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Old 11-27-2012, 01:30 PM   #1
riley2008
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Macy's Thanksgiving parade 2013 tips?

After watching the parade another year on television, we thought that next year we'd like to do a week long trip to NYC the week of Thanksgiving.

My husband and I have visited a couple of times, but always stayed in a hostel and took public transportation. I know the one hostel we stayed, had rooms for 4, so that is something we may look into if prices get crazy.

I am hoping to book SWA flights, using my 50,000 points, when the dates are released.

So, what do I need to do? I'm doubting we just bring our lawn chairs and show up early, like we do around here for a parade. Are there locations that the parade can be seen easily? Do we need to purchase tickets for good viewing location?

I Googled a few things, but everything seemed to be for this past Thanksgiving, and hotel packages that were on the route.

Any advice on planning this adventure would be good. And we'd like to do it on a budget...
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:12 PM   #2
kydisneyfans
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We attended in 2010 and are strongly considering a return in 2013.

Some tips:
-Definitely attend the balloon inflation the night before, but get there an hour before the advertised starting time. The balloons have already started the inflation process and the crowds will be manageable. You can stick around as long as you want, but the mobs of people make it much more difficult the later into the event you visit.

-Let your 2 feet and the subway be your transportation system.

-Start looking for hotel deals now. We had booked a room in Jersey for $119 a night, but found a deal at the Crowne Plaza Broadway, 1 block from the parade route, with free breakfast for $209 a night. The hotel was amazing. We used priceline, but not the name your own price portion. We hit the parade route around 6:00 AM around 44-45th st and had front row seats along the curb. I paid $20 a night to park 2 long blocks away from the hotel, we never moved our SUV once we arrived Wed morning.

-Book any broadway shows early, we did the Lion King for the first time ever. Try to find a Thanksgiving dinner spot early and make reservations. We ended up at a hole in the wall diner with uncooked canned vegetables as our side dish.

-Do not shop at Macys on Black Friday, I could not believe the amount of people jammed into that store.

Have fun. It will be crowded but festive.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:33 PM   #3
lost*in*cyberspace
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Try doing a Google search for tips - there is a lot of information available.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:35 PM   #4
pezheadmeg
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Lightbulb I pilot a balloon--so I might have some advice

I'm putting in my 2 cents as someone who has never watched the parade but who does it every year.

Do inflation early! I did it one year around 6 and attempted the next around 7--it was a zoo. The big balloons for the most part are blown up by 3. The heads get blown up first.

The smallest crowds this year were on 6th Avenue in the 50's. The other place I would reccomend is down by Bryant Park. Anything below 40th is Broadcast silence. Street viewing on Central Park West and Central Park South is only on the building side of the street. There areno legitimate tickets for sale!.

If you want to fly Southwest aim for a flight into La Guardia. Islip is about a 90 minute train ride into Manhattan.

Book a hotel early! However if you book along the parade route you will be looking down on things. The floats from above are not nearly as exciting. My co-worker and my cousin who have taken my starting line seating tickets the last 2 years have both said watching it was beyond awesome.

If you plan you will have a blast. Even if it's raining.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:18 PM   #5
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We lived and worked in NYC and have attended the parade many times. Would love to actually be in the parade one year and would love to help out holding a balloon. Anyway, we watched the parade on 6th Avenue and 48th Street. This was a great location.

We have also done the Christmas Show at Radio City quite a few times but always say I would love to watch the parade, then go to the 2:00 show and then out to dinner. There was a Groupon this year for the Christmas Show on Thanksgiving and I am sorry we did not do this.

Watching them blow up the balloons the night before is alot of fun but as we are usually working that day we get there late and they are already done although we have caught a few balloons being inflated.

The only thing I will say is do not expect to see all the shows they show on tv. This is only done in front of Macy's and you will not see them if you watch on the parade route. Some of the bands do perform while they are marching and of course there are the balloons and Santa.

Here are a few of our photos.















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Old 11-27-2012, 10:28 PM   #6
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I'm hoping to go in two years, so thanks for the information. My youngest will be 4 then, so more manageable.

That being said, I have a friend who goes every year (grew up in Jersey). Her brother stakes out there area around 4:30 in the AM. EVERY year there is some fool who tries to sneak in at 6am or later and causes quite a stink...this year the cops were even called.

People bring chair/stools right?
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:53 PM   #7
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i did the parade two years ago and loved it! my brother lives in hoboken so what we did that year was take the path in, go up to the central park area by subway and walk as far uptown as we could until the crowds thinned. i think we left hoboken at like 6am and when we got there we were only a few people deep which is fine since we were all adults.

what you may not see on tv is the parade takes a while to get down to macys. so when you see the broadway shows at the start the floats are already on the move uptown. in fact the delay is so long between uptown and downtown we left about 30 min early, took the trains back into hoboken and about 45 min later when we got home the parade at macys was picking up where we left off!

that being said the parade can change routes, like this year going down 6th not broadway or 7th. so before you book a hotel in midtown to view the parade from there, check the updates later in the year with the route.

another thing to see the day before the parade is them setting up macys for the parade, the tree in the rock being set up (usually under scaffolding to be decorated), and the windows at Saks are what i call "pre-holiday". it is not the story you see at christmas but for example this year is mostly gorgeous winter scenes with evening wear and some animated displays. while there you can also explore the rock concourse and take in the architecture (these are all free!) AG is also across from Saks as is St.Patricks. they also started the night projection show at Saks a few nights ago this year.

select museums, like the MET, are suggested donation. so if you really can only afford $10 a person instead of $20, you can pay that. if you time it right you may even be able to take a free tour while at the MET which is great if you are not familiar with art history.

to save on hotels you may want to stay out of midtown, or like i said can even stay in jersey and commute in daily. or if for example it is cheaper to stay in jersey for fri/sat and you leave sunday you can look into flying out of Newark back home. the subway and walking is the cheapest way to get around and is sufficient to go most places. food will cost you, even chain restaurants cost more in the city. you may want to scoop up giftcard deals to stash away or search restaurants.com, groupon etc for certificates to bring. there are also deals to be had on places outside midtown and pricier neighborhoods.

as for shows the days around thanksgiving may sell out. a few years ago we wanted to see the rockettes the day before thanksgiving. we got tickets 3 weeks beforehand and had to pay full price, for the last row in the theatre as they were the only seats left. if you want to see rockettes they constantly have deals, you can follow on facebook closer to your trip and check the usual places (plum benefits, scorebig etc)

a trip to NYC can be overwhelming so like disney come up with at touring plan, look at what you can do budget wise, and then edit.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:33 AM   #8
cornflake
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Note - if you're planning in advance, they've been changing the route back and forth recently, so if you're booking a hotel that is like, on the route now, there's no guarantee it will be in the future.

I've never seen people with chairs or stools, personally. Can't imagine that'd work well anyplace along the route.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:02 PM   #9
riley2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kydisneyfans View Post
We attended in 2010 and are strongly considering a return in 2013.

Some tips:
-Definitely attend the balloon inflation the night before, but get there an hour before the advertised starting time. The balloons have already started the inflation process and the crowds will be manageable. You can stick around as long as you want, but the mobs of people make it much more difficult the later into the event you visit.

-Let your 2 feet and the subway be your transportation system.

-Start looking for hotel deals now. We had booked a room in Jersey for $119 a night, but found a deal at the Crowne Plaza Broadway, 1 block from the parade route, with free breakfast for $209 a night. The hotel was amazing. We used priceline, but not the name your own price portion. We hit the parade route around 6:00 AM around 44-45th st and had front row seats along the curb. I paid $20 a night to park 2 long blocks away from the hotel, we never moved our SUV once we arrived Wed morning.

-Book any broadway shows early, we did the Lion King for the first time ever. Try to find a Thanksgiving dinner spot early and make reservations. We ended up at a hole in the wall diner with uncooked canned vegetables as our side dish.

-Do not shop at Macys on Black Friday, I could not believe the amount of people jammed into that store.

Have fun. It will be crowded but festive.
Thanks. Never even thought about the balloon inflation. I bet that is great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
Try doing a Google search for tips - there is a lot of information available.
Did that and couldn't find the information I was looking for. Any advice perhaps on a "subject" to Google would be great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pezheadmeg View Post
I'm putting in my 2 cents as someone who has never watched the parade but who does it every year.

Do inflation early! I did it one year around 6 and attempted the next around 7--it was a zoo. The big balloons for the most part are blown up by 3. The heads get blown up first.

The smallest crowds this year were on 6th Avenue in the 50's. The other place I would reccomend is down by Bryant Park. Anything below 40th is Broadcast silence. Street viewing on Central Park West and Central Park South is only on the building side of the street. There areno legitimate tickets for sale!.

If you want to fly Southwest aim for a flight into La Guardia. Islip is about a 90 minute train ride into Manhattan.

Book a hotel early! However if you book along the parade route you will be looking down on things. The floats from above are not nearly as exciting. My co-worker and my cousin who have taken my starting line seating tickets the last 2 years have both said watching it was beyond awesome.

If you plan you will have a blast. Even if it's raining.
My DH commented several times about what a treat it would be to be a handler for any of the balloons. You are very lucky. Thatnks for the airport info. We've always flown into LaGaurdia then taken the bus 6-8 blocks from the hostel, so that would be familiar at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sagginit View Post
...take the path in, go up to the central park area by subway and walk as far uptown as we could until the crowds thinned. i think we left hoboken at like 6am and when we got there we were only a few people deep which is fine since we were all adults.

that being said the parade can change routes, like this year going down 6th not broadway or 7th. so before you book a hotel in midtown to view the parade from there, check the updates later in the year with the route.

another thing to see the day before the parade is them setting up macys for the parade, the tree in the rock being set up (usually under scaffolding to be decorated), and the windows at Saks are what i call "pre-holiday". it is not the story you see at christmas but for example this year is mostly gorgeous winter scenes with evening wear and some animated displays. while there you can also explore the rock concourse and take in the architecture (these are all free!) AG is also across from Saks as is St.Patricks. they also started the night projection show at Saks a few nights ago this year.

select museums, like the MET, are suggested donation. so if you really can only afford $10 a person instead of $20, you can pay that. if you time it right you may even be able to take a free tour while at the MET which is great if you are not familiar with art history.

food will cost you, even chain restaurants cost more in the city. you may want to scoop up giftcard deals to stash away or search restaurants.com, groupon etc for certificates to bring. there are also deals to be had on places outside midtown and pricier neighborhoods.

as for shows the days around thanksgiving may sell out. a few years ago we wanted to see the rockettes the day before thanksgiving. we got tickets 3 weeks beforehand and had to pay full price, for the last row in the theatre as they were the only seats left. if you want to see rockettes they constantly have deals, you can follow on facebook closer to your trip and check the usual places (plum benefits, scorebig etc)

a trip to NYC can be overwhelming so like disney come up with at touring plan, look at what you can do budget wise, and then edit.
Thanks. Yes, NYC is many ways is like an oversized Disney - if you don't plan you won't get anything done.


Thank you all for the advice. So from the pics and reports, it looks mostly like adults and kiddos may not be able to see the parade.

I'm wondering if we went with another family, could three adults find a "spot" for the 8 of us, say at 5:00am and then drag the kids down about 7:00 without issue?

Any topics to Google would be good too. I'm just not coming up with useful information. (I want details of where/how, etc.) Thanks
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:43 PM   #10
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We went this year for the first time and had a blast. We stayed at the Hilton New York along the parade route I think we paid a 289 a night last February for the days we stayed. We went in front of our hotel which is on 6th around 53rd. My husband went down about 6:15 and saved us a spot right neAr the front. We got there about 15 minutes later. It was great the kids got front row to shake hands and see the floats up close. The crowd wasn't bad until about 8:30 when it seemed to get really bad with people tryi g to
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:05 PM   #11
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My mom took us to the parade every year growing up (from CT). I now live in Arizona and took the family in 2011 (kids were 4 and 6). Now it had been 15 years since I had last been. We always watched from Central Park West - around 72nd - so that is where we went - at 5:30 - and no spots up front to be found. Lots of people with blankets spread out and chairs holding spots for the rest of their families. As their people arrived - the folded up the chairs and put them on the ground behind the crowd. It was unusually nice out that year - which likely added to the crowds. My daughter befriended another girl and that dad let the kids (and the 2 other kids with us) up in front and we all stood behind which was great. Biggest problem with getting there so early - the 4 year old had to "go" right as the parade was starting. At that point the crowds were so thick there was no way to go anywhere. A lady with a larger baby gave us a diaper and I had to convince my potty trained child to go ahead and pee. She didn't enjoy the first 30 minutes while trying to hold it but finally let go... We are heading back in 2013, also. We did Radio City in 2011 so might try a Broadway show this year. We try to catch the parade as close to the start as possible so we can hop in the car and head back to CT for dinner with family - but if you are staying in the city for the day - you can catch it anywhere along the route.

We went to see tha balloons the night before - after Radio City - and got there just as they were blocking it off for the night. The timing worked out great because we got in as everyone was leaving and I got pictures of my daughter in front of some balloons with no crowds around.

There is no better time to be in NYC in my opinion - you will have a great time!
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