Home Culture How to Navigate the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade {Like a Pro}

How to Navigate the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade {Like a Pro}

by Arielle
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When you think of Thanksgiving, there are certain traditions that come to mind: feasting on turkey and green bean casserole, seeing your family and loved ones, and of course, watching the Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a staple in Thanksgiving celebrations, has been around since the 1920s — although today’s parade looks nothing like the first, which processed only two blocks and included live elephants, camels, and employees dressed in costume. Today, the Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade is an extravaganza with gigantic balloons, celebrities, and performers galore. The event boasts over 44 million viewers across the country, but if you’re up to brave the elements and see the parade live, you’re in luck, because we have some great tips and tricks for parade attendees. Here’s how to navigate the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade {like a pro}:

macys thanksgiving day parade

Photo: Nicole Recanello

Get There Early

Although the parade starts at 9:00AM on Thanksgiving Day, people start lining up at 6:30AM or even earlier for prime viewing spots. You won’t want to trek all that way just to stare at the back of someone’s head for 3 hours, so scope out your spot in advance and plan to get there with plenty of time to spare.


To take advantage of Hoboken’s proximity to NYC on Thanksgiving Day, your best bet is either the PATH train or the ferry. Driving into the city on Thanksgiving Day will be worse than if you tried to walk {though we don’t recommend that, either}, so utilize our public transportation for a cheap, quick, and easy way to get to the parade.

READ: Hoboken + Jersey City Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving {2018}

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Dress Warmly

Late November can get pretty chilly {as we have already experienced this year — hello snow!}, so you’ll want to dress warmly as you watch the floats and balloons go by. Wear lots of layers so you can remove or put on as need be — especially if you get there early in the morning, the temperature very well may be near freezing. Don’t forget a hat or earmuffs, gloves, and warm socks for optimal coziness in the cold weather. Comfortable shoes will also be key for long hours of standing.

Plan Your Snack and Bathroom Breaks Wisely

When picking the ideal parade viewing spot, be sure to factor in a spot that has access to a public bathroom and somewhere to get snacks. Bringing your own food may save on some costs, but as many establishments have a “customers only” rule, you’ll want to be sure to purchase from the stores who will absolutely have an influx of customers if they’re on the parade route. And always remember to be polite, grateful, and kind to those working on Thanksgiving Day {and always ;)}. 

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Pick the Perfect Viewing Spot

As mentioned above, the perfect parade viewing spot will have access to things like food and restrooms, but you also need to take into account your timeline for the day. There are two main schools of thought on picking your viewing spot — the “uptown” and the “downtown”. For many, picking a spot near the start of the parade route on the Upper West Side means the parade will end “earlier” as everything moves downtown. On the other hand, the further you get down the parade, the more action you get to see as the performances start to spread themselves out.

The one spot you should never try to watch the parade from is near Macy’s on 34th street. Unless you have exclusive prime viewing tickets in the bandstand, there is no easy access to good viewing spots near the Macy’s Flagship store, and the entire area will be crowded, hectic, and hard to navigate. Make sure you study the parade route and do your research in advance!

Thanks to HG reader, Nicole Recanello, who shared her pics from last year with us! She was watching from 46th and 6th Street:

macys thanksgiving day parade

macys thanksgiving day parade

macys thanksgiving day parade

macys thanksgiving day parade

See More: Thanksgiving Catering in Hoboken + Jersey City {So All You Do is Show Up}

No matter how you celebrate or watch, we hope that it’s a great day!

Are you going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade this year?

Let us know in the comments and tag us in your pics @HobokenGirlBlog + #HobokenGirl on Instagram <3

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