As someone who had been in New York City for over 10 years, surprisingly I had yet to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I tend to avoid parades because the streets are closed off, sidewalks crowded, and you’re usually standing in the cold for hours.
In 2021, that changed as I had a last-minute opportunity to photograph the parade. In collaboration with the Mandarin Oriental New York, I had exclusive access from their property! Talk about manifesting and hitting the ground running as a photographer since I only quit my 9-5 a few months before. I might be a little biased, but since I got to photograph the parade from this luxury property I’d say this is the best hotel to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade!
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Address: 80 Columbus Circle
I know most people won’t have access like this, but if seeing the parade is on your bucket list, consider splurging on a hotel room instead of being on the ground. To be frank, the Mandarin Oriental is one of the higher-end luxury hotels in New York City, so be prepared to spend a pretty penny (minimum of $2000 a night). Make sure to get your money’s worth and reserve one of the rooms between the 45th through the 52nd floors with a Central Park view. Each of these rooms has floor-to-ceiling windows.
Previously, you could book a regular room and watch the parade from the Mandarin Ballroom on the 36th floor at no extra cost, but when I went to photograph from there it was empty except for one family watching.
This experience was one for the books, and a great way to watch the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Seeing the floats up close on the ground is the main (and probably most lively) way to experience the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade starts at 9:00 am, but make sure to secure your spot along the route early (like 7:00 am). The floats start walking from 77th Street and walk down Central Park West, turn and walks along Central Park South, and proceeds to finish up walking down 6th Ave until the flagship Macy’s at Herald Square.
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