Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2021: Long route and crowds are back

(NCS) — Last yr, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a muted affair. Because of the pandemic, it was a TV-only event. No animated crowds lining Manhattan’s avenues. No lengthy parade route.

What a distinction Covid-19 vaccines and 12 months make.

The 2021 spectacle will return to the extra acquainted parade of yore. Travelers and residents could have 2.5 miles of public viewing as balloons, floats and bands make their approach from the Upper West Side to Macy’s flagship retailer at Herald Square.

Longtime New York City resident Lisa Fischer is just delighted concerning the ninety fifth annual parade, which begins at 9 a.m. ET Thursday.

“Obviously, I had to watch it on TV” final yr, she informed NCS Travel. “It was still fun and brought back great memories.” But Fischer stated it wasn’t the identical expertise with out the vitality of the road and the same old traditions.

Fischer has numerous in-person, treasured experiences with the parade.

When her two kids have been youthful, Fischer used to take them to observe the enormous balloons being inflated. Then they’d catch the parade on TV the subsequent day of their pajamas at residence.

Around 2004, they’d a very memorable time watching up shut.

“We got to be in the stands right in front of Macy’s,” Fischer stated. “I was fortunate enough to get tickets and right in front where they televised it. That was really fun.”

Here’s what people on the bottom and watching on TV can count on:

2021 Macy’s Parade route

A Goku balloon floats by at the 93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2019. The 2021 event will bring back the longer parade route.

A Goku balloon floats by on the 93rd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2019. The 2021 occasion will deliver back the longer parade route.

James Devaney/Getty Images

The 2020 parade was held in a small space across the Macy’s flagship retailer — simply sufficient room to stage it for broadcast.

Early birds begin arriving round 6 a.m. Thursday on Central Park West from West seventy fifth to West 61st streets. This stretch is taken into account to have nice views. The parade will then make a flip at Columbus Circle — once more no public viewing on the circle.

After a comparatively quick distance down Central Park South, the parade will head south on sixth Avenue for the lengthy journey towards Midtown Manhattan. Macy’s touts the views from West 59th to West thirty eighth streets.

The parade makes its last activate thirty fourth road and terminates in entrance of the flagship retailer (no public viewing right here both).

Weather forecast

Forecasts say Santa Claus won't have any major weather woes for his parade appearance in 2021.

Forecasts say Santa Claus will not have any main climate woes for his parade look in 2021.

James Devaney/Getty Images

There is nothing within the forecast pc fashions that signifies winds will get wherever close to the edge, in response to NCS Meteorologist Judson Jones.

So, “let the balloons fly,” Jones stated.

Not solely that, however the climate might be crisp and stunning, Jones stated. It could also be a bit of bit chilly within the early hours, the higher 30s to decrease 40s. But by the point Santa hits Herald Square, will probably be largely sunny with a temperature of about 50 levels, if not a bit hotter, he stated.

How to observe from residence

Can’t be there in particular person?

NBC is the official broadcaster for the parade, and protection begins at 9 a.m. in all US time zones. The parade hosts are Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker of the “Today” present.

The Spanish language simulcast on Telemundo might be hosted by Ana Jurka and Carlos Adyan. NBC can also be providing streaming on its new Peacock Premium platform.

CBS will even cowl the parade from 9 a.m. to midday. And it is going to reside stream on its Paramount Plus Premium platform.

You may additionally catch it you probably have reside TV streaming companies equivalent to FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.

Marching bands

The Hampton University Marching Force is slated to appear in the 2021 parade.

The Hampton University Marching Force is slated to look within the 2021 parade.

Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

It’s laborious to beat that head-to-toe tingle {that a} good marching band offers you. And Macy’s attracts a number of the greatest from across the United States. A couple of bands from the 2021 musical cavalcade:

— The Hampton University Marching Force: This high-energy Virginia band performed on the 2020 New Year’s Day Parade and Celebration in Rome and its drumline was within the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade.

— The NYPD Marching Band: Made of musically inclined law enforcement officials, it is a crowd favourite.

— The Ann Richards Marching Stars: Deep from the center of Texas, the band is the one all-female aggressive marching band within the nation, in response to Macy’s.

— The Centerville High School Jazz Band: Hailing from Ohio, the band is thought for its conventional and up to date remedies of massive band jazz. They are set to carry out “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”


Darren Criss attends the 74th Annual Tony Awards at Winter Garden Theater on September 26, 2021, in New York City. And he'll be one of the featured performers at the Macy's Parade.

Darren Criss attends the 74th Annual Tony Awards at Winter Garden Theater on September 26, 2021, in New York City. And he’ll be one of many featured performers on the Macy’s Parade.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The parade will even current singers, musicians and entertainers from all kinds of genres. Some of the many stars scheduled to look embrace:

— The South Korean Ok-pop quartet Aespa
— Country music singer Chris Lane
— “Glee” star and Broadway actor Darren Criss
— Classic rock band Foreigner
— New Orleans singer, composer and jazz pianist Jon Batiste
— Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth of “Wicked” fame
— Groundbreaking nation singer Mickey Guyton
— St. Louis rapper Nelly


Macy's unveils new giant character balloons for the 95th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is Toni, Macy's very own bandleader bear.

Macy’s unveils new big character balloons for the ninety fifth Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is Toni, Macy’s very personal bandleader bear.

Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images

Those large balloons giving giant-sized visible thrills might be back. A small sampling of what you may see:

— Ada Twist, scientist: From the Netflix sequence, she makes her balloon debut this yr at concerning the peak of a four-story constructing.
— Tiptoe the Reindeer, additionally making its balloon debut
— Astronaut Snoopy, the ninth balloon iteration of the Peanuts character
— The Pillsbury Doughboy at 46 ft tall
— Smokey Bear, star of the longest operating PSA in US historical past, in response to Macy’s

Another beloved custom — the general public viewing of the balloons being ready — returned this yr. It was held Wednesday on the Upper West Side.


Entertainer Donny Osmond stood atop a turkey float during the 1981 parade.

Entertainer Donny Osmond stood atop a turkey float throughout the 1981 parade.


— Celebration Gator from the Louisiana Office of Tourism
— 1-2-3 Sesame Street Float
— Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree, that includes the voices of greater than 100 Macy’s employees
— And in fact, Santa’s Sleigh

Safety and safety

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said "the NYPD ... has planned for very careful security around the parade."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated “the NYPD … has planned for very careful security around the parade.”

While full vaccinations have been required to attend the balloon inflation occasion Wednesday afternoon, there is no Covid-19 vaccination requirement for the general public to observe the parade from the sidewalks on Thursday morning. People are inspired to put on masks and gown accordingly for late November climate in New York City.

Spectators are requested to keep away from bringing giant luggage, umbrellas, backpacks and strollers. The public coming into viewing streets may bear a safety search.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated Monday there’s “no credible and specific threat” to town for the upcoming parade and that town is in “a high state of preparation.”

De Blasio was additionally requested whether or not the Wisconsin Christmas parade incident that left six folks useless after an SUV plowed right into a crowd would have an effect on New York City’s safety plan.

“It’s tragic and horrible what happened in Wisconsin but, I will tell you, the NYPD for years and years has planned for very careful security around the parade,” the mayor stated.

Sweet anticipation

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has advanced into a vacation custom because it started as a Christmas parade in 1924.

Lisa Fischer stated she plans to rise up actually early Thursday, seize a espresso, corral a few pals and see whether or not she will discover a spot on the sidewalk to observe.

Fischer has an enviable back-up plan if the bottom stage motion is not to her liking.

Her house at sixtieth Street and Amsterdam Avenue close to Lincoln Center offers her a chicken’s-eye view of Columbus Circle, the place the parade will make a flip.

She has an incredible private simulcast scenario, too. Her TV is ready up so she will watch the printed and watch the parade go by by way of her house window on the similar time.

“I’m excited to watch it in person this year. It’s not Thanksgiving without the parade. It’s the kickoff of the holiday season,” she stated.

“New York City feels a little lighter for the first time in 18 months. … Lots of Christmas decorations are up now. There are seemingly more tourists here. The atmosphere doesn’t feel as heavy. I feel more optimistic.”

Top picture courtesy of Macy’s. NCS’s Mirna Alsharif contributed to this report


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