2-Day Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Marching Band Parade Pixabay Public Domain

Marching Band Parade Pixabay Public Domain

Day 1 You'll See: 

Day 2 You'll See:

If your marching band has made it through the audition process and into the lineup for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, congratulations! Your next step is to plan your time in the city, which is what we are here for! We have put together a sample 2-day NYC itinerary that gives you time to sight-see, eat delicious food, enjoy the holiday spirit, and perform in one of the most widely viewed parade performances in the country! 


Top of the Rock - Start your fun-filled holiday performance trip off with a bird’s eye view of the NYC skyline at the Rockefeller Center, one of NYC’s most famous landmarks. Rockefeller Center is home to so many businesses it has its own zip code! Take an elevator up to the popular LED-lit Top of the Rock, where you’ll enjoy exhilarating 360-degree views of Central Park and the awe-inspiring panorama of the dazzling city skyline from three observation decks. There will also be an option to stroll over to comfortable viewing options on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors. All three vantage points will offer incredible panoramic views above the heart of Manhattan. On a clear day, you can see all the way into Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey!

Lunch at Joe’s Pizza - Joe’s Pizza is a New York City classic, a Greenwich Village institution that has been serving up classic New York slices for over 37 years. It's also a great place for your group to grab an authentic NYC lunch! This eatery is a classic NY slice joint, the real deal, run by real deal owner Pozzuoli who still operates the restaurant daily himself at 75 years of age. Joe’s Pizza has been a perennial top 10 listings for a decade and has been called the Best of New York and a Quintessential NY Slice by New York Mag. GQ Magazine named this one of the Best 25 Pizza’s on Earth in 2009, giving you all the more reason to stop by and see what it’s all about. The menu is simple and straightforward, order a Cheese, Fresh Mozzarella, or Sicilian Square pie or slice and pair it with classic drinks and salads available daily!

Radio City Christmas Spectacular - Since you are here to kick off the holidays and perform in one of the most Santa-filled parades in America, it only seems right that you see one of New York’s other biggest Christmas spectaculars, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular! Head over to Radio City Music Hall, the world's largest indoor theater, built in 1932, that annually hosts this spectacular celebration considered to be one of the most "dynamic, challenging, and magical" performances of the season! Enjoy the very talented Rockettes, a thrilling 3D ride through the NY skyline with Santa in his immersive wonderland, ice skaters, dancing teddy bears, over a dozen Santas, a living nativity scene, and classic Christmas songs such as the "Nutcracker" and "Here Comes Santa Claus". This is one amazing and action-packed performance you won’t soon forget!

Central Park - Enjoy your NYC evening with a pleasant stroll through one of America’s greatest works of art, the nation’s first public park, and the most visited and beloved urban park in the United States, Central Park. Take in the peaceful yet sprawling 843-acre backyard of New York City, one of the most filmed locations in the world for a very good reason. Among its many highlights are two ice skating rinks, a 90-acre area of natural woods, dozens of intricate bridges and arches, twenty-one playgrounds, one of the largest merry-go-rounds in the U.S., a zoo, a 106-acre reservoir encircled by a running track and a delightful heirloom rose garden. You and your group can spend the evening ice skating in the iconic Central Park Rink, the perfect end to the evening.


Parade Rehearsal - Wake up early and get your uniforms and instruments together as you head out to the bustling streets lined with parade onlookers and performers, as you and your group will have some time to rehearse the route and your piece this morning. The rehearsal itself will be quite an exciting event, as you and your group get to scope out the other marching band talents, all the balloons and floats, and see just exactly how big those crowds on the sidelines can get. You’re going to want to be well-rested for this mornings rehearsal, bundle up if it’s cold, and definitely don’t forget your camera to snap a few quick photos before the performance!

Breakfast at Sarabeth's- One of the most important parts of a big performance is a big breakfast, so after your rehearsal time head over to the nearby Sarabeth’s and scarf up as much delicious brunch as you can! You may want to reserve some seats if your band is particularly large and your time is particularly limited after rehearsal, the parade starts at 9! You can see Sarabeth’s popular breakfast and pastry recipes online and in magazines, her products on grocery store shelves, ensuring you that this food is seriously good. Try the lemon and ricotta pancakes, short rib hash, or Maine lobster brunch roll before you go! You may also want a cup of coffee or cocoa to go for your walk (or ride) back over to the parade route.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Performance - This is your marching band’s big moment, the moment that you will perform and strut your stuff in front of 3.5 million live viewers and 50 million more tunings in at home! March alongside over 10,000 other performers as you head down New York’s iconic route, the parade featuring bands of every shape and size from across the country. This is your chance to represent your school and your state, and really what can be more iconic than marching in this famous parade? You will see the Macy’s Great American Marching Band itself as well, as you take part in this music and giant balloon filled performance of a lifetime! This is a great way to kick off the holidays, just don’t forget to wave to mom and dad while you’re out there!

Thanksgiving Dinner at Katz Delicatessen (reservations required) - Katz Delicatessen, New York’s undisputed king of deli meats, is no joke. First opened in 1888, Katz is known as New York’s most iconic deli shop. Katz is home to the world’s greatest pastrami sandwich and is the iconic restaurant used in the much-remembered scene in When Harry Met Sally. On Thanksgiving night you and your group can take part in their fairly new and fairly popular all you can eat Thanksgiving dinner buffet, a two-hour event that features traditional favorites, Jewish specialty dishes, and everything in between. There are two seating times, one at 4 pm and at 7 pm. Enjoy all the delicious turkey and brisket you can eat, as well as classics such as mashed potatoes, latkes, and pumpkin pie! This amazing NYC authentic Thanksgiving dinner will make you forget your grandma’s turkey back home!