Tuning in and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a holiday tradition for families across the United States. It's like kissing under the mistletoe on Christmas Eve. It's like watching the ball drop at midnight on New Year's Eve. Without it, the holidays just aren't the same!
But, because this is 2020, everything is a bit different. Crowds can't gather this year, so if you were planning to watch the parade in person in Manhattan, you'll need to switch up your plans. But if you were planning on watching from the comfort of home, don't worry! The parade will be televised as always.
Perhaps you'll be preparing a turkey feast on Thanksgiving morning. Maybe you'll be lounging in PJs all day since you won't be leaving the house. Perhaps you'll still be in bed because you don't have to be ready to eat dinner at 3 p.m. Either way, turn on NBC at 9 a.m. ET and watch the parade, at least for a few minutes.
Between the balloons and the floats, the Macy's parade is fun for the whole family (cliché, but true). If you're getting excited about this year's festivities, here are the best Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade floats to watch out for in 2020. You can also learn more about the entire parade route on Macy's website if you are interested in reading about the balloons, balloonicles, bands, clowns and more!
Related: The History of Thanksgiving Football
As he has been doing for the past 37 years, Tom Turkey will be the first balloon to kick off the parade festivities once again! He'll make his way down Central Park West, around Columbus Circle, and down 6th Avenue. His final stop will be at Macy's flagship store at Herald Square (which is where we get to see him on TV).
Tom Turkey is the oldest float in the parade, and he's been gobble-gobbling his way through the streets of Manhattan since 1973.
Jennie-O Big Turkey Spectacular
Tom Turkey has a bit of competition this year, as he won't be the only waddle neck in the show. This year, the Jennie O Big Turkey Spectacular makes its parade debut, and it promises to be full of dancing guys and girls, lots of feathers and a lot of glitter.
The always entertaining Bebe Rexha will perform on this float, so it's worth tuning in just to see what she's wearing!
Christmas In Town Square
The Lifetime channel is almost synonymous with the holiday season, so we're actually kind of surprised that it took this long for them to get into the parade! With Tori Kelly performing, the Christmas In Town Square float will feature a quaint holiday town covered in snow.
From the renderings of the float that we've seen so far, it looks just like one of those towns you would expect to see in a Lifetime holiday movie!
OLAY Her Future Is Stem-Sational
For all that is wrong and weird with 2020, there's one thing that seems totally right: The OLAY Her Future Is Stem-Sational float. This float features a black female astronaut designed to inspire women and girls of all ages to pursue STEM education and careers.
Robotic elements and turning gears show just how cool science can be, making this one of our favorite new floats in the 2020 parade. We can't wait to see this giant lady making her way through the Big Apple!
Tom & Jerry's Tourist Trap
New for 2020, the Tom & Jerry's Tourist Trap float is sure to make you feel like a kid again! Featuring the crazy cat and mouse duo we've loved for decades, this float is designed to look like a fun disaster, just like every Tom & Jerry cartoon from childhood.
You'll see several Toms on this float — all outsmarted and all in various states of disarray.
Home Sweet Home
From Cracker Barrel Old Country Store comes the Home Sweet Home float, making its sophomore appearance in the 2020 parade. It's detailed with rocking chairs, just like you would see outside a Cracker Barrel store, and it's full of all sorts of feel-good elements to remind you of home.
But what makes it one to watch is who's performing: Dolly Parton. Because let's just be honest, every day is a little better when Dolly's around!
Splashing Safari Adventure
Want to see a giant elephant mosey down the streets of NYC? The Splashing Safari Adventure features a giant elephant, a rocking giraffe, and all sorts of wild animals. You can also expect there to be quite a bit of confetti involved.
Jordin Sparks will be performing atop this float this year, so keep an ear out for her beautiful voice!
Rexy in the City
Promising to be full of glitz, glitter, and glamour, the Rexy in the City float was added to the parade in 2019. Sponsored by the brand COACH, this float will feature a two-story-tall T-Rex dinosaur (the COACH mascot) with a carnival recreation of the NYC skyline. There will be Ferris wheels, a roller coaster, and iconic NYC landmarks.
This year, the oh-so-talented Keke Palmer will make an appearance on Rexy. Is it just us, or is she everywhere this year
The Brick Changer
LEGOs have been around since 1932 and are almost as old as the parade itself (which has been mesmerizing New Yorkers since 1924). So it only seems fitting to have these two wondrous elements collide.
New to the parade in 2019, the LEGO Brick-Changer float is sure to make us all feel like kids again. If this massive float were to be built by actual LEGOs, the part turkey, part dragon would take more than 2,000 pieces to get the job done.
Featuring grey and white LEGOs at the forefront, this float transitions from a seemingly blank space into one exploding with bold, vibrant colors.
It will also feature performer Sebastian Yatra, the ultra-popular Latin pop artist known for his ballads and Reggaeton tunes. You can be sure your toes will be tapping to this one!
Toy House of Marvelous Milestones
Sponsored by New York Life insurance, the Toy House of Marvelous Milestones was added to the parade last year. Designed to look like a dollhouse, this float captures different elements and milestones in family life.
It depicts a wedding celebration, a graduation and a Thanksgiving dinner, among others. And this reminder of those crucial moments in life seems perfectly fitting for the occasion. After all, the parade does take place on a day that's all about family and friends!
Leslie Odom Jr. (aka Aaron Burr, Sir) of Hamilton fame will perform atop the dollhouse this year. We're guessing he's going to perform one of his songs, but it sure would be nice to start Thanksgiving morning off with a little Dear Theodosia.
Deck the Halls
With a traditional holiday look, the Deck the Halls float by Balsam Hill will be full of, you guessed it, Balsam Hill trees, garland, and decorations. It will feature a three-story-tall tree in the center, surrounded by a moving carousel and gingerbread cookies.
Ms. Patti LaBelle will sing atop the float this year. Wonder if she's planning on bringing the parade organizers some of her famous homemade pies?
Everyone's Favorite Bake Shop
During this year's parade, Entenmann's will create the ultimate sweet lover's dream with a float named Everyone's Favorite Bake Shop. Sophia Carson is scheduled to perform on this float, which promises to be full of vibrant color, oversized sweet treats, and childlike whimsy.
Topped with a cupcake chimney, this float is two-levels tall. That offers lots of rooms for lots of donuts, cookies, cupcakes, and other sweet desserts.
What could be more surreal than watching a giant pink flamingo floating through the streets of Manhattan? We think that's about as fun as it gets. The Rocking Flamingo float, which is five times the size of a real flamingo, features blue ocean waves, fabulous feather wings, and some pretty fabulous eyelashes to boot.
The Rocking Flamingo is a small float compared to the other 33 floats in the parade, but its color and charisma make it one of our absolute favorites.
It all ends with Santa's Sleigh… or does it begin with Santa's Sleigh? The jolly fat guy ends the parade every year with his fleet of reindeer and elves. And seeing him ride that sleigh past Macy's has become the unofficial start of the holiday season. (Sorry, Tom Turkey).
Somehow, seeing this float instantly puts us in the Christmas spirit and also gets us excited for the Thanksgiving feast ahead. Not only is Santa's Sleigh one of the best floats in the parade, but it's also the biggest. It measures 60 feet long, 22 feet wide, and a staggering three and a half stories tall!
This Year's Parade Includes Some New Giant Character Balloons Too!
Do you prefer those giant inflatable helium balloons to those slow-moving floats? Standing at 34th Street and Broadway, you get a sense of just how massive those balloons actually are, but since we can't be in New York City this year, we'll just have to enjoy them on TV!
Astronaut Snoopy, Pikachu, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Paw Patrol, Ronald McDonald, Spongebob Squarepants... all of the classic Thanksgiving Day parade balloons will appear this year. But there are some fun new ones too.
Keep an eye out for the SoryRed Titan from Ryan's World and the funny new Boss Baby balloon. Each one is over 40 feet tall and 28 feet wide.
What are the Best Floats in the Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
There's no doubt about it: the city of New York knows how to throw a party. And there's nothing, not even a pandemic, that can change that! Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be forcing us to change up our traditions a bit, but the Thanksgiving Day parade will still be one of the best parties of the year.
From The Elf on the Shelf and Sesame Street to the Jolly Green Giant, there is no shortage of amazing floats in this parade. But the ones to watch out for this year are:
- Jennie-O Big Turkey Spectacular
- Christmas in Town Square
- Her Future is Stem-Sational
- Tom & Jerry's Tourist Trap
- Home Sweet Home
- Splashing Safari Adventure
- Tom Turkey
- Rexy in the City
- The Brick Changer
- Toy House of Marvelous Milestones
- Deck the Halls
- Everyone's Favorite Bake Shop
- Rocking Flamingo
- Santa's Sleigh
History buffs might prefer the Mount Rushmore float. Nickelodeon fans might like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles float. Peanuts' fans might love the Snoopy float. Musical theater lovers might prefer the Broadway show performances.
Here's the point: the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has something for everyone. Between the floats, the massive balloons, and the marching bands, this parade never disappoints. And when Santa Claus comes down the street at the close of the parade, you know the holiday season is in full swing!
So unless you're elbow-deep in a turkey when the parade starts, turn on your TV at 9 a.m. ET. Take this Thanksgiving morning to relax and enjoy this nearly 100 years old holiday tradition with your friends, your family, or curled up on the couch with a pumpkin spice latte. Thanksgiving is the perfect day for both!