Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade back in pre-COVID format

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will return to its traditional 2.5 mile route this year with dozens of balloons, floats and inflatables.

 Opening of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (photo credit: Macy’s)
Opening of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
(photo credit: Macy’s)

The 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will march in its pre-COVID format through the streets of New York City on Thursday, although children under 12 will not be able to take part in the parade itself. (Children will be able to view the parade though.)

The parade will begin at 4 p.m. Israel time (9 a.m. EST) and will be broadcast in all time zones in the US at 9 a.m. local time.

15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 novelty and heritage inflatables, over 800 clowns, 10 marching bands, nine performance groups, a variety of musical stars and, of course, Santa Claus, will make their way down the 2.5-mile route beginning on Central Park West, turning at Columbus Circle to Central Park South and then turning at 6th Avenue downtown until reaching 34th Street and turning to stop in front of Macy's Herald Square.

The parade this year will feature Jon Batiste, Blue's Clues & You! host Josh Dela Cruz and former Blue's Clues hosts Steve Burns and Donovan Patton, Darren Criss, Jordan Fisher, Andy Grammar, Chris Lane, the characters of Sesame Street, Carrie Underwood, among other stars.

New balloons will be joining the Thanksgiving festivities this year, including Ada Twist, Scientist by Netflix, a Funko Pop! inspired Grogu (more commonly known as Baby Yoda), Ronald McDonald and the Pokemon characters Pikachu and Eevee. Traditional characters such as Snoopy, Papa Smurf and the Pillsbury Doughboy will also take part in the march.

Six new floats will also be joining the parade this year, including Birds of a Feather Stream Together by Peacock, Celebration Gator by Louisiana Office of Tourism and Magic Meets the Sea by Disney Cruise Line, among others. A series of floats from past years will be making a return, including 1-2-3 Sesame Street and Macy's Singing Christmas Tree.

“For more than nine decades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has served to bring joy to millions, who gather with friends and family to experience this one-of-a-kind holiday celebration along the streets of New York City and in homes nationwide,” said Will Coss, Executive Producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “For our 95th celebration, Macy’s has created a spectacle to remember featuring a dazzling array of high-flying balloons, animated floats and incredible performers. We can’t wait to help New York City and the nation kick off the holiday season with the return of this cherished tradition.” 

There is no vaccination requirement for the general public to view the event. Spectators are encouraged to wear masks and take appropriate precautions.

The general public can view the event along the Central Park West stretch between West 75th and West 61st Streets, along 6th Avenue between West 59th and West 38th Streets.

Macy's advises against watching the parade on 6th Avenue between West 34th and West 38th Streets and on West 34th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues as national television broadcasting limits viewing at these locations. There is no public viewing at Macy's Herald Square.

The parade will be broadcast on NBC and Telemundo from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in all US time zones. Viewers can also, for the first time, view the parade on Peacock.

Last year, the parade was reduced to a much smaller size, walking down a smaller route and filmed over three days due to coronavirus restrictions.