Launched in 1924 as a project by employees at the department store Macy’s, the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade has since evolved into one of the most well-known traditions of the November holiday. Though many households across the country maintain the tradition of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, this year you can watch the floats come to life from premium seats along the streets of New York.
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Start by securing your Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tickets through the Vivid Seats marketplace, and then read through the parade guide below to prepare for the Nov. 28 event. Remember your confirmed purchase will be backed by our 100% Buyer Guarantee, and our customer service center is open every day of the week—including on Thanksgiving—to help with any questions or concerns.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Route
Since 1946, the Thanksgiving Day Parade has begun its route at 77th Street. From that point, the parade follows Central Park West heading south. At Columbus Circle near the south end of the park, the parade will turn east onto 59th Street before continuing south down 6th Avenue. The final turn will take the parade west on 34th Street before ending at Macy’s Herald Square.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Times
The parade begins at 9 a.m. EST. Between 77th and 59th streets, the parade usually runs until about 10:30 a.m. Typically, the parade reaches 6th Avenue around 9:30 a.m. The parade will take longer to pass through the tail end of the route than the beginning, as it can take up to three hours for the parade to circulate through the end of the route.
Where to Watch the Parade
In our marketplace, you will find seating options in the grandstand and Herald Square. The grandstand seating is typically comprised of bleachers near the beginning of the parade route. These bleachers stretch for several blocks and offer general admission seating. Herald Square seating is also comprised of general admission bleachers and will be located at the end of the route.
If you’re in the city on Wed., Nov. 27, you can see the massive parade balloons being inflated on site. From 3-7 p.m., watch the year’s balloons come to life at this public event. It is held outside the American Museum of Natural History near Central Park West between 81st and 77th streets.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade 2013 Performers
In addition to the numerous marching bands and live performance groups at the event, dozens of musical acts will perform along the route. This year, featured musicians include Florida Georgia Line, Ariana Grande, Austin Mahone, Fall Out Boy, and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Broadway stars Kristin Chenoweth and Megan Hilty will also be singing at the event, as will New York native Jimmy Fallon and his “Late Night” house band, The Roots. Their “classroom instruments” versions of popular songs, like the “Sesame Street” theme song below, have become one of the late night show’s most popular features.
History of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons
It wasn’t until the parade’s third year in 1927 that the iconic giant balloons were introduced, but now the larger-than-life creations are integral to the New York event. The first balloon featured Felix the Cat, starting the longstanding tradition of featuring popular family-friendly cartoon characters.
In 1934, the parade collaborated for the first time with Disney to premiere a Mickey Mouse balloon. In the last seven decades, the event has featured numerous Disney characters, including Donald Duck, Goofy, and Buzz Lightyear.
This year’s parade will feature new balloons, including Toothless from “How I Met Your Dragon,” “Adventure Time” characters Finn and Jake, a holiday-themed Spongebob Squarepants, and the seventh balloon edition of Snoopy from “Peanuts,” who holds the record for most balloons of any character. There will also be a special balloon to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the classic film “The Wizard of Oz” this year. Due to their large size, a single balloon can take up to 80 volunteers to handle during the parade.