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How to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
(Image credit: Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

For the last 95 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a beloved holiday tradition, kind of an unofficial start to the jolliest time of the year. Starting at 9 a.m. ET on NBC Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, viewers across the country will be able to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on both broadcast TV and streaming.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the marquee TV events on Thanksgiving (though there are some great Thanksgiving TV alternatives if you’re looking to fill your day), with a great lineup of performers, floats and balloons of popular TV and movie characters. Another special aspect of this year’s parade is that after a year away crowds will once again be allowed to line the parade route in New York City.

NBC’s Today anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker will serve as the emcees for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

So, if you want to start your holiday off with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, here is everything you need to know to watch it.

How to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

As it has since 1953, NBC is the official broadcast home of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Starting at 9 a.m. ET, local NBC stations in all U.S. TV markets will be airing the parade for viewers. This means that anyone with a traditional cable/satellite pay-TV subscription or a TV antenna that receives local TV station signals will be able to watch the broadcast. In addition, subscribers to live TV streaming services like FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV also have live NBC coverage as part of their service. 

Telemundo will simulcast a Spanish-language broadcast of the parade in all time zones starting at 9 a.m. ET. Check local listings to see if and where Telemundo is located in your channel lineup, or visit www.telemundo.com

While NBC is the official broadcast network for the parade, CBS also gets in on the action; they just don’t call it the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Officially billed as The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS, the network’s coverage will also be available on traditional pay-TV services, with TV antennas and on select live TV streaming services, including FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV.

Viewers will also be able to stream the parade. For NBC’s coverage, viewers looking to live stream the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade must be signed up for Peacock Premium. Similarly, if you want to stream CBS’ coverage, viewers need access to Paramount Plus Premium, which offers access to the subscriber’s local CBS station.

What if you’re abroad this Thanksgiving and without easy access to these broadcast or streaming options? Well, that’s where a virtual private network, or VPN, can come in handy. If you're outside the Us — for whatever reason — and want to access your usual channels you won't be able to due to the content being geo-blocked. However, log onto your VPN, choose a server based in the US and stream the show just like you would back home. We've long been fans of ExpressVPN — it's fast, safe, easy to use and offers a no-quibble 30-day money-back guarantee. 

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ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it has a no-quibble 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performers, balloons and floats

So now that you know how to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, here is who and what you can expect to be coming down the parade route 

Performers
All of these performers will be paired with a float throughout the parade. Visit Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade webpage to see what floats they are on. You can also check out all the marching bands that will be performing during the parade.

Aespa
Andy Grammer
Chris Lane
Darren Criss
Foreigner
Girls5eva (Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldberry, Paula Pell, Busy Philipps)
Jimmie Allen
Jon Batiste
Jordan Fisher
John Dela Cruz, Steve Burns & Donovan Patton (Blue’s Clues & You)
Kelly Rowland
Kim Petras
Kristin Chenoweth
Mickey Guyton
Nelly
Rob Thomas
Tai Verdes
Tauren Wells
Zoe Wees

In addition, with Broadway reopening in New York, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will feature casts from a number of Broadway musicals performing, including Six the Musical, Moulin Rouge! and Wicked. There will also be a performance from the cast of Annie Live!, which airs on NBC Dec. 2.

There will also be special performances from Ballet Hispánico, Big Apple Circus, Jumpers United for Macy’s Parade (JUMP), Spirit of America Dance Stars, Spirit of America Cheer and, as per tradition, the Rockettes.

Balloons
There will be 30 balloons featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade depicting many popular characters from TV and movies. See the full list on Macy’s parade webpage, but here are some of the highlights.

Ada from Netlfix’s Ada Twist, Scientist (New)
Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) from The Mandalorian (New)
Pickachu & Eevee from Pokemon (New)
Ronald McDonald (New)
Tiptoe from Macy’s holiday campaign (New)
Toni, the Bandleader Bear (New)

Some other highlights include Astronaut Snoopy, Paw Patrol, SpongeBob SquarePants, Sonic the Hedgehog and more. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the new balloons from Today

Floats
While the balloons take up the air, the floats on the ground are intricate and beautiful to look at. There will be 31 floats in total as part of the parade, closing out, as always, with Santa’s Sleigh. See the full lineup of floats on Macy’s parade webpage, but here’s some of the new floats for this year.

Birds of a Feather Stream Together by Peacock streaming service (New)
Celebration Gator by Louisiana Office of Tourism (New)
Colossal Wave of Wonder by Kalahari Resorts & Conventions (New)
Magic Meets the Sea by Disney Cruise Line (New) 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.