I am not parade lover, but my family loves the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For years I got away without having to lug my family through the crowds, but a few years ago, we watched the parade. And it wasn’t as bad as I thought. We dressed warm, and I always had an “out” strategy. And now it has become a family tradition.
Here are my tips for the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
1. Get up early to grab a spot. We send someone around 6 am to find the perfect spot. As the day moves along, the crowds will push into your spot. Set up blankets and chairs to hold your spot. And once someone leaves that spot, someone will move in. Always have a body holding a spot.
2. Dress in layers. It seems like every time we go to the parade, a cold front moves in. Dressing in layers helps. Also, bring blankets.
3. Know where the bathrooms are. Once you are caged in by the police, you will not be permitted to move freely in and out. My favorite spot with small kids is near the Time Warner Center. You can use the bathrooms. The problem is, you are not as close to the balloons and parade route. You’ll still be able to see the parade, but from a short distance. If you want the Macy’s experience, but need easy access to a bathroom, set up in front of the Time Warner Center. But again, the balloons will not go right by you. If you set up along the parade route, good luck finding a bathroom. If you are worried about that, take extra cash with you and make friends with a doorman at one of the buildings. Using a cute kid as an excuse to use the bathroom helps. Also, a crisp $20 is an incentive. If a restaurant is not closed off, go into the restaurant early and make a purchase and make yourself known by dropping a big tip.
4. Bring hot chocolate and snacks, but don’t fill up. Did I mention the lack of bathrooms?
5. Make friends with those standing around you. Get to know them and their story. Then, when you or your kids need to move in and out, they won’t mind as much.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade can be a lot of fun, but it requires planning. Unless you have a rich friend that lives along Central Park West and can watch comfortably from the window. If you don’t have that friend, wake up early, know where your best options for bathroom breaks, dress in layers, and stake out a spot and stay there.