Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2018: route, street closures, and more
The 2018 iteration of the parade will follow the same route as in previous years: It’ll begin on the Upper West Side and wind its way along Central Park, before heading down to Midtown and finishing up in front of Macy’s Herald Square. Nearly 3.5 million people turned out for last year’s parade, and it’s expected to have about the same turnout this year, which definitely means traffic in Manhattan will be a nightmare on that day.
In addition to the actual parade day, you’ll also have to worry about the balloon inflation the day before: Streets across from the American Museum of Natural History will be closed for that prep event. This year, there are a few new balloons—a giant Goku character from the Dragon Ball Z series and a nutcracker balloon that is making its NYC debut—that will join the lineup, along with four new floats.
So what can you expect from this year’s parade—and how can you avoid it altogether? We’ve got you covered.
When is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
What is the parade route?
The route stretches for 2.5 miles, beginning at 77th Street and Central Park West, and ending in Midtown in front of Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street. Along the way, it travels down Central Park West; turns east onto Central Park South at Columbus Circle; then turns south at Sixth Avenue; and travels along that thoroughfare before turning west at 34th Street, and ending at Macy’s.
What’s new for the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
According to Macy’s, this year’s parade will feature 16 giant character balloons; nearly 30 legacy balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 16 floats; more than 1,000 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; 12 marching bands and three performance groups.”
There have been 20 performers tapped to perform at this year’s parade, including legendary artist Diana Ross and her family, Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, John Legend, and many others.
Which streets will be closed during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
The official list, courtesy of the NYPD:
- Columbus Avenue between 81st Street and 77th Street
- Central Park West between 81st Street and 86th Street
- 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- 76th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- 73rd Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West
- 71st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- 68th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- 62nd Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
- Central Park West between 81st Street and East Side of Columbus Circle/59th Street
- Columbus Circle between 59th Street and Broadway
- Broadway between 59th Street and 58th Street
- 59th Street between Columbus Circle and 6th Avenue
- 6th Avenue between 59th Street and 34th Street
- 34th Street between 6th Avenue 7th Avenue
- 33rd Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue
- 34th Street between 7h Avenue and 8th Avenue
- 34th Street between 6th Avenue and 5th Avenue
- 35th Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue
- 36th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue
- 37th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue
- 38th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue
- 39th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue
- 40th Street between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue
- 7th Avenue between 33rd Street and 40th Street
- Broadway between 45th Street and 34th Street
- 40th Street between 7th Avenue and 6th Avenue
- 39th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue
- 38th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue
- 37th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue
- 36th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue
- 6th Avenue between 34th Street and 33rd Street
- 8th Avenue between 40th Street and 33rd Street
On Wednesday, expect many of the streets around the American Museum of Natural History—so from Central Park West to Columbus Avenue, between 77th and 81st streets—to be closed to facilitate the balloon inflation. The inflation begins at 1 p.m., and spectators should enter on 73rd Street and Columbus Avenue.
A map of where that event will take place is below:
What about getting around Midtown?
The MTA will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving day, and street closures will affect bus service in the neighborhoods where the parade takes place. Plan accordingly, and check the MTA’s website for updates.
Commuter rail services like Metro-North and LIRR will also be adding extra trains for parade-goers; stay tuned for more details as the parade draws closer.
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade [Official]