New York

Everything You Need to Know About the 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC

The most anticipated holiday parade is returning to the streets of Manhattan in full force this year.

Photo courtesy of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Photo courtesy of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Photo courtesy of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

After nixing live spectators last year to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, Macy’s announced that it will fully resurrect its world-famous holiday parade this Thanksgiving. The 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade promises to bring all the star-studded fun that viewers have grown to expect, plus a handful of new floats and balloons to help welcome the Christmas season in style.

While tuning into the Macy’s parade is a tradition among households nationwide-outshone only by news of the annual reunion between Jamal Hinton and his “Thanksgiving grandma”-New Yorkers get the opportunity to show up in person and witness the magic right before their eyes. If you’re one of the millions planning to venture to the parade route on Thanksgiving morning, here’s everything you need to know about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ahead of time.

NYC Russ/Shutterstock
NYC Russ/Shutterstock
NYC Russ/Shutterstock

The parade route

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off from West 77th Street at 9 am, moves south on Central Park West to Columbus Circle, and then heads east on West 59th Street. The journey continues south on Sixth Avenue to 34th Street and ends outside Macy’s flagship store around noon. Visualize the route here.

Where to watch

There are two main stretches of road where you can catch a great view of the parade. Early birds can line up on the west side of Central Park West between West 75th Street and West 59th Street-people start camping out here as early as 6am, but you can show up closer to the start time for a less optimal view. Late arrivers should aim to post up farther down the parade route, along Sixth Avenue between West 59th Street and West 38th Street.

No matter when you arrive, there are a handful of areas on the route with limited-to-no views. Avoid the kickoff area at West 77th Street, all of Columbus Circle, the stretch of Sixth Avenue between West 38th Street and West 34th Street, and anywhere near Macy’s on 34th Street.

Photo courtesy of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Photo courtesy of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Photo courtesy of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Where to watch

There are two main stretches of road where you can catch a great view of the parade. Early birds can line up on the west side of Central Park West between West 75th Street and West 59th Street-people start camping out here as early as 6am, but you can show up closer to the start time for a less optimal view. Late arrivers should aim to post up farther down the parade route, along Sixth Avenue between West 59th Street and West 38th Street.

No matter when you arrive, there are a handful of areas on the route with limited-to-no views. Avoid the kickoff area at West 77th Street, all of Columbus Circle, the stretch of Sixth Avenue between West 38th Street and West 34th Street, and anywhere near Macy’s on 34th Street.

How to get there

The subway is always the most reliable mode of transportation to an event where street closures are involved. Meet up with your group before hopping on the train, and head to a station slightly off the beaten path to minimize the chaos. You’re already going to be on your feet and in the cold-a few extra minutes of walking won’t hurt.

If you’re planning to watch in the Upper West Side, take the 1, 2, or 3 train to 72nd Street. If you’re planning to watch in Midtown, consider taking the E train to 50th Street or the N train to 49th Street. As always, watch the MTA’s live service updates online or on Twitter in case there’s a hangup.

NYC Russ/Shutterstock
NYC Russ/Shutterstock
NYC Russ/Shutterstock

What to wear and how to prepare

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is famously freezing for fans who choose to line the sidewalks. So far, Thanksgiving shows signs of being warmer than usual this year, but you’ll still want to arrive prepared in case the forecast changes.

The key to surviving a morning event in November is layering up. Long johns, sweaters, coats, and scarves are all great ideas, but don’t stop there. Comfortable shoes are a necessity, and head and hand protection help contain your body heat. Also, keep in mind that bathrooms are limited near the parade.

This year’s performers, floats, and new balloons

The 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade features 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, and countless performers of every kind.

Six new character balloons are debuting this year: Grogu, better known as Baby Yoda, from The Mandalorian; child scientist Ada Twist from the Netflix show Ada Twist, Scientist; Tiptoe, a reindeer puppet balloon that starred in Macy’s holiday campaign this year; Toni the Bandleader Bear, named after puppeteer Tony Sarg; Pikachu and Eevee in a Pokeball-themed sled; and a redesigned Ronald McDonald, who’s now holding a heart.

There are also four new floats that will roll down the parade route for the first time this year: a colorful Peacock float based on NBC’s inaugural streaming service; a bayou-themed gator float sponsored by the Louisiana Office of Tourism; an adventurous waterpark float representing Kalahari Resorts & Conventions; and a cruise ship float designed to resemble Disney’s new ship, the Wish.

Among the many celebrities performing at the parade are Kim Petras, Kristin Chenoweth, Nelly, Andy Grammer, Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps, Kelly Rowland, Jon Batiste, Darren Criss, Chris Lane, and Foreigner.

Photo courtesy of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Photo courtesy of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Photo courtesy of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

How to stream the event on TV

If seeing the parade in person just isn’t in the cards this year, enjoy the festivities from the comfort of your home. The three-hour broadcast-hosted by Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker-will air on NBC from 9 am to noon in every time zone on Thursday, November 25. It’ll re-broadcast from 2 to 5 pm in every time zone in case you missed the morning show.

You can also stream the event on Peacock at your own leisure, and if you would prefer to watch in Spanish, Telemundo will broadcast the event from 9 am to noon, hosted by Ana Jurka, Carlos Adyan, and Freddy Lomelí.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Kyler Alvord is a contributor for Thrillist.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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