to attend the balloon inflation, and links to sources for more information that I have found to be particular helpful. You may also want to visit "Christmas in New York City", there is a link in the right margin to the page.

Intro Image Credit: flickr creative commons photo

Content by Claudia Meydrech a/k/a happynutritionist
New on Wizzley - September 2014 - Updated 10/21/16

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Route 2016

Ends at Macy's at Harold Square, 151 W. 34th Street, NY, NY
Here is the usual route:

1. The parade starts at 77th Street and Central Park West

2. It moves down Central Park West to 59th St.

3. Turns left on 59th Street

4. Turns right on 6th Avenue

5. Turns Right on 34th St. and ends in front of Macy's at Herald Square.

JUST IN CASE you may also want to take a look at the map on this page, but my best info for this year is as written above.


Celebrate the Parade with a Pop-Up Book!

I just love the art involved in creating one of these special books and enjoy looking at them as well as giving them as gifts
Macy's on Parade: A Pop-Up Celebration of Macy's Thanksgi...

Best Places to Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Besides home in your warm house in front of the TV

In the past few years, the following places have been suggested:

Central Park W - on the West side of street from 70th Street to Columbus Circle and on the east side of street from 70th to 65th
Columbus Circle - the west side of street
7th Ave. - between 58th & 42nd Streets
42nd St. - 7th* to 6th Avenues
6th Ave. - between 58th & 34th Streets
34th* St. - on the south side of street between Broadway & 7th Avenue

Get there early! People begin finding their places as early as 6 am.

Seating is usually not available from 34th Street and 38th Street on 6th Avenue, and 34th Street from Broadway to 7th Avenue...these areas are reserved for broadcasting equipment.

Visit this link, it provides many tips that you will find helpful if you plan to attend the parade.

Thanksgiving Weekend New York MTA Bus Subway and Rail Service

Mass transit is the best way to get around New York, in fact many residents do not even own cars.

Here is a link to the latest MTA Transit Rail, Bus and Subway news.

As Thanksgiving approaches, articles related to the holiday weekend will appear. Along the top of the page, you will find links to schedules and much more. 

It might not be a bad idea to carry a subway map with you like the one shown here-->


Where to View the Balloon Inflation for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

A fun celebration the day before open to the public

The balloons for the parade will be inflated Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue. This is by American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This goes on between 3 and 10 pm.

Though it's nice to get their early, the balloons begin to really look impressive 2-3 hours into the inflation time period. Using mass transit (see info. above) is recommended.

Keep very close watch of your children if you bring them, it is easy to lose them in the excitement.

In the past, the entrance to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloon inflation has been 79th Street and Columbus Avenue. If you are taking the subway, use B or C to 81st Street to the  Museum of Natural History.

The vintage balloons pictured above were used at very early parades, probably in the 1940's.

Have You Attended the New York Thanksgiving Parade?

Your experience shared in the comment section at the end of this page will be helpful to others
  Display results
If you have attended, please share whether your experience was positive or not in the comment section at the end of this page.

Hello Kitty Balloon at the Parade

Creative Commons Flickr Photo - see link in introduction
Hello Kitty Big Balloon
Hello Kitty Big Balloon
Flickr Creative Commons

NEW Balloons to be Added to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in 2016

They have already been tested and look great!

The new Balloons are:

  • An updated Charlie Brown for his 50th anniversary and the parades 90th Anniversary!
  • I will post more balloons as I hear about them

It is suggested that you focus on seeing the balloons at the parade as the areas where performances take place are generally VERY crowded and also areas where most of the media is.

Watching on TV vs. Being in New York

Would you rather watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York or at home on TV?

I'd rather sit home in my warm house and watch the parade
RuthCox on 09/16/2014

I would much rather watch from my warm home but I really would like to see the Macy's parade up close and personal just once.

Sylvestermouse on 09/16/2014

I'm not much on huge crowds, but I do love watching on tv

Watch the Parade on TV

You can find the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on the following television stations starting at 9 AM EST:

CBS varies by time zone

NBC varies by time zone

You will have to check local time in the area where you live.

Here is the entire 2013 parade on video!

The mother of Susan in this classic movie was an organizer for the parade

Different formats for "Miracle on 34th Street" are available if you click through and search
Miracle on 34th Street [VHS]

And after Thanksgiving comes Chistmas!

Don't miss the Christmas season in New York if you have the opportunity to visit!

Everyone enjoys visiting Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center site and other well known places in New York.

You can find even more information about places to see in New York at "Christmas in New York City", something that begins as soon as Thanksgiving ends.

When you're in New York, don't miss the chance to buy a hot pretzel from a street vendor...sprinkled with salt, and if you like, a packet of mustard. It's a MUST whenever we are in the City!

Updated: 10/21/2016, happynutritionist
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?

Have you ever attended the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NY? What was your experience like?

happynutritionist on 09/17/2014

&Raintree I do think you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home assuming that they play it on TV where you are? On a cold, rainy day, it may be the best way to enjoy it, as all the entertainment is right in front of you.

Raintree on 09/17/2014

I am way to far away to be able to visit the parade but who knows maybe one year if we holiday nearby! It certainly looks like fun :)

happynutritionist on 09/16/2014

@RuthCox I have to say that watching on TV is my favorite way to observe, but there are many who love the city life, with its crowds and events like this one. The City never sleeps as they say. I hope one day you are able to attend if it is really on your list of must do's.

RuthCox on 09/16/2014

Macy's parade is one of my yearly rituals, watching on television, of course. I have always wanted to attend this Thanksgiving Day parade, and who knows, I might get there one day!

happynutritionist on 09/16/2014

@Sylvestermouse Yes, it's become more than just a parade with performances and more, quite an event! Thanks for visiting today.

Sylvestermouse on 09/16/2014

I have never actually attended the parade in person, but I do love watching it on tv and seeing all of the awesome balloons. I know it is quite a festive activity with lots of music and fabulous fun.

happynutritionist on 09/15/2014

Whenever you have time...and it's hard to believe that in just a bit over a couple months the parade will be on TV!

Mira on 09/15/2014

Sounds like fun :) I will watch that video at some point :) Thanks!

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