When Is the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade? 2021 Date, Route and Schedule

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City returns this year, now closer to its usual format. The annual parade presented by the department store chain was closed to spectators in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Will Coss, the parade's executive producer, said: "For our 95th celebration, we are delighted to return this cherished holiday tradition closer to its original form as we march down the streets of New York City and into the homes of a nationwide audience," during a statement released in September.

The parade sees crowds gather to watch several floats go by along the streets of the New York City borough of Manhattan.

This year's event will feature several new balloons and floats, such as a Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda balloon, Ada Twist, Scientist and the Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee balloons.

2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Schedule

Thanksgiving this year falls on November 25 and the annual parade will be held that day from 9 a.m. to noon local time.

Spectators will also be allowed to see the balloons inflated the day before the parade, with proof of vaccination. Children under 12 years old may be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

How to Watch 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

The parade will be broadcast live on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon in all time zones. Viewers can also catch the parade live from select viewing points along the streets of New York City where COVID-19 safety measures will be in place.

The Macy's website currently says: "Following current guidelines, the City of New York will manage public viewing locations & safety procedures along designated portions of the route with access details to be announced."

Spectators are told to check the Macy's website for more information before traveling to the parade.

The 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
A view of the Tom the Turkey float at the 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy's Inc.

2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Route

The parade kicks off at West 77th Street and Central Park West at 9 a.m. ET before heading to Central Park West.

The Macy's website says: "Early risers arrive starting at 6am ET on the west side of Central Park West from West 75th to West 61st Streets. Great views can be found along this stretch."

The procession will then move to Columbus Circle, where the parade turns here onto Central Park South and onto 6th Avenue, where spectators can catch great views from West 59th to West 38th Streets. The parade then makes its final turn and ends in front of Macy's Herald Square.

Viewers are advised to avoid watching the parade on 6th Avenue between West 34th and West 38th streets as well as on West 34th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues as "the national television broadcast limits viewing here," the parade website says.

See the Macy's website for more information on areas with restricted viewing.

2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade COVID-19 Safety

The following health and safety guidelines are in place for all parade participants and staff, according to a Macy's statement in September:

  • All participants and staff will be vaccinated. Some exceptions may apply at the sole discretion of Macy's and company's medical consultant based on certain extenuating circumstances. Macy's medical personnel will conduct COVID-19 testing for those instances.
  • Regardless of vaccination status all participants and staff are required to wear face coverings and additional protective equipment, depending on their role. Some exceptions may apply, such as for performers in the national broadcast.
  • Macy's will implement a reduction in overall number of parade participants of between 10 to 20 percent (approximately 800 to 1,600 participants).
  • Social distancing measures will be in place at all interior and exterior parade operations.
A float at NYC's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
A view of the Red Titan balloon at the 2020 Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. James Devaney/Getty Images

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