How to watch and what to know

It’s that time of year again: when Snoopy and Pikachu float down Sixth Avenue and Santa makes a special appearance to signify the official start of the Christmas season.

The 96th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns to New York City this week with five new floats and four new balloons to entertain audiences of all ages.

Quite a lot has changed since the first parade took place in 1924. Not only will people be able to watch the event from the comfort of their own homes on network TV, but various streaming services will also provide a front-row seat to the happenings.

Over 3.5 million people in NYC and more than 50 million viewers at home typically watch the parade, which utilizes 5,000 volunteers to get the show on the road.

Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the parade went on — but with some radical changes to ensure social distancing. Unlike normal years, it was tailored just for the TV audience, but this year’s celebration is free to go on without hesitation.

“Today” show anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker are slated to return as hosts of the parade. However, Roker has been absent from “Today” and is currently “on the way to recovery” after he was hospitalized with blood clots in his leg and lungs two weeks ago.

Radio City Rockettes perform during the 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Radio City Rockettes perform during the 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Santa Claus will make his annual appearance with a special guest this year.
Santa Claus will make his annual appearance with a special guest this year.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

When is the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place on the national holiday, which falls on Thursday, Nov. 24, this year, at 9 a.m. EST. The show officially ends at noon.

How can I watch the parade and is it available to stream?

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on both NBC and CBS. It will also be available to stream live on many subscription services, including Peacock, Paramount+, Hulu Live, Sling TV, DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV.

The Wondership by Wonder float is seen during 96th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Studio Day at Macy's Parade Studio.
The Wondership by Wonder Bread float is seen during the 96th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s Studio Day at Macy’s Parade Studio.
Getty Images for Macy’s Inc.

What’s the parade route and can I watch it in person?

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route runs 2.5 miles, from 77th Street and Central Park West, south to 34th Street-Herald Square.

Tickets are not needed to watch the procession in person, but it’s best to avoid watching on Sixth Avenue between 34th and 38th streets, and on West 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, as the national television broadcast limits viewing there.

Those who hope to be near the cameras often show up extra early, hours before the show begins, for the perfect vantage point. It’s recommended to show up “no later than 6 a.m.” for coveted spots.

Geoffrey, Toys "R" Us' mascot, will appear on a company float in this year's parade.
Geoffrey, the Toys R Us mascot, will appear on a company float in this year’s parade.
Getty Images for Macy’s Inc.

Will there be any special guests and performers?

Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg of “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin,” Betty Who, Big Time Rush, Jordin Sparks, Fitz and the Tantrums, Blanco Brown, country musician Cam, Dionne Warwick, Gloria, Sasha and Emily Estefan, Joss Stone and Kirk Franklin will all be on floats.

Miss America Emma Broyles, Paula Abdul, Sean Paul, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Ziggy Marley will also be there.

Mariah Carey will also fulfill her “childhood dream” and open for Santa Claus at the end of the parade.

Mariah Carey will fulfill her "childhood dream" and open for Santa Claus at the 2022 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Mariah Carey will fulfill her “childhood dream” and open for Santa Claus at the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Getty Images for MC
Diary of A Wimpy Kid® by Abrams Books is taking a test flight during 96th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Balloonfest at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 5.
A float based on “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” courtesy of Abrams Books, took a test flight during the 96th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s Balloonfest run-through at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 5.
Getty Images for Macy’s Inc.
Striker, the U.S. Soccer Star by FOX Sports Baloonicle is taking a test drive during 96th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Balloonfest.
Striker the US Soccer Star, a Baloonicle by Fox Sports, takes a shot at Balloonfest.
Getty Images for Macy’s Inc.

What’s new this year?

New parade balloons include one from “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” Dino and Baby Dino, Bluey, Stuart the Minion and Striker the US Soccer Star, which celebrates the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

Look out for new floats, too, including Baby Shark, Geoffrey’s Dazzling Dance Party featuring the Toys R Us mascot Geoffrey the giraffe, Netflix’s “Slumberland”-inspired Supersized Slumber and Wonder Bread’s Wondership, plus Macy’s own People of First Light and Winter Dragon floats.




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