Playbill’s Guide to the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Special Features   Playbill’s Guide to the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
 
Tips to find the best spot on the parade route, the full lineup listing, and more.
Thanksgiving_Day_Parade_Graphic_HR

The 92nd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off Thursday, November 22 at 9AM ET.

From celebrity sightings to stories-high balloons to Broadway performances, the annual holiday tradition marches through the streets of Manhattan and is broadcast nationwide on NBC and CBS. Hosted on NBC by the TODAY Show’s Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker, the Parade lands in front of Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street.

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. Don’t forget to follow Playbill on Instagram (where Mean Girls’ Kate Rockwell will be taking over live from the Parade) and on Snapchat (where Broadway’s The Prom will be taking over live).

PRE-PARADE FUN

  • Crowds pack it in around the perimeter of the Museum of Natural History (mainly lining 77th and 81st Streets) beginning in the afternoon on November 21 to see the balloon inflation up close.
  • The viewing loop around the museum takes at least 45 minutes to complete.
  • Here’s a hack: Visit the Museum during the day so that upon your exit you can view the balloons—taking you on a different path than other visitors with an edge on timing.


ROUTE

  • 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.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Route 2018

WATCH IN PERSON

  • If you plan to watch in person you must arrive early. Reportedly, people start camping out at prime spots along Central Park West at 6AM. The parade begins marching at 9AM.
  • Great views can be had on Central Park West between 75th and 59th Street.
  • There is no viewing along Central Park South.
  • If you wish to arrive later, we recommend watching on Sixth Avenue between 59th and 38th Streets as the parade won’t hit there until a bit later. These streets tend to be less crowded and boast wider sidewalks.
  • Know parade entrances. Many streets will be closed off. This is last year’s list of street closures from the New York Department of Transportation, which will likely be similar for this year.
  • 38th Street to 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues are restricted areas due to filming. You will not be able to enter.
  • Avoid the 34th Street Herald Square and Penn Station subway stations.
  • For spectators with special needs, check out the Young Adult Institute website. While tickets are sold out for the designated viewing area, you can join a waitlist for tickets and check out helpful FAQs.
  • 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.


LINEUP
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.)


Celebrity Sightings
Performers set to appear on the 26 floats include:

  • Grammy Award-winner and coach on NBC's The Voice Kelly Clarkson will perform on the mainstage in front of Macy's
  • Ally Brooke on the Shimmer and shine float from Nickelodeon
  • Tony winner Anika Noni Rose and the muppets of Sesame Street on the 1-2-3 Sesame Street float
  • Ashley Tisdale on the Fantasy Chocolate Factor float
  • Bad Bunny on the Parade Day Mischief float
  • Barenaked Ladies on The Aloha Spirit float
  • Bazzi on the Frozen Fall Fun float
  • Brynn Cartelli on the Universal Playground float
  • Carly Pearce on the Harvest in the Valley float
  • Diana Ross and Family on the Heartwarming Holiday Countdown float
  • Ella Mai on the Splashing Safari Adventure float
  • Jack & Jack on the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles float
  • Jesus Christ Superstar Emmy nominee John Legend on the Discover Adventure! float
  • Kane Brown on the Mount Rushmore’s American Pride float
  • Cats alumn Leona Lewis on the On the Road Again float
  • Mackenzie Ziegler & Johnny Orlando on the Big City Cheer float
  • Martina McBride on the Deck the Halls float
  • Pentatonix on the Everyone’s Favorite Back Shop float
  • Rita Ora on the Fun House float
  • Sugarland on The Cranberry Cooperative float
  • Tegan Marie on the Building a Better World float


New Balloons

  • Saiyan warrior Goku from “Dragon Ball Super: Broly”
  • Elf stars Fleck, Bjorn, Jojo, and Hugg from Netflix’s “The Christmas Chronicles”
  • Little Cloud
  • Sunny the Snowpal


GENERAL TIPS FOR ATTENDING THE PARADE

  • Public transportation is your best bet to navigate the city, as Thanksgiving Day is marked as a gridlock alert day in New York City. The MTA will follow a Sunday schedule, and bus service may be affected by street closures. 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 add extra trains.
  • 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. The Macy’s website has a handy coffee, food, and restroom feature on its interactive map.
  • 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. Layer up, 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 phone charger and any cell phone accessories you’ll want to document the day and communicate with your party.
  • Have a plan. In case you and your party gets 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


Bookmark this article! Playbill will update with additions and announcements to ensure a smooth Parade day. Happy Thanksgiving!

Also be sure to check out Playbill's Thanksgiving Week Broadway Show Schedule.

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