Celebrate the Holidays at Macy's Herald Square in New York
New York City is a captivating place to visit any time of year, but it’s especially magical during the holiday season when it serves as the backdrop to one of the most amazing parades in the world—the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which draws visitors from all over the world and entertains them with miles of spectacular floats, balloons and marching bands.
At the center of this holiday action is Macy’s Herald Square, the end point of the parade route and a hotbed of holiday activity from November through December. Having launched the concept of a Santa Claus in a store setting back in 1862, themed holiday windows in 1870 and a Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, Macy’s New York celebrates the holidays like no other department store in the world. For many, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without the window displays that line Broadway and Seventh Avenue, Santaland and the Holiday Lane. And whether one watches the Thanksgiving Day Parade in person or on television, it’s simply a must-do for millions of people.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The 2015 holiday season officially kicks off with the 89th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®. For some, the Thanksgiving holiday begins with seeing the giant character balloons get filled with helium on Wednesday, November 25—the day before the parade—and culminates with the procession of balloons and floats along New York’s west side, from 77th St. to 34th St.
This year, there’ll be 17 giant character balloons, 24 novelty and ornament balloons, balloonicles (which are hybrids of cold-air balloons and vehicles) and trycaloons; 27 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; over 1,000 clowns; 12 marching bands, as well as many celebrity performers and Santa Claus—all sure to ignite excitement and holiday spirit in viewers. Four new balloon characters—Angry Birds’ Red by Rovio Entertainment; the pre-historic and legendary DINO™ by Sinclair Oil; Ice Age's Scrat and his Acorn by Twentieth Century Fox; and Ronald McDonald®—will join various returning characters, including Hello Kitty®, Snoopy & Woodstock, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger and Thomas the Tank Engine®.
Six new floats will make an appearance in this year’s parade, including Big City Cheer! by Spirit of America Productions, The Colonel’s Road Trip to NYC by Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Cranberry Cooperative by Ocean Spray®, Discover Adventure! by Build-A-Bear, Heartwarming Holiday Countdown by Hallmark Channel and Snoopy’s Doghouse by Peanuts Worldwide.
Celebrities from the worlds of film, television, state, music and sports will join various performance ensembles and marching bands from across the nation. Celebs include: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Mariah Carey, Dove Cameron and Sofia Carson, Cirque du Soleil®, Daughtry, Andra Day, Andy Grammer, Sandra Lee, Shawn Mendes, MercyMe, MIPSO, Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell, Jennifer Nettles, NHL legends Mark and Marty Howe, Jake Owen, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, Rachel Platten, Questlove with the cast & the Muppets of Sesame Street®, Prince Royce, the cast of Broadway’s School of Rock, Trey Songz, Jordin Sparks, Chica and the gang from Sprout and Train.
For more information, go to macys.com/parade, download the free 89th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade app or call the Parade hotline at 212-494-4495. Catch the TV broadcast on NBC from 9 am – 12 pm, ET/PT.
Macy’s was the first department store to attract onlookers with windows featuring fabulous holiday displays. In 1874, R.H. Macy, the found of Macy’s staged window displays with a collection of porcelain dolls from all over the world and scenes from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The public flocked to see them. In 1899, the displays at Macy’s original 14th Street location began integrating animation.
Macy’s has continued to build on the tradition with ever more grand displays. Every year, the company selects new themes for its animated windows. On Fri., Nov. 20 at 5 pm, Macy’s Herald Square will unveil the 2015 holiday window displays, which celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the classic holiday PEANUTS-based animated television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and feature members of the delightful PEANUTS gang.
Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus will make an appearance at the unveiling; a 50-member children’s choral group, The Highbridge Voices Choir,” will perform to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble will play music by Vince Guaraldi, the Peanuts composer.
Remember the iconic 1947 movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” which let us all in on the fact that Macy’s is a second home for Santa? Well, during the holiday season, St. Nick still takes up residence in the Herald Square store in a hut located in the enchanting Santaland on the 8th floor. Adults and kids alike can visit him there and on the way to their meet-up, tour his scenic, interactive surroundings—helpful ‘elves’ point the way.
In 1862, R.H. Macy, the founder of Macy’s, was the first to showcase an in-store Santa for kids to visit and the tradition has continued. This year, share your wishes with St. Nick and have your picture taken with him from Fri., Nov. 27 – Thurs., Dec. 24. This is a fabulous way to create a special memory. Check out the New York Santaland schedule here.
No trip to Macy’s Herald Square would be complete without a walk down Holiday Lane, the store’s festive Christmas décor and gift hotspot filled with everything from ornaments, nutcrackers and themed Santas to lushly adorned trees, festive linens and tableware—the merchandise is a feast for the eyes and a font of gift-giving ideas.
Be sure to meander through the Christmas-tree lined center aisle where dozens of trees capture a variety of holiday decorating styles—from whimsical to traditional.