The 17 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.

While the last few years have brought changes to many aspects of the holidays, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, this year’s festivities will look more like “normal.” If you can get to the Big Apple for curbside viewing of the big event, it’s definitely a bucket list can’t-miss. However, if you find yourself at home on Thanksgiving Day, you can always get a great view while nestled on your couch in your PJs, too. 

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 a.m. 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 2022 lineup for the 96th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Tom Turkey

Tom Turkey is the longest-running float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Always acting as the lead float, Tom Turkey received a bit of an upgrade recently, with a self-propelled design that allows him to move on his own. 

Geoffrey’s Dazzling Dance Party 

But after fan-favorite Tom Turkey, there are a lot of new floats that you’ll spot in this year’s parade, starting with the new Toys “R” Us float featuring Geoffrey, the famous giraffe. The float comes alive with fantastical toy-inspired characters. A giant inflatable giraffe walks alongside the float, controlled by two parade performers hidden inside.

Pinkfong Baby Shark

Get ready for your watching toddlers to suddenly recall Baby Shark (if they ever forgot this trend). Baby Shark makes a Macy’s Parade debut this year with a sea-themed float featuring not just Baby Shark but also Mommy Shark, Daddy Shark, Grandma Shark and Grandpa Shark.

Supersized Slumber

A brand-new float from Netflix, Supersized Slumber features a giant bed hovering over a cityscape and takes inspiration from the upcoming Netflix film Slumberland.

The Wondership 

This colorful, high-flying ship is brought to us by Wonder (yes, the same brand that makes the bread). The ship will emit more than 900 foam slices of bread while traveling along the parade route.

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

The Celebration Gator appeared for the first time in the parade last year, in 2021. The Mardi Gras-inspired float from the Louisiana Office of Tourism is decked out with azaleas, magnolias and Mardi Gras beads.

The Celebration Gator is the longest Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float ever, at 60 feet long.

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

Colossal Wave of Wonder

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

Last year, Magic Meets the Sea from Disney Cruise Line made its inaugural appearance in the parade. The float is inspired by the cruise line’s newest ship, Disney Wish, which took its maiden voyage just several months ago. This float was the very first in the parade to be longer than its float bed, as the bow of the float’s ship sticks out more than eight feet into the air.

1-2-3 Sesame Street

This is the 1-2-3 Sesame Street float’s 46th year appearing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Featuring iconic characters such as Big Bird, the float celebrates a significant part of just about every viewer’s childhood.

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

This year marks the Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree float’s sixth appearance in the parade. For 2022, the float is appearing with fresh voices and fresh faces at the ready. Each year, the choir — which makes up, yes, a Christmas tree – sings an original carol, and this year, the choir will include 69 members from 22 different states.

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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 Macy’s Stars, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Ronald McDonald. However, there are a few other, never-before-seen balloons that will be appearing for the first time in the parade.

These new balloons include…

  • Bluey, who you’ll definitely know if you have children at home; the Bluey balloon is as tall as a four-story building, as long as nine bicycles and as wide as seven taxis.
  • The Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon. This isn’t entirely new, but it does come with a new design this year, featuring a mammoth piece of cheese.
  • The Sinclair dino features the famous Apatosaurus along with a new baby dinosaur; the balloon is as tall as a four-story building, as long as 11 bicycles and as wide as five taxis.
  • And, lastly, the newest minion in town, with Stuart the Minion making his new balloon appearance as part of the parade.

There’s also a new “balloonicle” on deck for this parade. What exactly is a balloonicle? This Macy’s original creation is a mix between a balloon and a vehicle. The cold-air inflatable is driven along the parade route by a vehicle that’s hidden inside the inflatable body. This year’s new balloonicle celebrates the FIFA World Cup. Other balloonicles you can expect to see include a trio of Sinclair Oil baby dinos and a series of bowling pins.

What Else to Expect

Of course, many families tune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade not for the floats, but for the celebrity appearances and musical acts. This year, those performances will be given by…

  • Betty Who
  • Big Time Rush
  • Cam
  • Fitz and the Tantrums
  • Jordin Sparks
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Joss Stone
  • Paula Abdul
  • Sean Paul

Of course, beyond the various pop and music stars performing in this year’s parade, you can also expect a series of other celebrities to make appearances (such as Jimmy Fallon and Mario Lopez). There will also be performances, as usual, from Broadway casts and the Radio City Rockettes. Broadway shows represented this year include Funny Girl, A Beautiful Noise, Some Like It Hot and The Lion King.

Attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Person? Here are a Few Things You Need to Know

Attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person is an unforgettable experience — a bucket-list, can’t-miss occasion for many. However, there are a few things you’ll need to know ahead of attending this world-famous affair.

The crowds are real.

Notice how all the people attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that they show on TV are all smiling, laughing, and having a great time with their families? Yeah, that’s because those are the folks that showed up just in time to snag the coveted spots in the front.

A bit further in the crowd, you aren’t as likely to see quite the same smiles. Literally, millions of people attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In order to get a good spot along the parade route, you’ll have to get up early and claim your place along the streets of New York City, with some attendees even saying that they couldn’t grab a good spot even a few hours ahead of the parade start time. Some spectators can be seen lining up on the route as early as 4 a.m.

You can get a sneak peek of the parade ahead of time.

Don’t want to attend the actual parade on Thanksgiving Day (whether because you’d rather stay at home with the turkey or you just don’t want to fight the crowds) but plan on being in Manhattan or NYC that weekend regardless? You can get a taste of the parade without attending it by attending the parade balloon inflation on Wednesday.

Parade coordinators begin blowing up the giant balloons on 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue between noon and 6 p.m. Just head over and take a gander.

Pack all the necessities.

If you plan on standing outside for hours on Thanksgiving morning, be sure to bring all the necessities. Think warm clothing, but also layers, because you may get hot as the crowd thickens. Bring a seat if you don’t mind carrying it. Try hand warmers to keep you toasty. Definitely bring snacks and drinks.

Manage your expectations.

Do note that the parade experience in person is not the same as it is on television. At home, you can get up on a commercial break, hit the bathroom and grab a drink. That’s not so easy when you’re standing shoulder to shoulder with a bustling holiday crowd.

Likewise, the television broadcast obviously shows all the performances, from marching bands to Broadway stars, from a great perspective. You probably won’t get that when attending in person.

So, before deciding you’ll be attending the parade this year, consider whether you might just have more fun at home.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade FAQs 

Need more info on how to make the most of your Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade viewing experience?

When does the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade take place?

This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be held on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24. The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. at West 77th Street, near Central Park. The route is 2.5 miles, and the parade wraps up around 12 p.m. — just in time for you to eat Thanksgiving lunch!

How do you watch the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV?

The parade will air nationwide on NBC starting at 9 a.m. As usual, NBC’s Today hosts will be returning to provide commentary on the parade, including Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Rocker. The three have been hosting the parade together since 2018, though Roker’s parade tenure goes back nearly three decades, all the way to 1995.

How can I watch the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person?

There are viewing areas situated around the parade route. Favorited spots include the parade starting point on the west side of Central Park, as well as along Central Park South and 6th Avenue.

Do note that there is no public viewing at the parade’s endpoint, at Macy’s Herald Square.

Macy’s has provided a handy guide to show you where you can set up the family for the morning. You’ll want to get out early in order to get a prime spot!

What pandemic precautions is the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade taking?

In 2021, spectators were not required to wear face coverings during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and proof of vaccination was not required.

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 17 Best Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats: 

  1. Tom Turkey
  2. Geoffrey’s Dazzling Dance Party
  3. Pinkfong Baby Shark
  4. Supersized Slumber
  5. The Wondership
  6. Birds of a Feather Stream Together Peacock
  7. Celebration Gator
  8. Colossal Wave of Wonder
  9. Magic Meets the Sea
  10. 1-2-3 Sesame Street
  11. Christmas in the Square
  12. Deck the Halls
  13. Everyone’s Favorite Bakeshop
  14. Heartwarming Holiday Countdown
  15. Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree
  16. Rocking Moose
  17. Santa’s Sleigh

Holly Riddle

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