Going on 93 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® is the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country, making it as much of a tradition as roasted turkey. In the early days, Macy’s employees dressed up in brilliant costumes and walked miles accompanied by floats, bands and animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. A few years later, large animal-shaped balloons replaced live creatures, beginning the tradition of novelty balloons and falloons, float-based balloons.
The iconic parade begins at 9:010 a.m. on 77th Street, near Central Park West in New York City, and ends three hours later at Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street. In 2017, the featured balloon is “Super Wing” star, Jett, which will zoom in front of more 50 million spectators on November 23. Rather than wake up at an insanely early hour to secure your spot along the 2.5-mile parade route at 6:00 a.m. along with millions of other people, charter a flight to New York and enjoy the procession from the comfort and warmth of a private viewing area. (No, the TV doesn’t count as a private viewing of the world’s largest parade.)
Where to Watch the Parade
There are a variety of opulent hotels to catch a private viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but you have to act fast because the locations book-up quickly. Keep in mind that you might not be able to see or hear the performances from a private room or party, so if there’s an act or number you want to catch, you may have to alternate between your room and the street. Some hotels offer guest-only, street-level VIP viewing areas on the along the parade route where you’ll never have worry about losing your spot. Because the parade change routes occasionally, it’s a good idea to verify your ability to see the parade from your room before booking.
New York Hilton Midtown
Located on Sixth Avenue, the New York Hilton Midtown offers special packages that include accommodations in unobstructed “parade view rooms” on the premium 6th through 18th and 19th through 33rd floors. The corner view rooms on floors 19 to 33 face 54th Street and 6th Avenue, giving you two opportunities see the action. The rooms on the lower levels are like sitting street-side without the hassles of standing in the street for hours. The best views are on floors 7 through 18, as they put you at eye-level with the balloons.
Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Plaza
Directly across the street from Central Park, the Ritz-Carton New York, Central Park, offers a few luxury Thanksgiving packages with “Parade View” accommodations. At the time of publication, the Suite Parade View Experience is the poshest with exclusive “welcome” amenities, instant-film camera, one-hour personal photography session in your suite, and a credit at La Prairie Spa.
Warwick New York
Just five blocks from Central Park, the Warwick New York on 54th Avenue offers excellent views of the parade from its Premier Plus Rooms, On the Avenue Suites, and Premier Plus Suites. If you’re traveling with family, book a two-bedroom suite with a balcony where everyone can watch the parade in its near-entirety and hear the music.
Book a Central Park View room on the Mandarin Oriental’s 43rd to 54th floors, which have floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel’s best-kept secret is the I Love a Parade package, which sets you 280 feet above the action.
Other hotels with views of the parade include: