The Best Way to See Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is something I have always wanted to do. Even though I lived in NYC for a short time, it seems I left the city around the major holidays and never had the chance to experience this holiday tradition. Well, this past year I made it happen and it was definitely worth it! Here are some tips on navigating this special holiday event and my recommendation for the best way to see Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

First, you need to understand that this is an event where NO TICKETS ARE SOLD. There is no way to purchase a seat or spot along the parade route. Those bleachers you see when watching the parade on TV are reserved for Macy’s employees and guests. Therefore, you will need another plan to see the parade in action.

One way is to study the parade route, wake up very early, and arrive on the parade route by 6 am to secure a spot on the street. Be sure to pack your warmest clothes and food to last for hours. And oh by the way, keep your eyes open for any public restrooms because that will be your only option as you camp out on the street.

A better way to see the parade, and the choice for our family, was to stay at a family-friendly hotel along the parade route like New York Hilton Midtown. We thought this was the perfect way to experience the parade for several reasons.

View Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from Your Room
New York Hilton Midtown has rooms with full and partial views of the parade coming down 6th Avenue. We really valued being able to watch the parade from the comfort of our room. We had the parade commentary on the TV so we had a full explanation of the floats and then a perfect sky high view of the entire parade. All this while lounging in our cozy warm room with snacks, drinks and our own bathroom!

Best way to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - New York Hilton Midtown room
Watching from a parade view room at New York Hilton Midtown is the best way to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Get a Street Level View on the Parade Route
However, to get the full experience it is also nice to see the parade up close outside, and New York Hilton Midtown also has a great view on the street level. The parade passes directly by the hotel offering a close-up view of the giant inflatables. Being outside made us feel like we were part of the parade action.

Best way to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - New York Hilton Midtown street level
Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade outside of New York Hilton Midtown.

To sum it up, Hilton Midtown offers the perfect parade experience because of the flexibility to move between the parade view rooms and the outdoor parade route. This was particularly enticing with kids who have trouble sitting still and waiting a long time or need frequent access to snacks and bathrooms.

Convenient Amenities and Location
We also appreciated other amenities and events at New York Hilton Midtown. Even on Thanksgiving Day, the restaurant Herb N’ Kitchen was open offering salads, brick oven pizzas and gourmet sandwiches to hungry diners after watching the parade.

There was also an amazing Chocolate Ballroom available to enter with with a purchased ticket. This chocolate paradise had everything from truffles to macaroons to chocolate martinis.

When we were ready to explore Manhattan after the parade, we were happy with the hotel’s location convenient to Rockefeller Center, Central Park and Times Square.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Chocolate Wonderland at New York Hilton Midtown
The decadent Chocolate Wonderland was open at New York Hilton Midtown on Thanksgiving Day after the parade.

Seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of us, and to make the most of it we recommend staying at New York Hilton Midtown.

You may also enjoy:

Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.

Know Before You Go

  • Opt for walking tours instead of bus tours if you want to eliminate the issue of traffic – just make sure to pack comfortable shoes!
  • If you bring your own ice skates, Bryant Park allows you to ice skate for free in the winter.
  • The Bronx Zoo is pay-what-you-wish on Wednesdays.
  • Utilize the New York Subway to travel like a local – it’s also a great way to avoid traffic!

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Susan K. Are you interested in traveling to New York City? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

More posts from Susan K.