Everything you need to know about The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Maria Sergeeva
November 15, 2017

2017 marks the 91st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade making this New York performance one of the oldest celebrations in America. 

Currently hailed as the largest parade in the world, the procession features performances from marching bands, big-name artists, Broadway casts and dance troupes with Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, and Al Roker hosting the parade as usual. This is the parade you’re definitely not going to want to miss.

As Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade officially opens America’s holiday season, you should arm yourself with information about the celebrations to have the best start. Here's everything you need to know about the Macy's parade this year and how to see it in the best possible conditions.

This year, the Thanksgiving Day parade is on Thursday, November 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 am, broadcasted in all time zones, and if you miss the parade, you can catch it again from 2-5 p.m.

Plan the Parade Route

If you’re planning to join the crowd you’d better master the timing and Parade route, as there are no tickets and only those who plan their itineraries and come in advance will get the best viewing place.

To get the best view of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade you should plan to stand somewhere between 72nd Street/Central Park West and 61st Street. The parade route is closed to the public for broadcasting purposes between 34th Street and 38th Street on 6th Avenue, as well as 34th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue.

If you dream to avoid the most crowded part of this New York parade, you’d better skip the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade official viewing area on 34th Street. In this case, Central Park West is the ideal spot for the best views.

If you plan to enjoy the Parade from the Central Park West, prepare to take place not later than 6 a.m. Public viewing begins at West 75th Street across from Central Park with invitation-only grandstand seats lining the park side of this stretch. You’ll have prime viewing along Central Park West until 10:30 a.m.

Double check the weather forecast and dress in layers. The best place you can choose if the weather fails are the Shops at Columbus Circle inside the Time Warner Center. Windows on the second and third floors offer the view on the parade along Central Park West. The Center opens at 9 a.m.

If you never had any desire to line up in the cold hours in advance to watch the performance, you can enjoy it the most luxurious conditions from a relaxing hotel bed along the parade route.

Hotels with views of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Here are the hotels along the parade route, offering the best view with the comfort of your hotel room. Don’t be surprised, many are booked in advance so act soon as these rooms fill quickly despite the fact rates are tripled during this period.

The Mandarin Oriental is often viewed as the best choice in the city for luxury travelers who want to celebrate Thanksgiving in a romantic style. Premier Central Park View rooms and suites on the 43rd to 54th floors have superb parade views through floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Columbus Circle.

The Hilton New York boasts a prime location smack-dab in the heart of Manhattan on Sixth Avenue, right along the Macy's parade route. It is offering a number of Thanksgiving Packages, with viewing options ranging from Partial View to Premium View on higher floors. The Ultimate Corner View starts at $2,000 a night with a five-night minimum stay, while a partial view starts at $599 a night with a three-night minimum stay. If you decide to book a room without parade vistas, you can still try to snag a sidewalk spot in front of the hotel for prime viewing.

Situated at the corner of Central Park South and Sixth Avenue, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is perfectly situated to watch the parade make its turn south from the park. The hotel offers three packages for parade view accommodations -- they start at $2,095 a night with a three-night minimum.

Located near the end of the parade route, the Courtyard New York Manhattan/Herald Square is a great place to stay to catch the nightlife after the parade ends and you’ve had your fill of turkey. The Monarch rooftop bar and lounge is a happening place to hang out with both indoor and outdoor seating and also has incredible views of the Empire State Building. Courtyard by Marriott New York Manhattan/Herald Square will host a Thanksgiving Day Parade Party for guests on their indoor patio. Tickets start at $475 for adults and $150 for children 12 and under. Rooms start at $569 per night.

The famous Trump International Hotel and Tower has a multi-day Thanksgiving package available for guests, complete with two tickets to Wollman’s Rink for ice skating after the parade. Parade view rooms start at $2,100 per night. Be warned, the coveted rooms and suites with park views are usually booked a year before the date. If a luxurious atmosphere and top-notch services are a must, then plan your Thanksgiving day in advance.

JW Marriott Essex House New York has a few parade-facing rooms left. Thanksgiving option for its proximity to Central Park and stunning city views, which look out over the parade's route down Central Park South. The hotel has a special booking page for Thanksgiving to ensure you'll get a parade view from your room. You can book an aerial view of the parade starting at $1,690 per night.

The Quin hotel is a relative newcomer to the New York scene compared to some of the icons on this list, opening in 2013 and offering a luxurious boutique experience. While some of its 208 rooms do have parade views (you can contact the hotel directly to get one), guests can also line up on the sidewalk in front of the hotel -- suggested arrival time is 7 a.m.

Residence Inn Times Square hotel fits families thanks to its spacious rooms, kitchenettes, and, on Thanksgiving, its views of the Macy's parade. There are a variety of packages from Prime View to Partial Parade View accommodations, or you can splurge on the Parade Viewing Brunch, which offers a stay for four in a Studio Suite, as well as a brunch buffet on the third-floor event space during the parade. The hotel is also hosting a parade brunch for guests in its third-floor lounge. Rooms with parade views start at $999 per night.

For a boutique-style hotel, the One Hotel Central Park has an outdoor, organic-theme throughout that provides a change of atmosphere from the brand-name hotels. As one of the best NYC hotels with views of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1 Hotel Central Park guarantees late check out for the days of celebrations. Perched near the middle of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, the 229-room hotel is steps from Central Park and has fresh, natural décor.

 Bright, airy rooms feature reclaimed barn wood ceilings, spa baths with sand shower timers, hemp-blend mattresses, and locally sourced in-room dining. The award-winning, open kitchen restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The hotel also offers in-room yoga, a fitness center and several lounge areas for mingling with other guests Rooms with parade views starting at $1000 per night are no longer available.

Watch the Live Stream

Since it started airing in 1948, the parade has been broadcasted on NBC every year. You should remember, the parade starts at 9 a.m. New York (Eastern time) and it's live. So you should always take into account differences in time zones.

A television audience of 50 million viewers is impressive, but as more and more people abandon TV  for streaming service or just prefer watching the parade in a cozy restaurant, there are always still Internet streaming options.

Thousands of online streams are expected to appear on Facebook or Twitter. Last year, the official version of the Thanksgiving Day parade broadcasted by NBC was also available on the Verizon YouTube channel.

According to a news release, Macy's will continue its partnership with NBC Universal and Verizon to allow people join the celebration online. As soon as the parade starts, a 360-degree live stream will be available on NBC and Verizon's official YouTube page.

If you want to get sure about the quality of the video and the best signal stability, you can choose one of the paid subscription services, such as Hulu, DirectTV Now, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue or YouTube TV.