UWS Viewing Tips For Thursday’s 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

REMINDER: UWS balloon inflation until 10:00 pm Wednesday

The 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place tomorrow (Thursday, 11/22) and a good chunk of it is on the Upper West Side.

The action starts at 9:00 am at Central Park West & 77th, although if you’re looking for a prime viewing spot you’ll likely need to be in place much earlier than that (like, go to bed NOW).


You can view the official event site here.

If you’re so inclined, the parade has its own official app: iOS version & Android version.

About.com has a good guide on the parade with a bunch of tips. Of particular note:

Although the parade starts at 9 a.m., brave parade-going folks start lining up along the parade route by 6:30 a.m. You probably don’t need to get to your parade spot before 7 a.m., but prime locations will be fully staked out early on.

Another interesting point is that the closer your viewing point is to the start of the parade (Central Park West & 77th), the less time you have to stand around waiting. Per About:

Lots of folks recommend choosing a spot to watch the parade on the Upper West Side — since the parade starts up there, the parade “ends” earlier up there as well. The parade ends after about 1.5 hours if you’re near the beginning of the parade route, but lasts closer to 3 hours at the end of the route. Columbus Circle is also a good choice for parade viewing.

CBS New York has their own viewing guide and they suggest arriving by around 6:00 am.

MommyPoppins.com writes that if you’re OK with not having a front row view, you don’t need to get up at dawn:

If you want to be right in front, yes, you must rise with the birds. But my family and I have watched the parade from the streets numerous times and we don’t get up at dawn. We simply meander across town to see how close we can get. We always see something and honestly, all my son cares about are the balloons, and they’re so big they’re visible even from a block away. Last year, we snagged a great, relatively uncrowded spot just one block north of the procession.

If you want to have an unobstructed view of everything, you’re going to have to stake out your spot around 6am (really), maybe even earlier. In that case, we recommend hitting Central Park West in the 60s and 70s. The further you are from Herald Square, the better off you’ll be crowd-wise. Of course, if you know someone who lives, works or is staying at one of the many hotels on the route, start bribing them now.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that NBC will provide live coverage of the parade from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Not a bad alternative if getting up at the crack of dawn isn’t your thing.

If you do head out and get any good pictures, please send them to me at alerts [at] myupperwest.com.

If you’re using your cell phone to take photos and are tweeting them, please consider including @MyUpperWest and/or #MUWParade.



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