10 Things to Know Before You Go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

My family has always loved watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television, but this year, we decided to see it in person! Here are ten things we wished we had know ahead of time.

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1. Arrive early

I’m talking 6:00 AM at the latest if you want to be up front. We arrived at 70th and Central Park West around 7:00 AM and were five people deep. We could still see the parade, but it was definitely more crowded at the back of the pack.

2. Kids get to wiggle their way to the front

My six year-old niece came to the parade and everyone around us was happy to let her get in front for a better view. They even helped get the attention of passing clowns so she could get showered with confetti.

3. Bundle up

Novembers in New York are cold and standing outside for hours is miserable if you aren’t dressed properly. Check the weather before hand and be ready to wear thermals and a down coat. If it’s going to be below 50 degrees, you might want to get a few hand and toe warmers.

4. Pack breakfast

We were at the parade from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM. I threw a few granola bars in my bag right before we walked out the door, but we were all starving by the time we left. Pick up some pastries the night before so you don’t have to think about what to eat when you are heading out at 5:00 AM.


Bring Your Own Cocoa! We brought a big thermos full and it was such a nice, warm treat to have on hand.

6. But don’t drink too much

Because restrooms are hard to come by. Every coffee shop we found had a line out the door. Eventually, we went a few blocks away from the parade route and found a McDonalds with a slightly smaller line. The whole trip to the bathroom took about an hour, so make sure you have time to go without missing the parade.

7. Bring a chair

You are going to be out there for a long time. A fold-up chair not only gives everyone a chance to sit down, but it also helps claim your area. Ours was especially useful when members of our group had to leave to use the restroom.

8. Don’t even THINK about the bleachers

I have no idea which lucky souls get to sit in the bleachers along Central Park, but it is a ticketed situation.

9. You won’t see any performances

You’ll see marching bands, floats, and balloons, but the song and dance that you normally see on TV only happens in front of Macy’s.

10. Wait to leave

The subways will be PACKED if you try to escape as soon as the parade is over. Instead, hang out in the area for a while or walk a few blocks north to get a subway stop that has already seen the end of the parade.

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