November 23 marks the 97th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, kicking off live in NYC and on television and streaming at 8:30 AM ET.
Once again, the parade marches through the streets of Manhattan and is broadcast nationwide on NBC, CBS, and on the streaming service Peacock and CBS All Access. The Parade lands in front of Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street, and offers Broadway performances, celebrity sightings, and the famous stories-high balloons.
Want to watch it live and in person—the way theatre fans like it? Here’s what you need to know about scouting out the best location and tips for attending.
- Crowds may enter at West 72nd and Columbus Avenue between 12 PM to 6 PM November 22 to see the balloon inflation up close.
- Balloons are inflated near the Museum of Natural History, between 77th and 81 Streets on Columbus Avenue.
- The parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West. (There is no public viewing at this intersection. See below for tips on viewing spots.)
- The parade stretches for 2.5 miles from 77th Street to Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street, going down Central Park West until it reaches Columbus Circle at 59th Street, where it will turn east.
- The parade marches on 59th Street/Central Park South from Eighth Avenue towards Sixth Avenue and then turns south on Sixth.
- It continues down Sixth Avenue until it hits 34th Street, where it turns west and walks one avenue.
- The parade finishes at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue.
WATCH IN PERSON
- If you plan to watch in person you must arrive early. Macy's recommends people begin grabbing a spot along Central Park West at 6AM. The parade begins marching at 8:30 AM.
- Great views can be had on Central Park West between 75th and 61st Streets.
- There is no entrance in the telecast area on 6th Avenue from West 34th to West 38th Streets, and on West 34th Street between Broadway & 7th Avenue. No public viewing is available on Central Park West between West 59th & West 60th Streets.
- There is limited public viewing on the south side of West 34th Street between Broadway & 7th Avenue.
- If you wish to arrive later, parade goers can watch on Sixth Avenue between 59th and 38th Streets. These streets tend to be less crowded and these areas boast wider sidewalks.
- Know parade entrances. Many streets will be closed off. ABC7 has a list of street closures from the New York Department of Transportation.
- Due to crowding, avoid the 34th Street Herald Square and Penn Station subway stations.
- Grandstand tickets for access to the bleachers for stage viewing in front of Macy’s—like the Broadway shows—are not available for the general public.
Broadway Shows Slated to Perform
These performances take place in front of Macy’s in the restricted viewing area. You will not be able to see them on the parade route. They air in the 9 AM hour (in all time zones) on the national broadcast.
- & Juliet
- Back to the Future
- How to Dance in Ohio
- A Beautiful Noise (on CBS)
- Aladdin (on CBS)
- Chicago (on CBS)
- Also performing: Radio City Rockettes
- Gutenberg! stars Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells
- David Foster and Katharine McPhee
- Ashley Park (joined by the Muppets of Sesame Street)
Also Look Out For
Since 2020, Macys has been working with playwright Larissa FastHorse (who wrote Broadway's Thanksgiving Play) and artist Ty Defoe to make the event more respectful for the Native American communities. So you can spot their contributions in the Macy's Thanksgiving turkey with Tom Turkey, the float that traditionally opens the parade. He used to be dressed like a pilgrim with children, also dressed as pilgrims, sitting on him. These days, Tom wears a black top hat and a bow tie, the perfect garment for going to the theatre. He is now surrounded by showgirls and cheerleaders.
The parade also now includes a Native American float, called People of First Light. Look for the float shaped like a giant pine tree, and learn more about the people of the Wampanoag tribe who created it. So Fasthorse and her collaborators in Indigenous Direction may not be performing, but their contributions are still keenly felt.
GENERAL TIPS FOR ATTENDING THE PARADE
- Public transportation is your best bet to navigate the city, as Thanksgiving Day can be gridlocked in New York City. Be sure to plan your route in advance and check the MTA website for closures and delays. For folks coming from just outside the city, Metro North and LIRR is a good option.
- Scout places nearby your “campsite” to grab food or coffee or go to the bathroom, but be aware that many establishments won’t allow you to run in and use the bathroom—you’ll have to sit down and eat.
- Bring snacks! Load up on water, bars, and whatever else you’ll need to be comfortable for a few hours before Thanksgiving dinner.
- Bundle up. It gets cold in New York in November, and you don’t want to be stuck freezing. Bring a hat, scarf, and gloves just in case, and be sure to check the weather the day before in case you need rain gear.
- Bring a portable phone charger and any cell phone accessories you’ll want to document the day and communicate with your party.
- Have a meet-up plan. In case you and your party get separated, make sure you all know where you're headed so you can find each other.
- Rest assured there will be lots of security at the parade to ensure everyone has a safe experience. Look out for directions from volunteers and security and expect some security checks.
WATCH ON TV
- The official Parade broadcast begins at 8:30 AM in all time zones Thanksgiving Day on NBC, and will be available in Spanish on Univision. You can also stream the feed on NBC.com and the NBC mobile app. Or, watch on the NBC channel via streaming subscription service Peacock.
- CBS will host its own broadcast, The Thanksgiving Day Parade, beginning at 9 AM. The casts of A Beautiful Noise, Aladdin, Chicago are set to perform on CBS. CBS' coverage of the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade will be broadcast November 23 from 9 AM-noon on CBS and streamed live on Paramount+.
- If you miss it, do not worry, NBC will air an encore telecast at 2:00 P.M. ET/PT.
- Stay tuned to Playbill as we will post videos of the performances after they air on television.
Be sure to check out Playbill's Thanksgiving Week Broadway show schedule, and have a very happy holiday!