The best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2021 (and our top tips!)

August 13, 2021

Wondering where the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are? If so, keep reading!

If you’re visiting NYC during Thanksgiving, you might be wondering where the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are! This is one of the most epic parades that happen in NYC, so you’ll want to have a great view to soak it all in!

As the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is such a huge event in the city, there are plenty of brilliant viewpoints to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade from… You just need to know where to look! Here, we’ll talk about the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and also some tips for making the best of the day!


But first, the basics….


Do you need to pay to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

No, you don’t! The parade is a public parade, so you can view it from most places along the route.

Can you buy tickets for a better view? Not exactly. There aren’t any tickets available to the general public for purchase (there aren’t purchasable VIP seats or boxes, etc). Some charities do give away seats for fundraisers, but it’s unlikely the average Joe from the public would get their hands on these special seats. So really, for the public, when finding the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – you should take a read of this list.

Read more about Thanksgiving in NYC: TOP 15 restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving in NYC


Where does the parade take place?

When it comes to locating the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – it helps to know where the parade actually goes!

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at 77th Street & Central Park West, at 9am in the morning. The Parade then goes south towards Midtown, on Central Park West.

The first main area for viewing is Columbus Circle. At this point, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade turns east onto Central Park South. This is another great location to view the parade from (we’ll get into that below). Once the parade has reached 6th Avenue, it turns south to 34th Street. Then it’s straight down 34th Street, towards Bryant Park and Macy’s Herald Square.

Anyway, let’s get into it!

Here’s our list of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route through NYC

Here are the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade…


Columbus Circle

Without a doubt, one of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is along Columbus Circle. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to access the sidewalk on Columbus Circle, as this is now closed to the public. However, you can try and sneak into the Shops at Columbus Circle to get a decent view of the parade from the elevated floors.

Although it’s not perfect, this is an excellent way to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from a warm, toasty viewing area. Just be aware that many people will likely have the same idea, so your vantage point is unlikely to be stellar. This is one of the most popular choices for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.


Central Park South

Next on our list of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it’s Central Park South. This is another excellent spot for watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

This is a great choice for those who want to avoid the worst of the crowds – as you’ll have a little more space here. If you’re not fussed about getting the ultimate view of the parade and would rather avoid the worst of the crowds, then this is an excellent choice for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Read more NYC inspiration: How to see the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights in Brooklyn, NYC


Central Park West

Next on our list of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it’s Central Park West. This is one of the initital stages of the parade and early on in the day. Central Park West is an excellent place to try and snag a spot for watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Although you won’t be able to perch on the sidewalk right at the start of the viewing area, you can start gathering from 72nd Street.

You’ll need to stick to the west side if you want to catch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as anything further east isn’t open to the public. If you want to catch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from Central Park West, then it’s worth being aware that this is one of the first places that the parade passes, so perfect for early birds!

So, if you arrive past 9, you’re likely to miss it! However, you’ll need to rock up early to practically any viewing spot, so this shouldn’t be much of an issue. A great choice for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.


Sixth Avenue

Sixth Avenue is a decent place to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the floats tend to hit this point at around 9:30am. So, if you’re shivering away on the sidewalk, you’ll be able to catch most of the action before 11:00am.

Trust us when we say that a warm cup of hot chocolate will be welcomed after standing out in the cold for hours! As the parade hits this spot slightly later than a couple of others on this list of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you should be able to set up here at around 7:00 or 7:30 and still get a decent view. 


Hotel Central Park

If you’d like to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in comfort, then consider splurging on one of the many hotels that overlook the parade route. Your own hotel room can be the perfect choice for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As the parade route hits numerous corners of Central Park, The Hotel Central Park is an AMAZING choice!

It probably comes as no surprise that one of the best hotels for watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is Hotel Central Park. Not only is this property beautifully fitted and full of luxury details.

You might have to call ahead to secure a room that overlooks the parade route, but if you call up prior to placing a booking, the friendly staff are sure to do their best to help you out. So, sit back, relax, and watch the world go by. This is a gorgeous choice for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Read more NYC inspiration: 40 fun things to do in NYC


Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Another excellent hotel that you may want to consider for watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is The Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This is an ideal choice for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Now, a room at this luxury hotel costs a bomb. We’re not kidding, during the parade dates, you’re looking at upwards of $1000. Wowzers!

However, if you’re willing to dish out the dough, then you’ll get some incredible views of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as it passes through Columbus Circle. Featuring great amenities, awesome bathrooms, and unbeatable views of the city, the Mandarin Oriental is an excellent choice for anyone looking to catch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A luxurious choice for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Read more NYC inspiration: Top 50 best desserts in NYC


The Ritz-Carlton

Next on our list of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it’s The Ritz-Carlton. Those looking to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the lap of luxury will appreciate The Ritz-Carlton New York.

Located right near Central Park, this hotel gives you great views out onto 59th Street and beyond. As well as being a prime hotel for catching the parade itself, the Ritz-Carlton also happens to be one of the most gorgeous hotels in NYC.

With amazing full windows, a spa, and a lovely on-site restaurant, there’s plenty here to love without the promise of catching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Again, a stay at the Ritz won’t come cheap. However, you only live once, right? Go on, treat yourself to a stay! Another great choice for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.


New York Hilton Midtown

Although not every room at the New York Hilton Midtown offers stellar views of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, several rooms overlook Sixth Avenue.

If you request one of these rooms, then you may just have one of the best seats in the house for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! If you’re lucky to score one of these rooms, then it’s a great choice for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

This hotel is luxurious, but it has a more modern appeal when compared to some of the other high-end New York hotels. If you do choose to stay in this hotel, then you’ll be perfectly placed to explore the best that NYC has to offer. 


Our top tips for watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade


OK, so now you know the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it’s time to learn a few tips, so you can get the best out of the day!

Only half the battle when enjoying the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is turning up at the right place! Even if you’ve researched the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – it doesn’t guarantee a perfect day.

Hopefully, these extra tips will though!

Tip 1: Wrap up warm!

Remember, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade happens in November in NYC, which is the start of winter. So (obviously) make sure you wrap up warm on the day. Most of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are outdoors, and you’ll be standing around for a few hours – so wrap up and get cosy!

Tip 2: Avoid the Official Viewing Area

The official viewing area is located on 34th Street, and it’s usually the most crowded part of the route. Whilst many people would recommend this as one of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, we wouldn’t because of the sheer crowds and amounts of people. It can feel a little like you’re a sardine!

Tip 3: Show up early

As with any public event, the key to finding the best place to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is to show up early to the right places! The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade generally departs right on the hour at 9am – so we’d recommend grabbing a good place to stand at least by 8am.

Read more NYC inspiration: 50 amazing breakfast places in NYC

Tip 4: You can see the balloons the day before!

If you’re in the city for more than the day itself, then you can actually head to 77th and 81st streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue (1pm – 8pm the day before the parade) – for a great viewing opportunity of all the giant inflatables.

Tip 5: Take the subway

Our last tip for viewing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is to arrive at your chosen spot by Subway. When you’re making your way to any of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, don’t even consider getting a taxi!

There will be so many crowds and road closures – it could take hours! Subway is the most reliable option on parade day!

Read more NYC food inspiration: Where to find the best cheap lunches in NYC


We hope this list of the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been helpful!

As you can see, there are a few different choices for the best places to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Let us know which you will be checking out on the big day!

And have fun!

You Might Also Like