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How to do Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

We decided way in advance that if we were going to be in NYC for Thanksgiving, we were going to do the parade and we were going to do it right! We had initially planned to have T.J. get there crazy early (like 5 am) to save us a spot, but T.J. had a bad cold and we decided we didn’t want to ruin his Thanksgiving by making him do that. So, he and Mark’s dad left at 7 and we left at 8:15 with the kids.

Because we didn’t leave crazy early, there was already a big crowd, but we were at least on Central Park West and not back an avenue. I found a spot against a church wall that worked perfectly for me, Mary Beth bought a stool to stand up on (definitely going to bring that next year), and then everybody else was up close with T.J. and Tom.

Where to watch: From Jersey, we took the Path train to 14th st and then tranferred over to the NYC subway a block away and then took the 1 train to the Lincoln Center stop. It was a little more inconvenient to do this, but we wanted to transfer early so it wouldn’t be so crazy busy. Totally worth it. Near Lincoln Center, there are a lot of little bakeries and coffee shops, so if anyone needs to use the bathroom, just buy a hot chocolate or muffin and it’s not a problem! I heard the farther away you are from 34th St, the better so we went up pretty far on the west side.

From there, we walked to the corner of 65th and Central Park West. There’s a church there with tons of steps. If you can arrive at about 7 am, you can be on the steps and it would be PERFECT! But we were a little later than that and were on the sidewalk instead.

What to bring: Handwarmers, a leash for your kid (not joking… this is one of the only times wear it’s really a good idea), snacks for the kids, a stool/ladder/chair to stand on, a bottle of water. Bring enough for the kids so they won’t want to complain while they’re waiting for the next float, but don’t overdo it because the parade is about 2 hours long and you don’t want to have to carry everything all morning. Do NOT bring a stroller unless it is very light, can be folded up, and carried. Even then, I still think it would be easier to just skip the stroller and hold your child the whole time. I was SO sore the next day from carrying my toddler for hours, but there is NO way you can push the stroller through the crowd. Some people tried and they were out of their mind.

What to wear: We bundled up like crazy. I put so many layers on Eva because I did not want her to be cold. I’m glad I put so much on her, but for myself-I might wear just one pair of leggings under my pants next year-not two! I was sweating at times because it wasn’t that cold when we were all crowded together watching the parade. The walk was very windy so make sure you have gloves and a hat for the walk!

After the parade: Make sure you head back on the train right away and don’t try to find a place to eat at for brunch after the parade (unless you can find a little place that takes reservations). Go much farther away. We tried to eat at Sarabeth’s on Central Park South and it was CRAZY, they weren’t taking any more names for the rest of the day. So, instead we found a little deli near the Flat Iron building where we transferred to the Path train. No one else was there and it was a perfect place to sit down and have a bite.

That’s about it! We’d definitely do it again, so I think that’s a good sign to show that it was worth it! It was so exciting to see all of the balloons and floats in real life. And Santa… that was amazing! I even teared up because it was so neat!

So, that being said… who is coming with us next year!?!IMG_2922

Train ride home

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Amelia and Claire had it pretty good up on the men’s shoulders.

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Train ride to the parade

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Me and my darling girl

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Elf on the Shelf

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Duck Dynasty!

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Claire and Amelia on Tom and Mark’s shoulders

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T.J.’s high school band is coming next year, so we definitely have to see that!

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My cute sister Mary Beth

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Walking down Central Park West without any cars! Very neat experience.

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Some of my favorites

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Buzz Lightyear was HUGE!

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All bundled up and ready to go!

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