New York City Vacation Packages offers
accommodations in hotels on or near the parade route:
Sheraton New York Times Square
7th Ave at 52nd Street
Located right in the heart of
midtown Manhattan, the Sheraton New
York Hotel & Towers is just steps
away from Times Square, the Broadway
theater district, Rockefeller
Center, Carnegie Hall, Central Park
and 5th and Madison Avenue shopping.
Newly renovated, the lobby is both
elegant and comfortable. Enjoy 1750
beautifully renovated and decorated
guest rooms, all of which feature
the ultra comfortable "Sweet
Sleeper" bed ensemble, high speed
internet access, coffee makers with
complimentary coffee and tea,
telephones with personalized voice
mail, hairdryers, irons with ironing
boards, plus terry cloth bathrobes,
and cable television with 20
channels as well as on demand movies
and video check out. The hotel
boasts a fully equipped health club
and 24 hour room service.
The New York Marriott Marquis Hotel,
located in the Times Square theater
district of midtown Manhattan, is a
world-class New York City hotel that
sparkles with newly renovated hotel
rooms, high-speed elevators, and
fantastic hotel restaurants and
lounges. Famous for its renowned
Marriott service, this NYC hotel is
perfect for weekend getaways,
business, family and leisure travel.
This totally non-smoking landmark
hotel, designed by John Portman, has
great architectural interest,
including a 37-story atrium with 12
glass enclosed elevators. All 1,946
guest rooms and suites are spacious
and comfortably appointed. Many
guest rooms offer a Times Square
Viewing the Parade
There is no
reserved seating for the parade. Bleachers and seating that you
might have seen on TV broadcasts of the parade are held exclusively
for Macy's employees and are never sold or provided to other guests.
The parade starts at 77th Street and
Central Park West, proceeds to Columbus Circle, goes east on 59th
Street, turns downtown on 6th Avenue then downtown on
6th Avenue to Macy's Herald Square.
Central Park West: the west side of the
street from 70th Street to Columbus
Circle and on the east side of the
street from 70th to 65th Street
Columbus Circle: the west side of the
Avenue: between 59th and 34th Streets
To ensure a
good viewing location, get there early.
Spectators arrive as early as 6:30am.
Please leave folding chairs at home.
Dress in layers to keep warm. November in
Manhattan can be quite cold.
Come rain or shine.
Parade Hotline: 212-494-4495
Watch as the
Balloons Get Inflated on Thanksgiving Eve
Every year on Thanksgiving Eve thousands of
New Yorkers and visitors watch the giant
balloons get filled with helium, near the
American Museum of Natural History at 77th
Street and Central Park West.
Thanksgiving Day Parade History
On November 27, 1924, the first Macy’s
Christmas Parade stepped off from Convent
Avenue and 145th Street in New York City.
Four hundred employees accompanied by scores
of animals, from camels to elephants, with
bands, balloons, and floats in tow, took to
the streets to begin an American holiday
tradition that has become a part of our
lives and a piece of Americana.
Conceived by Macy’s employees, many of whom
were European immigrants, the Parade was a
celebration of the Christmas season rooted
in the traditional festivals of their
In that spirit, Herbert Strauss, President
of R.H. Macy & Co., took out newspaper ads
which promised "a surprise New York will
An estimated quarter million spectators
witnessed this auspicious event as the
parade wound its way down to Macy’s Herald
Square for Santa Claus’ unveiling of Macy’s
Christmas windows on 34th Street.
For 75 years, the words "Let’s Have a
Parade!" have continued to stir the emotions
of millions of people across the country and
around the world.
1927 Macy’s asks theatrical
designer and creator of Macy’s Christmas
windows, Tony Sarg, to design giant balloons
which would become the signature pieces of
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Filled with
helium, Sarg’s first designs – Felix the
Cat, the Dragon, the Elephant, and the Toy
Solider – are a huge success. Those first
balloons would explode upon release, as
their creators had forgotten that helium
expands at high altitudes.
1928 Macy’s experiments
with an air and helium mixture that is used
to this day. That same year sees another
first: at the end of the parade, the
balloons are released into the air as a
1929 Balloons, including
the Dachshund, are equipped with a return
address and an offer of a prize. In
following years, the Dachshund Balloon lands
in the East River, and two tugs race madly
for the prize, tearing it to pieces in the
1931 Clarence Chamberlain,
an aviator flying above New York City,
catches the Pig Balloon in midair in an
effort to collect the reward money. The
following year, an aviator almost crashes
into Broadway in an attempt to catch the Cat
1933 After a few close
calls, the practice of releasing the
balloons is stopped in the interest of
1930s Celebrities, such as
Benny Goodman and Harpo Marx, join in the
Thanksgiving Day festivities.
1934 Tony Sarg and Walt
Disney create balloons including Mickey
Mouse, the Big Bad Wolf, the Little Pig, and
1939 Children’s comic book
favorites, including Superman, are
introduced, paving the way for pop culture
icons to be incorporated into the parade.
1950s Stars including
Jackie Gleason, Shirley Temple, and Jimmy
Durante, join the parade.
1955 The Parade telecast
moves to NBC after a two-year stint with
CBS. Macy’s and NBC have enjoyed a broadcast
relationship ever since.
1957 Popeye the Sailorman
sails into the parade.
1958 Air-filled balloons
are brought down the parade route on cranes
due to a helium shortage.
1962 The first year the
Parade featured sports champions, including
Willie Mays, Otto Graham, Jack Dempsey, and
1963 The Elsie the Cow
Balloon heralds the arrival of the World’s
Fair in Queens, New York. Also this year:
The parade marches on as floats are draped
in black the week following the
assassination of President Kennedy.
1969 Macy’s Parade Studio
moves to its current home in Hoboken, NJ, in
the former Tootsie Roll factory.
1960s Lorne Greene and
Betty White host the telecast from 1962
to71. In 1962, Tony Bennett first appears
and will return in 2001.
1975 The Dino the Dinosaur
Balloon is inducted into the American Museum
of Natural History as an honorary member.
1977 "Parade Lady" Jean
McFaddin, who will become a 24-year Macy’s
veteran, takes the helm of the parade.
1970s Carson sidekick Ed
McMahon co-hosts from 1971 to 1981.
1986 Sesame Street’s Big
Bird flies for the first time in the parade.
In 2001, a brand-new Big Bird Balloon was
1989 The parade takes to
the street despite its first snow storm.
1980s Diana Ross and Sammy
Davis, Jr. are just two of the celebrities
from the film, television, and music worlds
to join the fun.
1993 Sonic the Hedgehog
Balloon introduces the first video game
character to the line up.
1996 Rugrats becomes the
parade’s first three-character balloon.
1999 Ask Jeeves becomes the
first Internet-inspired character.
1990s Pop and country stars
such as Shania Twain and NSYNC take center
2000 The Parade welcomes
"Bandleader Mickey" – the third time the
beloved Mickey Mouse has made an appearance.
2001 Macy’s Thanksgiving
Day Parade celebrates 75 years of making
magic for the holidays!
Fun Facts About
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
first parade in 1924 was called the
"Macy's Christmas Day Parade"
although it took place on
animals including camels, goats,
elephants, and donkeys, were a part
of the parade that inaugural year.
original parade route was from 145th
Street and Convent Avenue to 34th
Street and Herald Square.
floats were pulled by horses. In the
first parade a white steed that was
to aid in the Ben-Hur float
disappeared at the last minute
before the start of the parade.
1925 and 1926, bears, lions, and
tigers were added to the live
animals used, but the use of these
animals had to be discontinued
because they scared children.
1927, Macy's introduces the world
famous giant helium balloons. The
first balloons included Felix the
Cat and Toy Soldier
saw the first release of the giant
balloons into the air at the end of
the line of march. The balloons
promptly exploded after reaching a
balloons were redesigned and again
released. Equipped with a return
address label, Macy's offered a
prize for their return.
1932, Clarence Chamberlain, an
aviator flying above New York City,
catches the Pig Balloon in mid air
in order to claim the prize money.
Santa Claus has ended
the parade every year except 1933,
the only year in which he led the
parade was cancelled in 1942, 1943,
and 1944 due to World War II.
1955, the parade telecast returns to
NBC after a two year tun on CBS.
a helium shortage in 1958, the
balloons are brought down Broadway
1969 the Macy's Parade Studio moves
to its current home in Hoboken, New
Jersey in a former Tootsie Roll
Dino the Dinosaur balloon was
inducted into the American Museum of
Natural History in 1975 as an
1977, the "Parade Lady" Jean
McFaddin takes the helm of the
parade, which she leads for the next
1980s, the smaller "novelty"
balloons were introduced, including
the Macy's stars and the 30 foot
triple-scoop ice cream cone. "Falloons"
were also introduced at this time. A
combination of float and cold air
balloon, this is a highlight of the
creativity of the Macy's Parade
1989, the parade marches on through
its very first snowstorm.
1990s saw the parade balloons adding
new characters from the internet,
video games, and contemporary
cartoons. Sonic the Hedgehog, Ask
Jeeves, and the Rugrats were just a
few of these balloons.
parade has attracted a sea of
celebrities. The years have seen
Harpo Marx, Jackie Gleason, Diana
Ross, Sammy Davis, Jr., Stevie
Wonder, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow,
NSYNC, Shania Twain, and Christina
is the world's second largest
consumer of helium. The United
States government is the first.
laid every parade balloon since 1927
end to end they would stretch from
Battery Park City to the Cloisters.
than 50,000 clowns have delighted
millions of children along the