Since 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has kicked off the holiday season in New York City. More than 2.5 million people line the streets every year to see giant balloons, floats, marching bands, and waving celebrities (while 44 million more tune in to the NBC TV broadcast).
This year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will continue an 85-year tradition with new giant helium character balloons, spectacular new floats, and special performances.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by the numbers: The parade will feature more than 10,000 participants; 28 floats; 16 giant character balloons; 40 novelty balloons, balloonicles and balloonheads; 1,600 cheerleaders, dancers and performance group members; 900 clowns; 11 marching bands; a troupe of celebrity performers; and the man of the season, Santa Claus.
New Macy’s Parade Balloons and Floats for 2012
For the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, some spectacular new giant balloons will take to the skies over New York City. New balloons will include The Elf on the Shelf, Hello Kitty flying high in her new airplane, and Papa Smurf.
New Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats will feature tributes to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, March Madness, the Gibson “Les Paul” guitar, Pepperidge Farms goldfish, and a giant cookie dough bowl.
Celebrities Join the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Stars participating in the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade festivities will include Carly Rae Jepson, Flo Rida, The Wanted, Karmin, Neon Trees, Cody Simpson, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots, Jennette McCurdy, Chris Isaak, the U.S. Olympic gold medalist gymnastics team, the Muppets, the Rockettes, and more.
See the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will start at approximately 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 24th, 2011 and end at approximately noon.
Planning to view the parade in person this year? Here’s what you need to know.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Route:
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will begin at 77th Street and Central Park West, march south on Central Park West, then turn onto Central Park South and march down a new path via 6gh Avenue to 34th Street. At 34th Street, the Parade will turn west and march to 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square. See a map of the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route.
Best Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Viewing Locations:
Organizers say you’ll have the best views on Central Park West between 61st and 72nd Streets.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Viewing Tips
You can’t buy tickets for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s free and open to the public, but you won’t be able to see much unless you plan ahead.
- Make sure you get there early if you want a good view. The crowd starts to form as early as 6:30AM for a sort of informal pre-parade street party. Stop for donuts and coffee and have breakfast al fresco while you wait.
- Macy’s advises people to leave folding chairs at home. They become cumbersome when the crowds start filling up the sidewalk.
- Don’t forget to dress warmly. November in New York gets pretty chilly after a couple of hours outside. Layers are always a good bet.
If you would rather stay inside, you can watch the parade live on NBC’s Today Show from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
Getting to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:
The New York City subway system is your easiest option for getting to the parade.
- Take the D to 34 St./Herald Square or 59 St./Columbus Circle.
- Take the C to 42 St./Times Square, 50 St./8th Ave., 59 St./Columbus Circle, 72 St./Central Park West, or 81 St./Central Park West.
- Take the 1,2,3 to 42 St./Times Square or 72 St./Broadway. The 1 local will also stop at 50 St./Broadway and 59 St./Columbus Circle.
For other subway and bus options, check the MTA New York City Transit Subway Map
For More Information About the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Visit the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day ParadeR site or call the Parade hotline at (212) 494-4495.