Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Will Be Different This Year—Here’s How

You'll still be able to watch the parade on Thanksgiving, though.

The holidays are coming up quick, and that’s more than OK with us. (Even Black Friday will be early this year.) We could all use holiday cheer right now, and for many, that cheer arrives in the form of yearly traditions—like watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade before your feast..

Like everything from shopping to eating at restaurants, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has had to change because of COVID-19. Here’s what to expect from this year’s show.

There Will Be Major Changes

It seems like the parade will look quite a bit different this year, in everything from the lead-up to the event itself. The most obvious change is that there won’t be live spectators allowed (so no wide shots of gigantic crowds packed along NYC streets). The parade itself has been scaled back, and its route changed; it won’t travel its usual 2.5-mile Upper West Side route, instead shifting to a 2-day event recorded by TV cameras. Parts of the show will be broadcast live, while others will be pre-recorded.

Other changes include having 75% fewer participants (and no one under the age of 18, so no high school or college marching bands), and, perhaps most shockingly, the balloons themselves will be anchored to cars—there won’t be anyone holding them and waving.

How Can I Watch the Parade?

If this is your annual Thanksgiving tradition, you’ll be relieved to know that you can tune in to NBC on Thanksgiving Day, which is Thursday, November 26. The parade starts at 9 a.m. ET and will have a mix of floats, balloons and performers. And YES, Santa Claus will still be there!

Snacks to Munch on During the Parade
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Emily Hannemann
Emily adores both food and writing, so combining those passions as a writer for Taste of Home makes perfect sense. Her work has also appeared in Birds & Blooms and on TV Insider. When she’s not eating peanut butter straight from the jar, you'll find her running or birdwatching. Emily is currently a journalism graduate student at the University of Missouri.