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The 16 Best Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats You Don’t Want To Miss

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Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, without them, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same. Tuning into this yearly procession is a tradition for many American families, and this year’s lineup of floats is sure to capture your imagination and get you into the holiday spirit.

Though there was no street viewing last year due to the pandemic, this year’s fans will be able to get a curbside view on the streets of New York City once again. And for those of us who can’t make it to the Big Apple, you can always get a great view while nestled on your couch in your PJs. From classic floats and giant character balloons to new floats and balloonicles making their parade debut, this year’s parade is one you won’t want to miss!

Just tune in to NBC at 9 am ET to join in on the fun. To give you a little sneak peek at what you can look forward to, here are our favorite floats from the 2021 lineup for the 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Tom Turkey

2021 marks the 38th year that Tom Turkey will be kicking off Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. All we can say is this bird must definitely have some magic as Tom is the only gobbler we know that has survived this many holiday feasts. Maybe he flies south after the procession?

Whatever the case, the longest-running float in the parade got an update and is actually self-propelled this year. This is one turkey that can pull his own weight! Yep, he’s a survivor! 

Birds of a Feather Stream Together Peacock

Making its stunning debut this year is a float so flashy you won’t be able to take your eyes off of it. Decked out in glitter and color-shifting, metallic paint, this peacock is absolutely fabulous. But this bird isn’t all glitz. It’s also bringing some new technology to the parade this year.

A camera perched on the peacock and monitors on the tail end will give spectators a bird’s eye view of the parade via a live stream. Besides its glorious tail feathers, this peacock has a lot to be proud of!

Celebration Gator

Also new to the parade, this year is what has to be the world’s most festive reptile. This gator is festooned with azaleas, magnolias, and mardi gras beads, a tribute to Louisiana’s rich culture. He even carries a little bit of the French Quarter on his back.

With so much wonderful heritage to represent, it’s no wonder that this giant gator is the longest parade float ever, measuring 60 feet from jaws to tail. Let’s hope he doesn’t eat New York

Related: 38 Vegan-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes [Impress Any Critic]

Colossal Wave of Wonder

Photo Credit: Macy’s

Kalahari Resorts take us on another adventure this year with this all-new, elephant-themed float. And we think it will have a colossal impact! Mama pachyderm shoots glitter from her trunk while baby elephants ride the waves and blow bubbles. Also along for the ride are an octopus and a rhino on a longboard.

Now that’s what we call a surfing safari!   

Magic Meets the Sea

Taking her maiden voyage in the parade this year is this Disney ocean liner captained by Minnie Mouse. Modeled after their newest Disney cruise line ship, the Disney Wish, this giant model ship features Mickey-shaped porthole mirrors so that standers-by can see themselves aboard. 

The real Disney Wish may not launch until next summer, but this float is a great sneak peek until that ship comes in!

1-2-3 Sesame Street

Helping our kids to be smarter and kinder, Sesame Street is always something to be thankful for. This year marks the float’s 45th appearance in the parade and will give us a chance to usher in the holidays with some of our favorite Sesame Street friends. 

Christmas in Town Square

Lifetime brings us this quaint float featuring a town square so charming it could be in one of their movies. You know the ones – where someone returns to a small town after a long absence and falls in love with their polar opposite. And, of course, the newborn couple has their first kiss while snowflakes fall all around them. Sigh.

Oh, and that dusting of snow over the faux village? It’s enough to make 9000 snowballs!

Deck the Halls

This beautifully crafted float features elaborate wooden carvings and has a moving children’s carousel as its stunning centerpiece. It’s also trimmed with over 300 feet of garland and has a replica of a white spruce perched on top of its three stories. 

Yep, this is one decked-out float! Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Everyone’s Favorite Bakeshop

Entenmann’s brings us this holiday float that looks good enough to eat. The two-story bakeshop has an oversized mixer and all kinds of yummy goodies like cupcakes and donuts. This one will make you hungry for Thanksgiving dinner. Or at least dessert!

Heartwarming Holiday Countdown

Nothing warms your heart or a parade like the Hallmark Channel. This 3-D Christmas calendar has a fun surprise behind each date and will definitely get you excited about the countdown to December 25th. 

Fun fact: if the candy canes on the float were real, they’d add up to 32,000 calories! 

Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree

What’s better than a Macy’s holiday float? A singing a holiday float! This giant pine made history back in 2017 as the parade’s first singing Christmas tree. This year over 100 Macy’s colleagues will gather for their 5th appearance in the parade and will be joyfully singing another original tune. 

Let the caroling begin!

Related: The Truth About Burning Off Your Thanksgiving Meals [Guide]

Mount Rushmore’s American Pride

This float pays tribute to our national parks and monuments with a replica of the iconic Mt. Rushmore. In addition to the faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, it also represents indigenous animals of the Great Plains and South Dakota’s proud Indian heritage.

Yes, America, we have a lot to be thankful for!

Rocking Moose

Wobbling down the parade root with an elf atop is this fun twist on a rocking horse featuring a moose made from wood, steel, foam and a little pixie dust. Who wouldn’t want to take a ride on this magical creature?

Santa Express

If you’re into model trains, you’ll love this recreation of a vintage steam locomotive that was built over an actual school bus. At over 78 feet long, it shoots a plume of smoke 30 feet in the air as it pulls a cargo of enthusiastic elves down 34th Street. 

This is one train you don’t want to miss!

Winning Winter Together

This fan-favorite float features a group of skaters trying to slide a goal past a giant Snowman. Although this replica of a small-town rink is made of synthetic ice, you can actually skate on it! Score another one for Macy’s magical Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Santa’s Sleigh

As always, St. Nick himself will be wrapping up the parade with a big, festive bang. Accompanied by his fantastical posse of reindeer and elves, his appearance has come to represent the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season. 

Not only is this float one of the favorites in the parade, but it is also the largest at 60-feet long, 22-feet wide and 3 ½  stories tall. And that’s a ho-ho-ho lot of magic! 

And Look Out for Some New Balloons!

Just as iconic as the floats are those massive balloons that glide their way down the parade route each year. Over 40-feet high and 28-feet wide, they never fail to make an impression. Of course, we’ll be seeing some perennial favorites like Astronaut Snoopy, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Spongebob Squarepants and the Happy Hippo.

But we can also look forward to some new characters that are destined to become fan favorites. Be sure to keep an eye out for our beloved baby Jedi Grogu, Ada from the Netflix series Ada Twist, Scientist and Tiptoe the reindeer, the adorable star of Macy’s holiday campaign.

Gobble It Up

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that NYC really knows how to throw a party. And this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade promises to be more festive than ever. With phenomenal floats, gargantuan balloons, balloonicles, clowns, pop bands and more, there’s a little something for everyone in the family.

If you’d like to learn more about the parade and route, visit Macy’s website. Or just tune into NBC on Thanksgiving morning, and the parade with all of its surprises will unfold before your eyes. Make sure not to miss Santa Claus, Ronald McDonald, Pikachu, Baby Yoda and the infamous marching bands that make their way down Broadway in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

What better way to kick off your holiday season than this iconic tradition that keeps us eating it up year after year? Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And bon appetit!

You might be interested in: Blackout Wednesday: The Complete Holiday History [Cheers]

The X Best Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats: 

  1. Turkey Tom 
  2. Birds of a Feather Stream Together Peacock
  3. Celebration Gator 
  4. Colossal Wave of Wonder 
  5. Magic Meets the Sea 
  6. 1-2-3 Sesame Street 
  7. Christmas in Town Square 
  8. Deck the Halls 
  9. Everyone’s Favorite Bakeshop 
  10. Heartwarming Holiday Countdown 
  11. Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree 
  12. Mount Rushmore’s American Pride 
  13. Rocking Moose 
  14. Santa Express 
  15. Winning Winter Together 
  16. Santa’s Sleigh 

Jessica Heston

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