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Family Vacations: Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade draws                                  thousands to New York City.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade draws thousands to New York City.

Nearly everyone in North America has heard of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, with its fabulous and elaborate floats, dancing clowns, and brassy marching bands. But what it's really known for are the signature giant helium balloons featuring favorite characters such as Angelina Ballerina, the Statue of Liberty, Scooby-Doo, and Dora the Explorer. The parade heralds the start of the holiday season -- Santa Claus rides along in his sleigh as a special guest.

The parade's origins date back to the 1920s, when the city's European immigrants decided to celebrate the American Thanksgiving Day holiday with the sort of festivities they had known in their homelands. Now more than 40 million people watch the parade on television, but nothing beats being there in person.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Information

Address: 77th St. and Central Park W., New York, NY

Telephone: 212/494-4495

Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Admission: Free!

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • New York City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the Capital of the World.
  • New York State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in New York, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.


Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.