Ten Tips for Best Viewing Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade In NYC

New York City is the most popular choice for Thanksgiving family travel and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tops the list of family must-see events. If your family is planning to line the route to view the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year, here are ten great tips for best viewing the Parade:

1. See the preview. If you can't get enough of those Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade floats ... or you want to skip the crowds ... come watch the balloons being blown up the day before. Parade balloons generally start being inflated the day before the even and the public may view them between 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. on 77th and 81st Streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. The best time to view them is around 5 p.m. while they're inflated.

2. Know the route. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route changed in 2009, so make sure to be in the right spot. Here's the drill:

The Parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West at 9 a.m. and will head south on Central Park West.
At Columbus Circle (59th Street), the Parade then goes east onto Central Park South.
Once the Parade gets to 7th Avenue, it turns south on 7th Avenue at the corner of Central Park South and heads to 42nd Street.
The Parade then marches east along 42nd Street from 7th to 6th Avenues (Avenue of the Americas).
At 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), the Parade turns south to 34th Street.
Once the Parade reaches 34th Street, it goes west to Macy's Herald Square.
The Parade winds up at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue around noon.
Please note: the new Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route no longer goes down Broadway between 58th to 34th Streets, so the area around Times Square is not a good viewing spot.

For more information about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and its route, call the official Parade Hotline at 212-494-4495.

3. Get a hotel room. If you can afford to see the Parade from the comfort of a hotel room, take a look at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, the Park Central New York Hotel, The Trump International Hotel & Tower, the Wellington Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the Renaissance Hotel, the Michelangelo Hotel, and others directly along the Parade route. To avoid disappointment, make sure to request a room with a Parade view, preferably between the 7th and 12th floors.

4. Prepare for crowds. More than 3 million people line the Parade route, so expect to be in tight quarters. There are no general public tickets available for seating. Many people crowd into the area near the end of the parade route - right by the Official Viewing Area and media platform. This isn't a good place to view the Parade, since the media platform and Official Viewing Area is not accessible to the public and conditions are so crammed with people.

5. Arrive early. You'll be competing with 3 million other folks, so arrive before 6:30 a.m. for the best spots. Go to the bathroom before you arrive - you'll lose your spot if you leave it. There are no public restrooms along the parade route.

6. Pick a good spot. Macy's recommends between 61st and 72nd on Central Park West as the best place to watch the parade. Others suggest between 66th and 77th Streets on Central Park West to avoid some of the crowds.

7. Stay warm and dry. It's generally quite cold in New York City on Thanksgiving, so come prepared. Dress in layers and bring extra clothing like hats, gloves and blankets to stay warm. Don't forget the rain gear if there is a chance of the wet stuff. Don't forget to bring snacks, drinks and a camera.

8. Keep the kids close. In crowded conditions like this, make sure to hang on to the young ones. Some families who regularly go to the parade recommend wearing matching bright shirts, hats, or other items to help them stand out in a crowd. Another option to consider is getting safety tattoos, such as those available from SafetyTat.

9. Make dining reservations. If you're planning to have a festive Thanksgiving family lunch or dinner downtown, make reservations far in advance. Many New York City restaurants have special fixed price menus for Thanksgiving. You can make advance reservations through OpenTable.com or call if you prefer.

10. Skip the shopping. Macy's stores are closed on Thanksgiving, so don't expect to snag some great bargains on the day of the event. There are generally some great sales the evening before Thanksgiving and the day after, so plan accordingly!

To get in the holiday spirit, do a little online Parade research. Visit the Macy's website to read about the Parade or watch the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street."

If you're lucky enough to view the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City this year, have a fantastic time and remember to wave. There will be about 50 million people watching you - and all of the fun Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade excitement - from their sofas and living rooms at home.

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