The 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marches from Manhattan’s Upper West Side through Midtown to Macy’s in the Garment District on Thursday, November 22, 2018 from 9am – 12noon. It’s fun to watch the balloons get inflated on the day before. FREE (but crowded)
2018 Balloon Inflation
Balloon inflation takes place around the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 from 1pm to 8pm.
Enter the line on Columbus Ave at 73rd. You get to walk past all the balloons. The line exits at Central Park West and 80th St.
About 100,000 New Yorkers and tourists go to the inflation every year now. Go early because the line closes an hour or more before the published closing time.
Balloons on West 77th St
Paw Patrol, Charlie Brown and Goku.
Balloons on West 81st St
The Grinch, Spongebob and Pikachu.
2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Route
The Parade route is 2.5 miles long.
It’s supposed to be 18 degrees at the Parade start, so bundle up. There is also the threat of winds that might prevent the balloons from joining the Parade.
Central Park West
The Parade starts at 77th St. Balloon viewing is great at the start, but you don’t really get to see the marching bands.
The whole thing is great along Central Park West. People start camping out at 6am on the west side of Central Park West from 75th to 59th St.
No you can’t watch the parade on the east side of Central Park West. You can see a little from inside Central Park, but the sidewalk wall blocks a lot of your view.
The Parade turns onto Central Park South at Columbus Circle. Even though it seems like that would be a great place to watch the Parade, there is no public viewing there.
Central Park South
There is viewing from near Columbus Circle to Sixth Avenue.
59th St to 38th St offers great views.
38th and 34th St is the grandstand and national TV broadcast. Unfortunately that limits viewing there. Grandstand tickets are not sold to the public.
The Parade turns onto 34th St. There is limited viewing on the south side of the street between Broadway and 34th St.
Macy’s Herald Square
The Parade ends in front of Macy’s in Herald Square, but there is no public viewing there.