Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love the sheer simplicity of Thanksgiving. To GIVE THANKS, that is the entire purpose of the holiday. A time to count my blessings that do not include presents or expectations. A time to reflect on what is essential in life and be grateful. A time to spend with family, friends or take a solo trip. And a time to enjoy two slices of double fudge chocolate cake without feeling guilty.
Thanksgiving was extra special last year. I had a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. I got to do something that I have wanted to do for such a very long time, and that was to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person. For decades I have watched this parade from the comfort of my home like many of you have and at times wishing I was in New York City seeing it live. I remember watching the parade as far back as floor model TV days. Wiggling the rabbit ear antenna trying to get the best picture possible. Even then, through the fuzzy washed-out colored picture, I enjoyed the experience of seeing thousands of people participating in the parade. From the balloon handlers, celebrities, marching bands, clowns and more.
But, to see it in person was unbelievable! Seeing the floats up close and personal along with millions of bystanders was rewarding. Everyone was so joyful and electrified. The energy was off the charts, even standing in 30-degree weather for about 5-6 hours. It was worth every frozen finger, blistered cheek, and frostbitten toe. The Macy’s Day Parade is a memory that will forever be embedded in my heart. It is something that everyone should experience at least once in their life.
Here are a few tips for attending the parade.
Know the parade route. Find a hotel close to the parade route, so you do not have far to walk. My hotel was only a block away from the route which was great seeing that it was a bone-chilling 30-degrees out the morning of the parade. It was also conveniently located between Time Square and Central Park where I retreated afterwards for a few hours to relax.
Arrive early to the parade. For the best viewing spots, some people arrive as early as 5:30 a.m. to stake claim. I found my spot the day before, so I knew exactly where I was standing and where to grab a quick bite and a hot cup of chocolate. When I arrived at 6:30 a.m., there were at least a thousand people already lined up along the route. The parade starts at 9:00 a.m. and depending on where you are standing it might not reach your location until 9:30 a.m. or after.
Layer up! Be sure to wear layers so you can stay warm and peel off if you become hot. The parade is only 2 hours long but depending on where you are standing on the route, and what time you arrived you can be out there for a good solid 6 hours. Yep, you heard me right. You can bring fold up chairs and blankets which I recommend, but when the parade starts people push forward so you may or may not be able to sit comfortably for long.
Be prepared. Most businesses will not allow you to use their restrooms during the parade. So limit the amount of fluids you drink the night before and the morning of. If you have the will to fight through the crowds to get to your hotel room you might not be able to get back to your spot especially if you are traveling solo and have no one to hold it for you. If you are going solo make friends with the people standing around you, it will come in handy when you need someone to talk to, to pass the time before the parade starts or if you just have to venture away from your spot. Make sure you are weather aware in case you need to bring a raincoat or umbrella. After the parade traffic is insane so be prepared to walk miles to your next destination. I could not get a Taxi for over an hour. The restaurant will be packed so make reservations weeks before you go. You will be quite hungry after the parade.
Serafina Fabulous Pizza
Enjoy the experience. Get caught up in the holiday spirit! Let your inner kid lose and do not be afraid to dance, shout and leap for joy. I did!
As always, if you plan on visiting any of the places that I have mentioned and would like more information do not be shy about asking questions. I would LOVE to help you plan your next travel adventure.
“Never be afraid to try something new, because life gets boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know.”