Thanksgiving Day Parade Plans

New York City is host to the most watched United States Thanksgiving Day parade each year. With a tradition dating back to the early 1920’s, the parade was actually born in Newark, New Jersey. In 1924, Macy’s and New York City welcomed the event across the Hudson River and have hosted it ever since. This year, the 89th year of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, promises all of the band music, floats, balloons, performers and happy spectators of last year’s spectacle PLUS some new features to hold the our interest.

What to look for in the parade

Parade participants bring balloons pulled on ropes by trained crews, old fashioned floats pass by on wheeled vehicles, performers give it their all, bands synchronize moves and melody, clowns entertain, and city/state/national groups represent their homes.

Amidst the three hour spectacle, too many groups will pass by to name.  See if you can spot some of Archer’s 2015 parade picks:


  • Teenage Mutan Ninja Turtles,
  • Tom Turkey (he’s a classic), and
  • It’s All Rock n Roll – Gibson Brands float featuring a huge guitar, DJ’s, dancers and more.
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  • Spirit of America Dance – including 650 dancers, and
  • J.U.M.P., the Ohio based rope jumping team representing 45 U.S. states.
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  • Snoopy,
  • Kool Aid Man (Oh yeah), and
  • The Elf on a Shelf, in preparation for happy elf hunting at Archer Hotel New York next month.
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Marching Bands

  • NYPD Marching Band,
  • Gulf Coast High School Marching Sharks Band from Naples, Florida, and
  • Macy’s Great American Band featuring musicians from all 50 states.
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How to see the parade

  • Preview by watching balloons inflate the day before Thanksgiving!  See the balloon inflation among smaller crowds – mind you, “smaller crowds” still included thousands, so you’ll want to scale the magnitude of your expectations for New York City.  On 79th Street, at the New York Museum of Natural History, from 3:00pm – 10:00pm, the parade balloons will be inflated.  After 5:00pm, several balloons will recognizable – and the crowds will be notably thinner beginning at 8:00pm or so.
  • Watch the parade along the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route.  It can be an every year tradition, or a once in a lifetime memory.
  • Watch the parade on television (NBC coverage will run 9:00am – 12:00, noon) from the warm comfort of home or your hotel.  This is actually an effective way to see what occurs along the bandstand, as tickets are not sold or provided to the public for that area.  And then,
  • See floats being deflated before they move on to their next holiday event, on or near the side streets of 34th Street and 6th Avenue (according to fellow blogger, Mommy Poppins).  You’ll be freer to cross streets after the parade, and it’s a good fallback option if you missed a good spot along the parade route and wind up watching the actual event

Practical parade planing

  • Arrive Early – 6:30 am is not too early to place fold up chairs and begin taking turns “watching your spot.”  Your entire party doesn’t need to stay along the route every second until the parade passes by, but one person for every two chairs is wise in the earlier hours.
  • Gather your group and stay together from 10:00am onward.  Crossing blocked streets later on in the morning will prove difficult or impossible, and we recommend doing exactly what the NYPD ask of you.
  • Pick a good spot near a great market or shop to run into for snacks and restrooms.  This is a tiny but mighty piece of advice.
  • Employ a tailgating mentality and a little bit of “hoo-ah.”  It will be a long morning, but you can make it fun by being prepared for expected temperatures and weather, and by having contingency plans at the ready.  Carrying a backpack with everything you think you may need (including extra layers of clothing) won’t bog you down, but will come in handy.  Some like to carry a thermal container of Hot Chocolate for the kids.  Just be prepared and be ready for a fun loving crowd and bring your best and most easy going self along with you.
  • Brunch!  Plan ahead with a gift to your self – a gift of good reservations.  Tuck in to a delicious meal and review your list of favorite parade floats/balloons.  Archer Hotel New York’s Chef Concierge, Anthony Bosco, has just thelist of brunch spots for you.
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