This magical world renowned Thanksgiving Day parade has escaped me for the past 22 years I’ve lived in NYC. However, this year a friend gave us grand stand passes to view the parade, so we decided to go. Well, it was AWESOME!
I’ve viewed the balloons on TV and from high rise buildings looking down, but there’s nothing like looking up seeing to see a giant Charlie Brown floating down the streets of NYC. I loved every part of it from seeing the balloon handlers maneuver the giant inflatables with such precision, to the marching bands strut to catchy cadences. We marveled at incredible floats with elaborate designs, celebrity sightings and the overall NYC feeling. My 6 year old freaked out over a YouTube sensation she spotted on a float which surprised me to see her shrieking at the top of her lungs at her idol, the young singer Angelica Hale – but it was also adorable to see her express her passions and actually have the chance to see this amazing talent in person.
Afterwards we walked over to the Plaza Hotel to the eatery downstairs and sipped hot chocolate and warmed up before heading home where we hosted Thanksgiving with 21 of our friends, making it one of our funnest Thanksgivings to date. We’ll definitely be going to the parade again next year.
- There are no tickets for sale, any tickets are acquired through connections to the parade. If you do happen to secure passes, this is bleacher seating. Ours was sponsored by Verizon who outfitted our seats with blankets and hand warmers, which were very welcomed because it was so cold. Best to arrive by 7:00 – 7:30 to claim bleacher seats if you do have tickets. They do fill up and close access, even if you are a ticket holder. There is no exit and reentry.
- If you plan to watch from the sidewalks, 3.5 million people will be doing the same. Arrive early, 6:30 – 7am to get front row. Bring a blanket to sit on, you won’t want to be standing the whole time.
- The parade starts at Columbus Circle and ends earlier up there as well. The parade lasts about an hour and a half from this part of the route. The parade ends at Macy’s (34th street), it lasts closer to three hours at this portion of the route so choose where to view based on your crews attention span and commitment to the parade.
- Bring hand warmers if it’s cold. And dress in layers – of course weather appropriate.
- Many people brought thermoses of coffee and hot chocolate, but accessing bathrooms is a problem so keep this in mind. Some people, especially with kids, pick a spot by restaurants so they can access the bathroom (bathrooms are for patrons only).
- Only small bags are allowed and all bags are checked.
- Wearing your baby is probably easier than navigating the crowds with a stroller.
- I felt very safe, there is a large security presence.