Originally, we were only going to visit New York City to see Hamilton. We were going to take the train into the city and back home the same day. We decided to stay one night and go to the parade because we knew it would be a once in a lifetime kind of experience. I have included my honest review on the parade, as well as pictures for reference.
Morning: After we woke up, we ate continental breakfast in the hotel. We then took a Lyft to the closest street we could get to the parade route. Many of the streets were blocked off for the parade, so we had to walk to a viewing area. There were also many viewing areas that were reserved for Macy’s employees and their families, so we had to find one that was not reserved. We ended up walking across the street from the Ritz Carlton and stopping there. It was record low temperatures, so there weren’t as many people as usual. It was still very crowded, but it was easier to get a front row spot. There were police everywhere, and a few of the officers had to calm the crowd because people were pushing and shoving to get to the front. As the crowd was pushing from the back to the front, the people next to the railing were getting shoved into it. We ended up being the second row in from the railing, and waiting about an hour for the parade to get around to our viewing area. By the time the floats and balloons reached us, a few dropped out of the parade. We missed the Mean Girls float and many celebrities because it was too cold. The balloons were also having a bit of trouble because of the wind. As the parade progressed, more and more people left. There was a coffee shop directly behind us, so many families headed into the coffee shop for warmth and a hot beverage. Many of the locals said the energy was much lower and it wasn’t as crowded because of the record low temperatures Thanksgiving day. There was even a safety warning that went out because of the weather. Towards the end of the parade, most of the crowd was gone. I ended up being right at the railing and having a front row spot for the end; for reference, I did not leave my spot from the time we got there to the time the parade ended. At the end of the parade, we went into the coffee shop behind us to get something to eat. It was insanely crowded, and they even ended up handing out free food and beverages.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Review: Unless it is much warmer, I would not go to the parade again. It was dangerously cold, and I couldn’t feel my feet by the end. It was a fun experience once, but I would be more than content to watch from home from now on. There was also a lot of pushing and shoving, and everyone was cold so people weren’t very friendly. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, but the temperature and the aggressive crowd made it much less enjoyable. If it were warmer and the energy were higher, it may have been more fun. I may go if it were warmer and I had a family of my own to take, but for now that one experience was more than enough for me.
Afternoon: After the conclusion of the parade when Santa and his reindeer passed us, we went into the coffee shop. After we were warmed up, we had to walk to the nearest street that wasn’t closed off by the parade. We were able to get a Lyft once we got to an open street; we went to lunch with our neighbors for Thanksgiving. We went to another Irish Pub because all of the restaurants were full or very expensive because it was Thanksgiving day; I ended up getting chicken tenders and French fries for Thanksgiving.
Evening: We had a few hours until we had to go to Penn Station for our train, so we went to Central Park. We took a bicycle ride in a carriage around Central Park. This is something we weren’t planning on, but it was perfect because we didn’t have much time left and we didn’t want to walk any longer. Our guide was very nice, and he took us around Central Park to see the fountain pictured in Friends, pointed out some apartments that celebrities live in, and took us by some famous landmarks. After that, we took the train home. It was a very full day, but fun nonetheless.
We had a very busy and fulfilling two days; the city was beautiful as always, and I really enjoyed getting to do two things I never thought I would.