I know you are thinking, gee this post would have been really useful yesterday. I agree. In fact, I was searching the web for a post just like this one and found nothing! Now that I have been on the ground level at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I can offer some helpful hints, tips, and insights on how to make it the best parade EVER.
1. Make friends with someone who works/lives on the parade route. Why stand outside with the cold people if you have a building that over looks the parade? You get to look down instead of look up. You are warm. You have easy access to a bathroom. For those of you who really want to “experience” the parade, you don’t need to be outside to do so!
2. Wake up EARLY. Not all of us are lucky enough to know someone with a view. I would never recommend getting a hotel that over looks the parade route (that’ll cost you a couple hundred bucks). So, if you have to be outside you might as well have a good view. This year I arrived at 6:00AM. There were no spots up against the railing but we were right behind it. The people who got there before me were there at 5:20AM and the people who came after me got there around 6:45AM. The earlier you are, the closer you will be but you can still manage a pretty good view if you are there by 7:00AM.
3. If you don’t want to wake up early, you better bring kids. People are in the holiday spirit and want kids to enjoy the parade. Even those nasty, angry, New Yorkers will move aside to let the kids get to the front. If you don’t want to wake up early, bring some kids and sneak your way in.
4. Dress in layers. I don’t care what the temperature is outside, you still need layers. Standing in one spot for 5 hours is enough to make anyone’s toes and fingers numb. I had 2 layers of pants, 2 pairs of socks, a tank top, long sleeve shirt, hoodie, jacket, hat, scarf, and gloves. I was pretty good but my feet still got numb at times. Plus, this year was very nice weather. Who knows what next year will be like!
5. Try to be near a subway and a bathroom. We were lucky enough to be right next to the F, Q, R, N, etc. We were also right by a Starbucks. All you really need is a bathroom and a quick getaway for when the parade ends.
6. Tivo the parade while you’re gone. Unless you have tickets to watch the parade from right in front of Macy’s, you will miss all the amazing musical performances and dances. Sure, you get to see the celebs as they wave to you from a float but the singing and dancing is reserved for only those watching at home and those who are in front of Macy’s. Tape it so you can watch them too!
7. Try to be as close to the beginning of the parade as possible. The parade starts on 77th. The closer you are the beginning, the less time spent outside in the cold. The parade starts at 9:00AM but not for everyone. You have to take into account the time it takes for the parade to reach you. We were standing at 57th and only had to wait until about 9:20AM. We were out of there by 11:20AM. Plus, the band and clowns are still excited and cheery towards the beginning of the parade. By the end, they’re tired.
8. Station yourself before an intersection if possible. They don’t block off all the streets during the parade. For example, 57th street still had traffic coming through. They took turns between letter cars through and letting the parade go across. We were right after the intersection so when traffic was going through we had nothing to look at. Then when traffic was stopped the parade rushed through to try and catch up. If we were on the other side of the intersection, we would have gotten much better pictures of the balloons and celebs since they would have been stopped and not rushing by.
Overall, it was a fun experience but something you only need to experience once or twice! Next year I will be watching the parade from the comfort of my couch!
Were you at the parade this year? Any tips or tricks of the trade I forgot? Let me know!
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