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How to watch and stream Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2021

The party is back in person.

The 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is a return to normal after last year’s show which continued with sweeping changes related to social distancing.

While the 2020 parade was designed exclusively for those watching from home, the 2021 parade is once again a public affair on the streets – with TV viewing options also available, of course.

Some changes related to the coronavirus, however, remain in place. In particular, children under 12 will only be allowed to be spectators rather than participants.

“We had to make some decisions well in advance of our parade day to ensure the health and safety of all participants,” event executive producer Will Coss told The New York Times. Referring to the 200 or so children related to Macy’s employees who have participated in the past years, he added, “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to have this specific contingent of young children.”

For ages 12 and up, however, this year’s celebration of helium balloons, turkey, and healthy family fun should feel like a breath of post-pandemic fresh air. Here is a guide on who will be participating and how to take advantage of it.

Macy’s previewed the new giant balloons for the 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® on November 13, 2021 in New York City.
Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.

When is Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade this year?

This year’s parade will air on NBC on Thursday, November 25, from 9 a.m. to noon EST.

How can I watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade and is it available to stream?

In addition to the NBC broadcast, for the first time, viewers can also watch live entertainment on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, starting at 9 a.m. in all time zones.

How to watch and stream Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2021
Ronald McDonald will float again this year.
Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.

Where can I watch it in person?

Macy’s has created a useful map for determining the best vantage points for those looking to see the celebration from the streets. There are very few places to see the public where the parade kicks off at West 77th Street and Central Park West, but early risers (from 6 a.m.) can find great views along the stretch of Central West 75th Park to West 61st Streets. There is no public viewing at Columbus Circle, where the parade turns to Central Park South, nor at its final turn into Macy’s Herald Square, but views can be found from West 59th to West 38th.

Macy’s warns fans to “avoid watching” on Sixth Avenue between West 34th and West 38th Streets, as well as on West 34th between Sixth and Seventh Avenues due to national television broadcasts restricting viewing at those locations.

How to watch and stream Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2021
A behind-the-scenes look at some of the ‘Birds of a Feather Stream Together’ fleet, which will be presented by Peacock at this year’s parade.
Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.

How is the 2021 show different?

The lack of children under 12 on the floats is a big change for the parade. While only around 200 young children typically participate, their absence is likely to change the tone of the young tanks considerably. In addition, everyone participating in the parade will be vaccinated, although there is no such requirement for spectators, according to the Times.

Parade staff insist the experience will be just as young at heart, however.

“That same youthful spirit is still a part of this year’s show,” runway creative producer Wesley Whatley told The Times.

How to watch and stream Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2021
The cast of “Wicked” rehearse in Herald Square in preparation for the 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
Getty Images for Macy’s Inc.

Who are the notable participants?

This year’s star-studded parade will feature Carrie Underwood, Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Batiste, Nelly and Mickey Guyton – all of whom will remain in masks unless they sing. The Rockettes will also perform, as will a group of competitive riders, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and the Ballet Hispánico School of Dance.

As for the notables among the 28 balloons, brace yourself for newcomers including Baby Yoda from “The Mandalorian” starring Ada Twist, the scientist from the Netflix children’s animated series and familiar faces like Papa Smurf and Snoopy. Also prepare for a Disney cruise ship and a New Orleans-inspired alligator, NBC reported.

How to watch and stream Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2021
The “Colossal Wave of Wonder” float presented by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions.
Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.

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