Macy’s Parade Tips

November 19, 2007

It’s already here, Thanksgiving! And before you know it, 2008 creeps up behind you. I can’t believe how quick this holiday came up. I still did not get over Halloween just yet. Anyways, this is what some of you have been waiting for. After all these years of seeing the world’s largest department store create the world’s grandest parade and seeing it from your living room couch aired live on TV year after year, you finally spent the money and made your trip to NYC to see the parade. You made it! Welcome to NYC! Whether this is your first time to the parade or you’re a veteran and you’ve been to the parade 20 times, here is some general information and probably some informative tips that can be used when coming to see the parade.

General Information:

Parade Route: Parade begins on 77th Street & Central Park West. It proceeds down Central Park West into Columbus Circle and then merges onto Broadway From Columbus Circle (59th St) all the way down to Macy’s Herald Square and 34th St. Parade finishes on 34th St & 7th Avenue.

Time: Parade kicks off at 9am and will end around Noon (maybe earlier along Central Park West).

How to get there: Avoid driving at all costs or even using a cab in the city since so many streets are closed off. Use the subway system. It maybe on holiday schedule and construction might be in affect, but it’s the most reliable way for the time being.
To get to Central Park West: Take either the 1 train (Broadway Line) or the local B and C train (CPW line). To get to Columbus Circle: Take the A,B,C,D,1 trains to 59th street. To get to Times Square and the streets above on Broadway: Take the 1 local train to 42nd St and 50th St. on Broadway. Or take the 2 & 3 Express train to 42nd St only. Also consider the A,C,E train to 42nd St – Port Authority. Or the C,E train to 50th St. on 8th Avenue. N,R train to 49th St. leaves you half a block from the parade. N,R,Q and W train also goes to Times Square. 7 train also stops at Times Square.  To get to 34th St., Herald Sq. and above: Take the B,D,F,V,N,Q,R and W trains to 34th Street and Herald Square. Also take1,2,3,A,C,E trains to 34th Street and Penn Station. 34th Street is not a recommendable place for viewing the parade.

Parade Hotline: If this information still isn’t enough, call 212-494-4495 for more information or visit www.macys.com

This event is Rain or Shine and is Free to everyone that attends. This is also aired on Channel 4 (WNBC) live. The following numbered notes below are some helpful tips that will make this years Parade more eventful for our spectators.

1)    The great outdoors – This is a rain or shine event. And it looks like rain is forecasted for this year’s parade. So if it rains, prepare to bring out ponchos, rain boots and other rain gears. I’m sure you won’t forget that umbrella. But just remember that when opening an umbrella in an extremely crowded event, it will be a burden for you and everyone else around you. Especially for those behind you trying to see the parade. So if the rain is light, keep the umbrella down for a bit.  If the sun is shining, then expect a huge crowd. Every now and then the weather will be comfortable for the parade. But in all the years I have went to the parade, it has been frigid. So layers, layers and more layers. Two socks, two hats, 3 sweaters or battery powered heating blanket… I am just kidding on some of the above, but do make sure you wear thermals, hats, ear muffs and don’t forget lots of warm hot chocolate (coffee for the adults) to keep you sustained and surviving the cold weather for about 4 or 5 hours.

2)    Timing is everything – For this parade, the magnitude of locals and other tourists coming to see this event is massive, so the earlier you come the better. Usually a lot of people start arriving to the sidelines around 6am for a good spot. I’ve been out there by 7:15am and you wouldn’t believe how crowded it was already. I guess some people camp out, but not recommended. In fact, I don’t even think it’s allowed. So definitely being that early bird will pay off.

3)    Location – As you can see the parade route is long and it looks like there are many options for viewing. That’s not really the case. One of the best viewing spots is around Central Park West. I’ve been in that area for years with very minor drama. I also hear that Times Square is a good spot. Below the Times Square area are the areas you might want to avoid since public viewing is closed off due to media presence. Also, avoid  59th Street – Columbus Circle due to half of  the area being closed off and many bleachers blocking the views of the parade. One more place to avoid is the start of the parade on 77th Street. You don’t get the full impact of the parade marching and it’s one of the most crowded areas to be in along with the end of the parade at Macy’s on 34th Street, which should also be avoided.

4)    Keep in mind – Be sure to leave home the folding chairs and ladders. Not only is it extra baggage for you to carry around the city, but it will be troublesome to have when the crowds start to fill up along the sidewalks.  Also be aware that Macy’s is closed on Thanksgiving Day. So unfortunately you can’t go shopping after the parade. Subways are on a holiday schedule and construction may also take effect on some subway lines. Check http://www.mta.info for schedule. If you are wondering what to do after the parade, keep in mind that all stores will close early. Theaters are still on strike. For more information on what to do, look back on our Nov. 12th blog.  Also, very few restaurants will be open. Movie theaters will be open for new holiday hits such as Enchanted, Beowulf, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Fred Claus, The Mist and other flicks to see over the holidays.

I hope these few tips I have left for you will help you in surviving your journey to the 81st Annual Macy’s Parade. This year’s parade will feature helium balloons of timeless characters like Felix the Cat, Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Shrek, Scooby-Doo, HS Marching Bands from across the nation featured in the parade along with celebrities from your favorite TV shows, movies, theaters and singers and let’s not forget to mention a special appearance by Santa Claus. This year’s parade will be bigger than ever and will guarantee you joyful memories to last you many more years to come or have you coming back for more next year.

For those that are night owls and not much of an early bird, you can catch another traditional ceremony that the parade features which is Macy’s Balloon Inflation. It’s the set up of the parade the night before the grand finale and many spectators gather around to watch their favorite characters come to life. You can catch the Macy’s Balloon Inflation the night before the parade between 77th and 81st Street on Central Park West & Columbus Avenue from 3pm to 10pm.

The staff of NYC Pocket would like to wish everyone local, across the nation and even our international visitors a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Day.

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6 Responses to “Macy’s Parade Tips”


  1. […] Evil Twin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI still did not get over Halloween just yet…. […]

  2. L. J. Norden Says:

    The most controversial float for 2007 is being called the “Hitler Balloon”. It was reported 11/20/07 on my local Fox news this morning. The float is to promote the new Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie, which is based on the plot to assassinate Hitler during the height of WWII. Many groups are expressing outrage, and are demanding the float be removed from the Macy’s parade. To see pictures of this float, use the google and type “Hitler Balloon”. WOW.


  3. […] home early for the Thanksgiving holiday … or heading into Manhattan for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? The L.I.R.R. is  providing extra trains that include Wednesday afternoon’s (November 21) […]


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